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Israel issues travel warning for Russian-backed breakaway region in Moldova

Following several blasts in Transnistria, which borders Ukraine, Foreign Ministry calls on Israelis in separatist area to leave immediately

A Transnistrian serviceman watches cars entering the self-proclaimed "Moldovan Republic of Transnistria" at the Varnita crossing with Moldova on April 28, 2022.  (Daniel Mihailescu/AFP)
A Transnistrian serviceman watches cars entering the self-proclaimed "Moldovan Republic of Transnistria" at the Varnita crossing with Moldova on April 28, 2022. (Daniel Mihailescu/AFP)

The Foreign Ministry on Thursday issued a travel warning for Transnistria, a Russian-backed separatist region of Moldova bordering Ukraine, following a series of blasts there.

The ministry urged any Israelis in Transnistria to leave as soon as possible and called those planing to travel there to reconsider.

“Moldova has Israel’s full solidarity in this challenging situation,” Israeli Ambassador Joel Lion tweeted hours earlier.

The travel warning came after Transnistria reported explosions on Monday and Tuesday hitting the security ministry, a military unit and a Russian-owned radio tower.

This prompted Moldova to urge its citizens to keep calm and step up security measures.

Moldova’s Foreign Minister Nicu Popescu said Transnistria had announced men of fighting age would be prevented “from leaving the region so this is a sign we are not yet out of the potential danger zone”.

“Our primary duty is to maintain peace in Moldova. Moldova should not be drawn into any type of military scenario in this region,” he said in a media briefing with foreign journalists.

A woman walks past the Operational Group of Russian Forces headquarters in Tiraspol, the capital of the breakaway region of Transnistria, a disputed territory unrecognized by the international community, in Moldova, November 1, 2021. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky, File)

Transnistria’s leader Vadim Krasnoselsky denied the accusation on Telegram on Wednesday evening, calling it “absurd lies” and “fantasies… that have nothing to do with reality.”

Also Wednesday, Transnistria’s interior ministry said shots were fired at a village housing a Russian arms depot after drones flew over from Ukraine, amid Russia’s invasion of that country.

The self-proclaimed republic of Transnistria seceded from Moldova in 1992 after a brief war with Chisinau. Around 1,500 Russian soldiers have been based there ever since.

Fears of destabilization in the region grew after a Russian general said the Kremlin’s offensive aimed to create a land corridor through southern Ukraine to Transnistria.

Kyiv has accused Russia of wanting to destabilize the region to create a pretext for military intervention.

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