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Trans-Dniester is a narrow region on Ukraine's western border between Moldova and
Ukraine.  It broke away from Moldova circa 1991-1992 and has had Russia peacekeeping troops stationed there since.   The secession has not been recognized by the UN and  Trans-Dniester is shown as part of Moldova on maps.

The BBC reports:

"Pro-Russian politicians and activists in Moldova's breakaway Trans-Dniester region have asked the Russian parliament to draft a law that would allow their territory to join Russia.

The Trans-Dniestrian appeal comes as Moscow moves towards absorbing Crimea into the Russian Federation. Ukraine, the EU and US say that move is illegal.

Russian loyalists dominate Trans-Dniester, with support from Moscow.

The region split from Moldova in a war in 1991-92, as the USSR was collapsing.

Moldova's President Nicolae Timofti said in a news briefing on Tuesday that any decision by Moscow to accept Trans-Dniester "would be a step in the wrong direction".



Wikipedia has an article on the region.

One item of interest is that Trans-Dniester is about 100 miles across the Black Sea from Crimea but is blocked from access to the sea by a narrow strip of Ukrainian land -- about 12 miles.   Plus access to the Black Sea from that point is via a large bay about 15 miles long --also part of Ukraine.  Given Russia's massive naval advantage, it would be tempting to secure part of Ukraine's western flank with a short amphibious stroll.  Plus it might make Moldova think twice about that EU membership.

The other question is how Russia can sustain its current forces in landlocked Trans-Dniester if it does not allow Trans-Dniester to join the Russian Federation, given a now hostile Ukraine.

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Comment Preferences

  •  If Putin moves forward (5+ / 0-)

    and takes the eastern and southern Ukraine oblasts which have sizable ethnic Russian populations, then the integration of Transnistria where he has 1000 troops and Gagauzia would be a no brainer for him.

    In the end, this would probably facilitate the integration of whats left of Moldova into Romania.

    KOS: "Mocking partisans focusing on elections? Even less reason to be on Daily Kos."

    by fcvaguy on Sun Mar 23, 2014 at 12:57:52 PM PDT

  •  They've been doing that roughly every 10 minutes (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Richard Lyon, Pluto, dougymi

    since mid-90s. Russian ignored them. Of course, now it may decide to act on it.

  •  Afghanistan has asked to join Russia, as well. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Will wonders never cease.

  •  Only 30% of Transnistria are ethnic Russian (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dougymi, Pluto, Claudius Bombarnac

    I don't think Putin will make any big moves here.

    None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

    by gjohnsit on Sun Mar 23, 2014 at 01:49:10 PM PDT

    •  NATO is saying otherwise ... (0+ / 0-)

      right here:

      US Air Force General Philip Breedlove said that Russian troops massing on the eastern bord Transdniester, a Russian-speaking enclave that has declared independence from the rest of Moldova.


      "There is absolutely sufficient (Russian) force postured on the eastern border of Ukraine to run to Transdniester if the decision was made to do that and that is very worrisome," said Gen Breedlove, who is Nato's Supreme Allied Commander in Europe.

      •  Fear mongering. Russian troops NOT "massing" (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gjohnsit, Wreck Smurfy

        Breedlove never said that.

        UPDATE 1-Russia says it is complying with troop limits near Ukraine border
        "The Russian Defence Ministry is in compliance with all international agreements limiting the number of troops in the border areas with Ukraine," Russian Deputy Defence Minister Anatoly Antonov was quoted by Russian news agencies as saying.

        NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Europe, U.S. Air Force General Philip Breedlove, earlier on Sunday called the Russian force near its Ukrainian border "very, very sizeable and very, very ready". He said he was worried it could pose a threat to Moldova's mainly Russian-speaking separatist Transdniestria region.
        Antonov said eight groups of international inspectors had conducted missions in Russia in the last month to check on Russian troop movements.

        "We cooperated to our utmost with our partners, allowing them to inspect all sites in which they were interested. We have nothing to hide there," Antonov was quoted by the state RIA and Itar-Tass news agencies as saying.

        Russia has been allowing American and other NATO allies complete freedom to fly over Russian territory for military inspections under the "Open Skies" treaty.
        US, Germany inspectors to fly over Russia amid Ukraine tensions

        American and German inspectors will make observation flights over Russia and Belarus within the framework of the international treaty on Open Skies. The mission is set to verify the true position of Russian troops and military equipment.

        Starting from March 17, military inspectors from the United States and Germany will perform flights over European Russia and Belarus to check the real whereabouts of Russian troops following accusations from Ukraine that Russia is consolidating military forces close to its borders. The inspection will continue through March 21.

        •  Breedlove did indeed say that Russian troops (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          are massing. But, you're correct; he did not say that this meant he or NATO felt that Putin was planning on invading. I was too casual with "saying otherwise" to gjohnsit's post where I meant to say that NATO is clearly worried about whatever it is that Putin is doing.

          •  I can find no report where Breedlove uses the word (0+ / 0-)

            "massing" (a loaded term).

