March 1-2, 2022 -- Unrecognized state propped up by Moscow refuses to participate in invasion of Ukraine

publication date: Mar 1, 2022
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March 1-2, 2022 -- Unrecognized state propped up by Moscow refuses to participate in invasion of Ukraine

In what can only be described as a diplomatic volte-face, the leader of an unrecognized nation that is propped up by Russia and which hosts two battalions of the Operational Group of Russian Forces, has surprised Russia by remaining neutral in the Russo-Ukrainian war. The leader in question is Vadim Krasnoselsky, [left] the president of the self-declared Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic, also known as Transnistria, a narrow strip of territory along the Dniester River between the independent Republic of Moldova and Ukraine.

In January 2022, Ukrainian intelligence obtained details of a planned Russian false flag attack on the Russian battalions in Transnistria that Russian President Vladimir Putin was prepared to use as a casus belli to launch an invasion of Ukraine. What changed Moscow's plans was Krasnoselsky's statement that Transnistria would not participate in the Russian invasion of Ukraine and would remain neutral. In making his decision on neutrality, Krasnoselsky pointed to Transnistria's large Ukrainian population and the fact that the Ukrainian language is taught in Transnistrian schools. Although Russians comprise 29 percent of the population of the breakaway state and Russian flags often flutter next to the red and green hammer and sickle flag of Transnistria, Ukrainians make up 23 percent of the population of the country of 350,000.

Transnistria, a throwback to the Soviet Union and which continues to fly the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic's flag as its own, was initially believed to have plans to side with Moscow a
nd join in the invasion of Ukraine. Not only has that not happened, but Transnistrian officials, including the president, have helped to facilitate the influx of Ukrainian refugees from the fighting in their country. It has been reported that officials of the Transnistrian government in the capital of Tiraspol have coordinated the entry of Ukrainian refugees with Ukrainian border security personnel at border crossings along the Transnistrian-Ukrainian border.  There are also reports of diplomatic liaison on the refugee crisis between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tiraspol and the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry in Kyiv. Transnistria has seen to the needs of refugees from Ukraine at several temporary shelters and medical facilities, including the Solnechny clinic in Dnestrovsk, [right] which was visited by Krasnoselsky. [left]

Unlike Belarus's President Alexander Lukashenko, who has fully embraced Putin's war against Ukraine and has not only allowed Russian troops to invade from Belarusian territory but has committed Belarusian armed forces to assist in the invasion, Krasnoselsky has made no effort to signal to Moscow his support. The statement his office issued on February 24 contains no message of support for Moscow and only dealt with the security of Transnistria:

"
I inform you in the context of the events taking place in Ukraine that the leadership of the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic fully controls the situation in Pridnestrovie, ensuring the stability and security of the citizens of the PMR.

There are no grounds for introducing a state of emergency or other special legal regimes currently. All systems of the life of the state function in a standard format. The situation in the Security Zone is stable and under control. [The security zone is where the Russian battalions are stationed].

Decree of the PMR President was signed, in accordance with which state authorities and administrations set tasks for the operation of checkpoints across the state border with Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova as well as assisting arriving persons in order to provide assistance to foreign citizens temporarily arriving on the territory of the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic.

Operational Headquarters has been created in the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic. The hotline number will be announced later.

Citizens of the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic are temporarily until the situation stabilizes are advised to refrain from traveling abroad, remain calm and use exclusively verified information from official sources."

Krasnoselsky not only made arrangements to take in Ukrainian and non-Ukrainian refugees but also warned against believing any unverified news accounts, which is surprising since most of the disinformation concerning the war has originated with Russian troll and bot farms.

On February 26, in an address to his country, Krasnoselsky said:

"I appeal first of all to the residents of Ukraine in particular Vinnitsa and Odessa regions, bordering Pridnestrovie, as well as to Pridnestrovian Ukrainians and to everyone who has relatives and friends in a neighboring country.

Some Ukrainian media and various social networks for several days have been actively spreading rumors and false information about a certain threat from Pridnestrovie, about an alleged attack being prepared, and other inadequate conjectures.

I can say with confidence: everyone who spreads this false information either has absolutely no control over the situation, or are provocateurs who deliberately escalate the situation.

The Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic is a peaceful state. We have never had any plans of an aggressive nature with respect to our neighbors, and we never will.

Approximately 100 thousand citizens of Ukraine live in our republic, Ukrainian-language educational institutions function, the Ukrainian language is enshrined as one of the official languages ​​by the Constitution of the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic.

Taking into account the events taking place in Ukraine, I signed a corresponding decree and created an Operational Headquarters to provide the necessary assistance to all foreign citizens who were forced to arrive in Pridnestrovie. Our direction was and remains safe. We will do everything to help the people of Ukraine who find themselves in a difficult life situation.

Do not believe provocateurs and rogues, keep a sober look at the situation, provide support to those in need if possible.

I assure you that Pridnestrovie is near and is always ready to help peaceful people."

Krasnoselsky's failure to ally himself and his government with Moscow has surely  infuriated the hardliners in the Kremlin. Those who are considered "disloyal" to Putin have often met with tragic ends, including defenestration, poisoning, and drive-by shootings. So far, Krasnoselsky appears to be alive and doing well in Tiraspol as his nation's one-quarter Ukrainian population helps their brethren escape from their war-ravaged nation. The corporate media has definitely missed highlighting Transnistria and its government, which has bucked its Russian military presence to remain neutral.

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