Russian Exercises in Breakaway Transnistria Leave Moldova Unfazed

Moldovan Defence Minister Victor Gaiciuc told BIRN that his country was not worried about Russian military exercises in the breakaway region of Transnistria in the context of the recent Russian reinforcements near the Ukraine border.

"For us there is no cause for concern, although, philosophically speaking, troop movements pose questions about where and why they are moving. But there is no great cause for concern. Such exercises happen regularly," Gaiciuc told BIRN.

Military manoeuvres by the Operational Group of Russian Troops, OGRT, in the breakaway region of Transnistria - while Russian troops are also mobilising on the eastern border of Ukraine - have caused jitters internationally.

On Wednesday, the OGRT soldiers carried out the final stage of their combat preparations. "The servicemen have worked out their skills for an offensive battle. They performed stealth manoeuvring exercises and hit targets," the Russian Defence Ministry said.

The combat exercises scenario included the destruction of armoured vehicles and low-flying vehicles of an imaginary enemy. According to the scenario, during the offensive battle, the enemy disabled one unit of armoured vehicles. Repair unit specialists then moved to the damaged combat vehicle and evacuated it.

According to the Russian Western Military District troops' training plan, the exercises took place in the military shooting range in Transnistria, an unrecognised mainly Russian speaking breakaway statelet supported by Moscow.

A Moldovan military and security expert, Rosian Vasiloi, told BIRN that seven OGTR military exercises took place in Transnistria since the beginning of this month alone. "These exercises include the interoperability of troops at platoon level, the platoon's...

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