            Reminds me of the Gulf War where Saddam's troops were said by the media to be "massing" along the Saudi border - a complete fabrication. A Russian satellite picture showed the report was false.

            This is the closest I can come to "massed":

            Breedlove: "There is absolutely sufficient (Russian) force postured on the eastern border of Ukraine to run to Trans-Dniester if the decision was made to do that and that is very worrisome,"

            Look at a map. The troops would have to transverse almost the entire width of Ukraine to do that.

            •  Yes, but the NATO generals says there are enough (0+ / 0-)

              Russian forces assembled  on the eastern border of Ukraine to force their way all across southern Ukraine to Ukraine's western border and link up with Trans-Dniester.

              That would be a much more dramatic move than a slice-the -salami incremental move from the Black Sea across a narrow strip of land to Trans-Dniester.   Ukraine doesn't have any naval forces that can challenge Russia's  Black Sea fleet.

              •  Russia has no intention of driving across the (0+ / 0-)

                Ukraine to "free" Trans-Dniester. That has absolutely zero military or political value in the least.

                The Russian forces are "assembled" at their normal bases in Russia as confirmed by American and German military observers. They are not bivouacked in tents along the border ready to strike terror into the Ukraine.

                This is blatant fear mongering by some of the MSM in the west.

                The west poked the Russian bear in the eye with a pointed stick right in his own backyard and he swiped back, taking Crimea. Did they really expect something different?

                Russia 1, Regime Changers 0
                By Pepe Escobar

                Let's cut to the chase - short and sweet.

                1. The Obama administration's "strategic" gambit to subcontract the State Department's "Khaganate of Nulands" to extricate Ukraine from the Russian sphere of influence - and ultimately annex it to NATO - by instrumentalizing a coalition of willing neo-nazis and fascists with a central bank veneer (prime minister "Yats"), is in utter shambles.

                2. Moscow's counterpunch was to prevent in Crimea - as intercepted by Russian intelligence - a planned replay of the putsch in Kiev. The referendum in Crimea - 85% of turnout, roughly 93% voting for re-joining Russia, according to exit polls - is a done deal, as much as the oh-so-democratic European Union (EU) keeps threatening to punish people in Crimea for exercising their basic democratic rights. (By the way, when the US got Kosovo to secede from Serbia, Serbians were offered no referendum).

                3. The main rationale for the whole US "strategic" advance - to have their proxies, the regime changers in Kiev, cancel the agreement for the Russian naval base in Sevastopol - is up in smoke. Moscow remains present in the Black Sea and with full access to the Eastern Mediterranean.

                And the rest is blah blah blah.

                •  Really, assembled at their normal base? (0+ / 0-)

                  Those would exclude the thousands of "we are not Russian soldiers" currently hiding behind Cossacks with bullwhips and the neighborhood security forces?

                  Yeah, no worries there...

                  “Ten people who speak make more noise than ten thousand who are silent.”

                  by frenchy339 on Wed Mar 26, 2014 at 02:09:18 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Your theory about canceling basing... (0+ / 0-)

                  for the Russian fleet is absurd.  The Ukranians just signed a 25 year lease for it.  Those aging rust buckets aren't a threat to any western interest.  Furthermore, the U.S. would gain nothing by upsetting the balance of energy flows from Russia, through Ukraine, to the rest of Europe.

                  Ask Angela Merlel about that.. She recently said that Putin had lied to her and reneged on promises not to invade (must be why the "Im not a Russian soldiers" removed their insignia)?

                  “Ten people who speak make more noise than ten thousand who are silent.”

                  by frenchy339 on Wed Mar 26, 2014 at 02:15:28 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  BTW... (0+ / 0-)

                  No one "knows" Putins intentions.

                  “Ten people who speak make more noise than ten thousand who are silent.”

                  by frenchy339 on Wed Mar 26, 2014 at 02:16:32 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  only you are putting it in quotes (0+ / 0-)

              The Telegraph writer had every right to use that word considering that Breedlove actually said that the forces that Russia has moved near the Ukranian border are "very, very sizeable and very, very ready". What your argument amounts to is nitpicking.

              Breedlove: "There is absolutely sufficient (Russian) force postured on the eastern border of Ukraine to run to Trans-Dniester if the decision was made to do that and that is very worrisome,"

              Look at a map. The troops would have to transverse almost the entire width of Ukraine to do that.

              I'm going to cut Breedlove some slack because he's Air Force. The forces massing outside Ukraine's eastern border would not likely be used anywhere near Moldova. Instead, they would rush to take Kharkiv, Luhansk, and Donetsk in southeastern Ukraine, where they already have a ton of support. The FSB will have people all over the region right now.

              I don’t know if Putin is brazen enough to grab everything east of the river but he’s got to be thinking it makes a lot of sense. But directly threatening Kyiv in the north might be too much. In any case, the 1st Armoured Brigade would be kept busy up there.

