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  • Writer's pictureThe Paladins

The attack on Pridnestrovia, 26 April 2022

This is the first of a series of short articles examining incidents in the Ukraine war in which there is some uncertainty as to who acted, what happened, or why.

This article is about a military attack on Pridnestrovia, the formal name for a piece of territory often known as Transdniestr in southeastern Europe. Several articles on describe Pridnestrovia, which is very unusual but rather wealthy.

Pridnestrovia is a region of Eastern Moldova occupied by a Russian garrison, that split from the rest of Moldova following a short civil war in 1992. The territory is between (the rest of) Moldova alto the west And southwestern Ukraine to the east Pridnestrovia proclaims itself to be a independent state, and has all the trappings of statehood from its own currency to its own flag, Parliament and President. However it is not internationally recognised. The capital is Tiraspol (population 150,000); Pridnestrovia's entire population is somewhat short of 500,000. It is a very quiet, calm place:; Tiraspol is full of banks, electronics shops and restaurants. The people are Russian-speaking ethnic Ukrainians for the most part.

Pridnestrovian territory suffered an attack on 26 April 2022. Nobody denies this.

Business Insider, in an article dated 27 April 2022, provided what is perhaps the most comprehensive text of the facts as we know them.

CHIŞINĂU, Moldova — Authorities in the breakaway republic Transnistria on Wednesday claimed that shots were fired from Ukraine in the vicinity of an ammunition depot guarded by Russian troops.
The claim, which could not be independently verified, comes after a series of reported explosions in the territory within Moldova, which borders Ukraine and is home to an estimated 1,500 Russian soldiers.
Ukraine has not claimed credit for any of the incidents, which included a purported attack with a grenade launcher on a building used by security services in Tiraspol, the self-proclaimed regional capital.
In a statement posted to its official Telegram, the government of Transnistria said that drones launched from Ukraine were seen Tuesday night in the sky above Klobasna, in the region's north, where the ammunition depot is located. The next morning, "shots were fired from the Ukrainian side in the direction of" the town, it said.

It is important to note the following points:

  1. There are no foreign or even Moldovan journalists in Pridnestrovia. They are de facto banned.

  2. The only information we have about the attack comes from a press release from the authorities of Pridnestrovia given to journalists in Chisinau, the capital of Moldova with which the Pridnestrovians have a territorial and political dispute.

  3. We have no photographs of post-attack damage.

  4. It is inconceivable that the Pridnestrovian authorities would make a media statement without the President of Pridnestrovia approving it.

  5. It is impossible, on the basis of the material reported, to establish conclusively who undertook the attack.

  6. The hypothesis that it was a 'false flag' operation executed by the Russians against their own military equipment, advanced by some US sources, is one for which there is no current evidence.

  7. Although false flag operations do take place in theatre, one does need some evidence before positing the counter-intuitive (blowing up one's own equipment) as a cause. Here there is none.

  8. One possible motive for a false flag operation might be to use the event as a pretext for a Russian invasion of Moldova. However the Russians have not followed up. This seems so far to have been a one-off event.

  9. Given the lack of first-hand evidence, one can only conclude that on the balance of probabilities this was what it looked like, namely a Ukrainian use of military drones to attack a Russian ammunition dump on territory adjacent to Ukraine.

  10. The distance from the dump to the Ukrainian border is about 35km, which would be consistent with the use of smaller military drones owned by Ukraine that are in operation in southwest Ukraine in combat with Russian forces in that regi

  11. At the current time there is no evidence to suggest that this event is the precursor to a larger Russian military action in Moldova or Pridnestrovia. No side has followed up with additional military measures. The alarmist newspaper articles suggesting that the war in Ukraine is about to expand into Moldova have no grounding.

  12. Many of the Russian soldiers garrisoned in Pridnestrovia are currently active in Ukrainian theatre near Odessa; and they rely upon Pridnestrovia for ammunitions and other logistics. This would give Ukrainian forces an incentive to attack the ammunition dump: to disrupt Russian logistics.


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