The US, Romania and the Republic of Moldova are preparing to attack Russia's main strategic sites in the Transnistrian separatist region, such as the former USSR arms depot in Cobasna, according to Kremlin’s propaganda arm, Sputnik. The narrative is being promoted while tensions are building up around Ukraine as Russia is concentrating troops in the area.
NEWS: “The exercises conducted by special operations units from Moldova, Romania and the USA in the vicinity of Transnistria are clearly targeted and risk destabilizing the region.
A single "successful" diversionary operation at the Cobasna arsenal may have consequences similar to the American bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Starting March 23rd, at the Bulboaca training ground of the National Army of the Republic of Moldova, special operations units from Moldova, Romania and USA have carried out the exercise JCET-2021 (Joint Combined Exchange Training).
Most likely, the 19 days of the first JCET-2021 stage on Romanian soil were considered insufficient to carry through the entire exercise plan. In any case, the trilateral exercise in Moldova doesn’t look much like training, but rather a reconnaissance mission for a future military theatre of operations. Mention should be made of the fact that special troops are created not for defensive fighting on their own turf or on Allied territory, but for reconnaissance and diversions on enemy territory. Probably, this specialization and orientation towards concrete military actions could explain the lack of American "rangers" in the Romanian episode of JCET-2021 (there is no real enemy there) and their long-lasting presence at the Bulboaca Moldovan polygon, near Transnistria.
The pathological secrecy of the bigger partners and the unpredictability of Washington's decisions are extremely dangerous. Until a certain point, Chisinau may not even suspect that Moldova’s territory and national interests are used to serve a Pentagon or NATO operation. In fact, a single “successful” diversion by the special troops (Moldovan, Romanian or American) near the Cobasna arsenal is enough for a pit the size of a Moon crater to appear – and all of Moldova will suffer. ", according to Sputnik.
NARRATIVES: 1. NATO and the Republic of Moldova are training to attack Transnistria and Russia's military sites in the region. 2. Romania may bring troops to the Republic of Moldova for an indefinite period of time. 3. The Republic of Moldova could be used as a base for military diversions, without even realizing it.
LOCAL CONTEXT / ETHOS: Russia is conducting large-scale troop movements at Ukraine's eastern border, as well as in Crimea, creating tensions with the West and Kiev. Russia is trying a show of strength, amid frictions with the new White House administration, led by President Joe Biden. However, Moscow is pursuing its usual strategy of presenting itself as a victim or a defender of a victim - in this case, pro-Russian channels of communication constantly convey the message that Ukraine is allegedly preparing for war and that its troops are guilty of aggression in Donbass, including against civilians.
On the other hand, troop movements were also reported in Transnistria, and late last week, the separatist leader from Tiraspol, Vadim Krasnoselski , was in Moscow. Asked by Russian journalists if the Transnistrian army could repel a possible attack on Chisinau, he answered in the affirmative.
In the first half of April alone, army experts in Chisinau counted seven Russian military exercises. The combat exercises scenarios included imaginary enemy invasions and drone attacks.Beyond the current context, the pro-Russian political forces in Chisinau are constantly waving the theme of the Republic of Moldova’s neutrality, enshrined in the Constitution. In fact, this provision is used as an argument for the Republic of Moldova not to have any contact or connection with the Alliance so as not to harm Russia's military objectives in the Republic of Moldova.
PURPOSE: The purpose is to create the image of a belligerent West, ready to attack Russia's military sites and invade various territories.
WHY THE NARRATIVES ARE FALSE: Romania, the USA and the Republic of Moldova regularly participate in such training exercises, within the Partnership for Peace, to which Chisinau is a signatory party. These exercises are intended to maintain the appropriate level of military training and to prepare soldiers for possible joint operations, where necessary. They are not offensive.
The Cobasna depot is guarded by Russian troops, and an attack on that target would be tantamount to a declaration of war against Russia.
Last but not least, there is no military agreement between Romania and the Republic of Moldova that would allow the deployment of Romanian troops in the Republic of Moldova indefinitely. The military agreement signed at government level between Bucharest and Chisinau does not provide for such clauses. Moreover, the authors of the Sputnik material got even the date of its signing wrong. They say the date was June 27, 2013, when in fact the agreement was signed on April 20, 2012 and entered into force on July 30, 2013.
GRAIN OF TRUTH: The Romanian and Moldovan soldiers regularly participate in joint military exercises aimed at ensuring interoperability between two partner armies from neighboring states.
BENEFITING: The Kremlin, but also the public in Romania and in the Republic of Moldova with pro-Russian and anti-NATO visions.