Moldova's pro-Russian breakaway region of Transnistria said on Wednesday that shots were fired from Ukraine towards a village that houses an ammunition depot, the latest report to raise concern that Russia's war in Ukraine might expand.
The interior ministry of the unrecognized region that borders southwestern Ukraine said in a statement that several drones had been detected flying over the village of Cobasna overnight and they had come from Ukraine.
It said shots were later fired towards the border village from Ukrainian territory on Wednesday morning. It gave no further details, but said nobody had been hurt.
Russia has a contingent of troops in Transnistria guarding many tonnes of ammunition stored in the region since before the 1991 breakup of the Soviet Union. Moscow also has peacekeepers thereafter a conflict between separatist and Moldovan forces.
Transnistria's interior ministry cited "experts" as saying that Cobasna holds the biggest ammunition depot in Europe.
Moldova's government did not immediately reply to a request for comment about the statement from Transnistria.
Ukraine has accused Russia of trying to mastermind false flag attacks in the region, including explosions that damaged two radio masts on Tuesday. Read full story The region itself blames the attacks on Ukraine.
The Kremlin said it was seriously concerned by the developments. The Russian foreign ministry was quoted by the RIA news agency as saying it wants to avoid a scenario in which Moscow would have to intervene there.
The statements have put Moldova on edge.
"We need to make financial and logistical efforts to build a professional army, modern and well-equipped," said Moldovan President Maia Sandu.
"We are going through a very difficult period for our country, but investments in the army are very necessary, they are needed for infrastructure, for the security and defense of the state," she said.
Moldovan authorities said that queues of cars and trucks had formed on the road out of Transnistria into the rest of Moldova because of tougher controls at checkpoints that Transnistria had brought in on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, Ukrainian Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Malyar accused Russia of being ready to use Transnistria as a bridgehead to move on Ukraine or the rest of Moldova. Read full story