American soldiers from the well-known 101st Airborne Division have been deployed in Romania also with the aim of attacking the separatist Transnistrian region, in particular the power plant in this region, a controversial Russian political scientist claims. The false narrative was taken over by Politnavigator, a Kremlin-affiliated website.
NEWS: “By deploying their troops in Romania, the Americans are primarily thinking of an attack on Transnistria, whose supply lines have been cut, political scientist Marat Bashirov said in an interview with the “Vashi novosti” channel.
“The aim of this scenario is to occupy Transnistria. We have armed forces there, but thy are several thousand strong and they do not have access to the supply routes”.
[...] “According to him, the energy issues will be taken care of first.
“The only power plant in Transnistria supplies both this republic (Transnistria) and Moldova with energy. So, they bring the army to Romania intending to solve the transport, energy and military issues. If we had conquered Odessa, everything would have been simple”.
NARRATIVE: The United States is preparing an attack on the Russian/pro-Russian forces in Transnistria.
LOCAL CONTEXT/ETHOS: Narratives regarding the danger that NATO, the most important defensive military organization, poses to the Russian Federation have been among the most frequently invoked by Russian propaganda of late. This is also one of the reasons Russia uses to justify its attack on Ukraine.
In recent months, Russian propaganda, but also politicians and pro-Russian media in Chisinau have launched a string of fake news about the Republic of Moldova's rapprochement with NATO, the amassing of Romanian military troops in the Republic of Moldova or the Republic of Moldova, Ukraine and /or NATO/Romania planning to attack Transnistria.
The new narrative, in which the main target becomes the Cuciurgan Power Plant, has been launched in the context in which this structure, controlled by a Russian company and the Transnistrian separatist authorities, stopped the supply of electricity to the Republic of Moldova (right bank) after Gazprom reduced the volume of natural gas.
PURPOSE: To further fuel the idea of the danger that NATO poses to Russia/the Russian world and thus justify the war launched by the Kremlin against Ukraine.
WHY THE NARRATIVE IS FALSE: Marat Bashirov, the one promoting theses about NATO’s preparations for an attack on Transnistria, is the political scientist who in February was talking about a war planned to start in 2023-2024. He is hinting at the US Army's 101st Airborne Division, recently deployed in Romania. Its purpose is to strengthen NATO's eastern flank in the context of Russia's war in Ukraine and it has no war missions.
The NATO leaders have repeatedly stated that they are ready to defend the member states, including Romania, in case of attacks from Russia, but have specified that there is no intention of attacking Russia directly.
Also, the authorities in Chisinau have repeatedly said that they do not intend to attack the separatist region in the east of the country and continue to opt for the identification of a peaceful solution, even though officials in Kyiv have stated several times that the Ukrainian army could eliminate very easily the military and paramilitary structures on the left of the Dniester.
The thesis related to the attack on the Cuciurgan Power Plant seems even less likely given that its destruction would also leave the right bank of the Dniester without energy. Even if it no longer delivers electricity, the energy that the Republic of Moldova imports from Romania still passes through that plant.
GRAIN OF TRUTH: Elements of the US Army's 101st Airborne Division, nicknamed “The Screaming Eagles”, were sent to Romania to support NATO's eastern flank.