Transnistria: The Next Crimea?
Tucked along Moldova’s eastern border with Ukraine, the little-known autonomous region of Transnistria might just be the next flashpoint in the ongoing Ukraine saga. Home to some 200,000 ethnic Russians – as well as a contingent of 2,000 Russian troops – Transnistria may well find longed-for recognition from a willing Russian partner.
For its part, Russia can use its staging ground in Transnistria to exert continued pressure on Ukraine through Odessa, a major Ukrainian seaport. Protests here have mirrored protests in Ukraine as a whole, with contingents of both pro- and anti-Russian demonstrators taking to the streets.
The below Recorded Future map view provides geographical context for this high-stakes game of geopolitics. An interactive view of the map is available here.
Click image for larger view
Interestingly, recent data highlighted by Recorded Future shows Russian military movements have taken place in Transnistria, possibly for designs to move on Odessa. A particularly prescient tweet suggests just such a possibility.
#Ukraine Expect Russian troops or "masked gunmen" from #Moldova on March 22 following scheduled "unrest" in #Odessa http://t.co/HflOaXvQX3— Johan Kylander (@jkylander) March 17, 2014
Amidst calls from residents for accession to Russia - and at least one member of the Russian Duma calling for its recognition - Transnistria is poised to be a focal point for future Russian aggression in Ukraine.
Could it be the next Crimea?