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Russia to use Transnistria to block grain corridor

Russia to use Transnistria to block grain corridor Russia may use Transnistria to destabilize the situation in the region (photo: Getty Images)

The Kremlin may renew efforts to use the unrecognized Transnistrian Moldovan Republic (PMR) to create instability in Moldova and undermine Ukrainian grain exports along the western coast of the Black Sea, according to a report by the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).

It is noted that by the end of 2023, a record 36 million metric tons of grain were shipped from the Romanian Black Sea port of Constanta. Ukrainian grain accounted for approximately 40% of these shipments.

Previously, ISW experts estimated that Ukrainian strikes on Black Sea Fleet (BSF) ships compelled Russian naval forces to alter their operational models and relocate some vessels from their main base in the occupied Sevastopol on the western coast of Crimea.

Additionally, the destruction and damage to BSF vessels allowed Kyiv and its partners to maximize the use of the Black Sea grain corridor. International support for this project continues to grow, despite Russia's withdrawal from the Black Sea Grain Initiative and threats to forcefully block its activities.

"The Kremlin may also be reviving its efforts to leverage Transnistria to create instability in Moldova in order to undermine Ukrainian grain exports along the western coast of the Black Sea," the ISW report states.

Unrecognized Transnistria

Transnistria, or the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic (PMR), is an unrecognized self-proclaimed state located within the territory of Moldova. The PMR controls almost the entire Moldovan part of the left bank of the Dniester River, as well as several localities on the right bank.

Transnistria declared its independence in 1991, and in 2006, Transnistrian separatists expressed a desire to join the Russian Federation. Currently, the so-called Russian peacekeepers are present in the territory of Transnistria. However, Russia has not officially recognized Transnistria's independence as a sovereign entity.

Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic (PMR) and the large-scale war in Ukraine

After the full-scale invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation, there was a threat of Russian military aggression from the territory of Transnistria.

Additionally, last year, the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic (PMR) claimed to have thwarted a supposed act of terrorism orchestrated by the Security Service of Ukraine (SSU). As explained by the Center for Strategic Communications, Russia utilizes Transnistria to destabilize the situation in Ukraine and Moldova.

Similar statements in Ukraine are considered attempts by the puppet authorities of the PMR to assert their statehood and seek more assistance from Moscow.

Incident on the Transnistria-Ukraine border

On Wednesday, January 10, the unrecognized Ministry of State Security of Transnistria reported a shooting incident on the border of the unrecognized republic with Ukraine on January 7. After the shooting, allegedly two Transnistrian residents found themselves on the territory of Ukraine.

However, the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine did not register any such incidents.

In mid-December, Moldova commenced military exercises at the Bulboaca Training Center near Transnistria.