Breakaway Moldova region says shots were fired from Ukraine at village

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CHISINAU, April 27 (Reuters) – Moldova’s pro-Russian breakaway region of Transnistria said on Wednesday that shots were fired from Ukraine at a village housing an ammunition depot, the latest report raising fears of a extension of the Russian war.

The Interior Ministry of the unrecognized region that borders southwestern Ukraine said in a statement that several drones were detected flying over the village of Cobasna overnight and that they came from Ukraine.

He said shots were then fired towards the border village from Ukrainian territory on Wednesday morning. He gave no further details, but said no one was injured.

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Russia has a troop contingent in Transnistria that has kept many tonnes of ammunition stockpiled in the region since before the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991. Moscow also has peacekeepers there after a conflict between separatist and Moldovan forces.

Transnistria’s Interior Ministry quoted “experts” as saying that Cobasna holds the largest ammunition depot in Europe.

Ukraine has accused Russia of trying to stage false flag attacks in the region, including explosions that damaged two radio masts on Tuesday. The region itself attributes the attacks to Ukraine. Read more

Vadim Krasnoselsky, the so-called president of Transnistria, said on Wednesday evening that reports that he had announced a general mobilization and prevented old men from leaving were “absurd lies” invented by provocateurs.

“I officially declare that the rulers of the republic have made no such decisions,” he said in an online message.

Moldovan authorities said queues of cars and trucks had formed on the road from Transnistria to the rest of Moldova due to tighter controls at checkpoints that Transnistria introduced on Tuesday.

The Kremlin said it was seriously concerned about the developments. The Russian Foreign Ministry was quoted by the RIA news agency as saying it wanted to avoid a scenario in which Moscow would have to intervene there.

The statements put Moldova on edge.

“We must make financial and logistical efforts to build a professional, modern and well-equipped army,” Moldovan President Maia Sandu said.

“We are going through a very difficult period for our country, but the investments in the army are very necessary, they are necessary for the infrastructures, for the security and the defense of the state,” she said.

On Wednesday, Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar accused Russia of being ready to use Transnistria as a bridgehead to advance towards Ukraine or the rest of Moldova.

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Additional reporting by Pavel Polityuk and David Ljunggren; Written by Tom Balmforth, editing by Angus MacSwan, William Maclean and Jonathan Oatis

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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