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Explosions in Transnistria and Russia amid Ukrainian War

Serge AApr 27, 2022 (0)

Few reports have trickled out about attacks in Russia and territories controlled by Russia, but over the past two weeks, and especially in the last five days, strategic sites in Russia and Transnistria have been struck. Explosions took place in oil refineries, gas pressure stations, bridges, and megawatt antennas, and Army recruitment offices were set on fire. Last week, a strategic military research center that designs and upgrades Russian weaponry burned to the ground in a matter of hours. There have been many such instances, yet little is known.

Transnistria is a tiny republic that most nations have yet to recognize because it is seen as belonging to Ukraine's neighbor Moldova. This sliver of land hugs south-western Ukraine near Odessa. In 1990, Transnistria separatists started claiming independence from Moldova, and fighting continued for about two years until the national guard of Russia stepped in and recognized Transnistria as an independent republic - an independent Russian republic, in fact. Following the same playbook, Russia launched a similar chain of events in Ukraine in 2014 prior to the full-fledged war of 2022. Transnistria, whose territory is controlled by the Russian army, reported that three separate attacks took place on April 26.

The map of Transnistria and proximity to Moldova as well as the locations of unfortunate events of the recent days.

Transnistria's ridiculous border shape shows it is not a real country but a piece of a country. At its narrowest point, the Republic of Transnistria measures a measly 2.92 kilometers, or 1.83 miles.

Transnistria width on map.

Sandwiched between Moldova and Ukraine, to the west of Russia across Ukrainian territory, Transnistria is one more piece of evidence showing how vulnerable Ukraine really was all these years. Surrounded by the enemy from three sides, Ukrainians still managed to keep their identity and develop as an independent nation in the face of ongoing Russian oppression. Russia invested billions of dollars in hopes of hijacking public opinion in lands surrounding Ukraine but as we see now this was money poorly spent.

Transnistria is a military state with troops stationed along the Ukrainian and Moldavian borders. Much like Kaliningrad in the heart of Europe, it has no land bridge to Russia's mainland. This begs the question of why in the world would a nation need such distant strips of land? The answer is to keep a military presence next to countries it perceives as enemies. This has been Russia's pattern throughout its existence. As a matter of fact, the Russian army made suicidal attempts to break through Nikolaev defense in southern Ukraine to take the Odessa region and try to connect Russia and Transnistria. Russia sticks to what works, and likely will try the same operation to connect Kaliningrad to the Russian mainland.

On April 26th a few unexpected events happened in Transnistria. Topping the list is the destruction of a megawatt antenna that provided radio connection to God knows what.

Transnistria antenna before.

Transnistria antenna after its destruction.

Now, sometimes humongous structures just collapse. But the strangeness of this occurrence is that violent and massive explosions happened along the Ukrainian Russian border from north to south. The city of Bryansk is perhaps the most notable.

This map is a demonstration of the location of the city of Bryansk pointed by the arrow. The red lines mark the path of a Russian oil pipeline called Druzhba, which is surprisingly translated from Russian as friendship. As it turns out, Putin just wanted friends but couldn't keep any, which is of no particular surprise as it is reportedly unbearable to be friends with murderous maniacs.

 The explosion of an oil facility routing Russian oil to Europe in Bryansk.

Amid this havoc, there was a fire outbreak in the Siberian forest. That was so vast that only the army could fight a fire as such. But, the army wasn't available to fight this fire as the whole Russian army is in Ukraine fighting some imaginary fascists.

Furthermore, a city named Belgorod reported smoke and fire when a military arsenal warehouse exploded, leading to a night long fireworks show for locals.

Belgorod - heavy smoke and fire from an army base.

A few days before the Belgorod tragedy another mishap took place in Tiraspol, also a city along the Ukrainian-Russian border. A hand-operated rocket launcher landed on a government building, and parts found on site showed they belonged to rocket launchers known to be used by the Russian army.

 A picture of the facade of the exploded building in Tiraspol.

 The same government building from the other side.

Parts of a Russian rocket launcher found in the street after the attack.

The Ukrainian government denies involvement in these events. Asked to comment by the Ukrainian media, Ukrainian officials replied that what happened in Russia is Russia's business and advised the Russian army and their security teams to be more mindful of fire hazards as it seems they like to smoke in dangerous places. The flippant retort was clearly a message that Russia should focus on its own problems rather than attack other countries. 

Another theory holds that these were false flag attacks conducted by the Russians themselves in order to justify the so-called mobilization. Akin to a draft, in Russia it means that every able-bodied person must join the army. Early in the conflict, Putin specified that since it was not a war, but rather a special military operation, there would be no need for mobilization of civilians. In hopes no one will notice he is backing away from his promises, Putin elevates the national danger level cautiously, only in the end to forcefully recruit men into the army. Other analysts say it would take too long to train civilians to fight on the battlefield. Furthermore, reports say the Russian army is out of tactical weapons and army vehicles and is running low on automatic guns and ammo. The thinking is that it would be difficult to arm these new troops when the Russian economy is at a standstill from sanctions. 

These two theories are not mutually exclusive. Who is to say that the Ukrainian government didn't get intel that Russia was planning false flag attacks and decide to add some of its own. The destroyed sites were so valuable to Russia that they were unlikely to be targets of false flag attacks. Perhaps once the Ukrainian military understood that the Russians were planning a false flag attack, they decided to take advantage of it and decrease Russian supply lines as well as attack their economy. 

The third theory here is that there is an underground Russian movement. Putting supposedly enjoys 86% support, but that leaves 14%, and 14% of 125 million people is a lot of people who can cause havoc if they put their mind to it. To date, Russia has not accused Ukraine of any attacks, yet Russian public opinion seems to believe that it is Ukraine attacking Russia, judging by public comments in social media and Telegram channels. 

Serge A is of Ukrainian descent, grew up in Brooklyn and is volunteering in Ukraine as a legally armed member of a Territorial Defense Group. He was a columnist for the newspaper at Pace University which he attended as an undergrad.


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