UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to visit Moldova

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres arrives in Moldova today as international concerns over the country’s breakaway Transnistria region mount. Russian military

Photo: Kena Betancur/AFP/Getty Images

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres arrives in Moldova today as international concerns over the country’s breakaway Transnistria region mount.

Russian military officials and state-run media have urged Moscow to open a new front against Ukraine in Transnistria—a majority Russian-speaking separatist territory that broke away from Moldova in 1990. Transnistria borders Ukraine and would be accessible to Russian ground forces should they continue their southwestern advance toward Odesa. 

While opening a front from Transnistria would aid Russian military efforts to pincer eastern Ukraine, do not expect Moscow to devote military resources to doing so until Russia’s military fully controls the Ukrainian coast of the Black Sea—particularly, before Odesa falls. Without a land corridor connecting Transnistria to the occupied areas of southeastern Ukraine, maintaining supply lines would be highly challenging for Russian forces. Lacking such a corridor, Russia’s only option would be to fly supplies from Crimea to Transnistria’s sole airfield, which has not operated in over thirty years. Moreover, the air route passes over formidable Ukrainian air defense systems outside of Odesa. 

Therefore, expect Russian forces to continue consolidating gains in eastern Ukraine and moving against Odesa before Transnistria is targeted. 

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