              To the south, i’d expect them to move all the way to the east bank of the Dnieper at or around Dnipropetrovsk, which is a large and important industrial city. This area will be defended by the 17th Guards. I think the Russians might attempt to wheel around there and at least gain the bank at Zaporizhia. Then, keep moving west and consolidate everything south of the river where it bends toward its outlet into the Black Sea. Marines would be moved across the Sea of Azov to cover the left flank.

              Russians positioned on the causeway leading north would probably simply continuially threaten to break out, holding down Ukrainian forces while Russian tanks drove west.

              Finally, Crimea is completely under Russia’s control now so many forces there would be available to make a move on Ukraine’s southwestern coast below Odessa.

              But they might not even go that far. In fact, keeping everyone guessing about an invasion of Transnistra would be another brilliant decoy, bottling up Ukrainian forces in the southwest. Russia doesn’t take Transnistra very seriously. I’d think Putin would be happy with leaving his yapping dog in place for later agitations.

              And it might easily become a bridge too far, in any case. Better to be satisfied with complete control of access to the Crimean Peninsula and the Sea of Azov. Crimea is wholly dependent on those northern land links for its gas and electricity. Making a grab for everything south of the Dnieper must be a tantalizing prospect right now for Putin as it would tie thing up rather nicely.

              Indeed, i’d be surprised if it hadn’t already been Phase III of the plan.

              All things in the sky are pure to those who have no telescopes. – Charles Fort

              by subtropolis on Sun Mar 23, 2014 at 10:27:08 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Fear mongering? Seriously? (0+ / 0-)

          In case you missed it, thousands of "we are not Russian soldiers" have streamed into Crimea each wearing identical Russian uniforms (sans insignia…like that was convincing) right up to the OD green face coverings, sporting identical body armor, carrying Russian military weapons, driving Russian military transport trucks and APCs with Russian license plates.

          Putins explanation? "The are neighborhood self defense forces."  Yeah, all the "neighborhoods" must have bought from the same Russian military surplus store, right?

          You are right about one thing, there is considerable fear…

          this was Breedlove's actual statement, "The (Russian) force that is at the Ukrainian border now to the east is very, very sizable and very, very ready," Breedlove, a U.S. Air Force general, said."

          No, not "massing".  Just very, very sizable and very, very ready.  Thanks for your salient correction to otherwise obvious facts.

          “Ten people who speak make more noise than ten thousand who are silent.”

          by frenchy339 on Wed Mar 26, 2014 at 01:58:58 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  MOre of Breedlove's statement... (0+ / 0-)

        "The (Russian) force that is at the Ukrainian border now to the east is very, very sizable and very, very ready,"

        Some would say they are "not massing"…I wonder why?

        “Ten people who speak make more noise than ten thousand who are silent.”

        by frenchy339 on Wed Mar 26, 2014 at 02:26:35 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I think this is the area my father and his family (0+ / 0-)

      left (in a hurry) during the Russion Civil War. It was Russian at that time.

      It’s the Supreme Court, stupid! Followed by: It's always the Supreme Court! Progressives will win only when we convince a majority that they, too, are Progressive.

      by auapplemac on Sun Mar 23, 2014 at 07:19:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Breedloves actual words... (0+ / 0-)

      "The (Russian) force that is at the Ukrainian border now to the east is very, very sizable and very, very ready,"

      To say they are not "massed" is splitting hairs…like any Putin troll would...

      “Ten people who speak make more noise than ten thousand who are silent.”

      by frenchy339 on Wed Mar 26, 2014 at 02:24:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I was there (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I served in Moldova in Peace Corps. It has been fought over for hundreds of years, and at different times was part of Romania, then part of the Soviet Union, once even part of the Ottoman Empire--the soil there is rich because of all the blood shed there, it is said.

    Zen is "infinite respect for all things past; infinite service to all things present; infinite responsibility for all things future."--Huston Smith's Zen Master

    by Ree Zen on Sun Mar 23, 2014 at 07:50:18 PM PDT

    •  Wiki lists some wars in Moldova even farther back (0+ / 0-)

      From their article on Moldova:

      "In antiquity, Moldova's territory was inhabited by Dacian tribes. Between the 1st and 7th centuries AD, the south was intermittently under the Roman, then Byzantine Empires. Due to its strategic location on a route between Asia and Europe, the territory of modern Moldova was invaded many times in late antiquity and early Middle Ages, including by Goths, Huns, Avars, Bulgarians, Magyars, Pechenegs, Cumans, Mongols and Tatars."


      Sounds like Palestine.

      •  Agreed... (0+ / 0-)

        Check out Ukraines history…Alternately larger, smaller and sometimes nonexistant.   Yet, always battling for independence from mother Russia.  At one time, it was actually larger...

        “Ten people who speak make more noise than ten thousand who are silent.”

        by frenchy339 on Wed Mar 26, 2014 at 02:20:29 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Do you believe it would be legitimate (0+ / 0-)

    for Moldova to request help from the EU and NATO?

    The Stars and Bars and the red swastika banner are both offerings to the same barbaric god.

    by amyzex on Fri Mar 28, 2014 at 12:44:04 PM PDT

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