On Thursday, Russian foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova became the highest-level Kremlin official to acknowledge a series of explosions this week in Transnistria, a pro-Russian separatist region within Moldova’s internationally recognized borders—and her comments hint at Russia using the attacks as justification to target the region as part of its ongoing war with Ukraine.

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Zakharova said during a press briefing blasts occurring Monday and Tuesday in Transnistria are “acts of terrorism aimed at destabilizing the region,” according to to the state-run TASS Russian news agency.

The explosions are evidence of an “escalation of tension” and are “attempts to involve Transnistria in the events in Ukraine,” Zakharova said according to a tweet from the Russian foreign ministry.

The attacks targeting Transnistria’s state security buildings and a broadcasting center are of unknown origins, but Ukraine’s defense ministry has said Russia is behind the explosions in Transnistria as part of a false-flag operation to justify an offensive in the region, a common accusation against Russia of using staged violence to rationalize a military operation.

Zakharova dismissed talks about Russia launching an offensive in the region as “sensational,” according to to TASS – despite most of the speculation coming after Russian Major Gen. Rustam Minnekayev said Friday that the Russian army seeks to establish “full control” over southern and eastern Ukraine as a “way to Transnistria and the timing of the blasts.”


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