Moldovan and Ukrainian officals dismissed recent claims made by Russia alleging that Ukrainian troops were planning to carry out "provocations" on the Ukrainian-Moldovan border.
Russia had insinuated that Ukrainian armed forces planned an invasion in Transnistria, an internationally unrecognized breakaway region of Moldova, and posed a threat to the Russian forces stationed there.
Moldovan authorities quickly denied these claims, stating: “We call for calm and for information to be received [by the public] from official and credible sources of the Republic of Moldova,” the Guardian reported.
A Moldovan Foreign Ministry official added on Twitter that "Moldova is fully committed to peaceful settlement of Transnistrian conflict [and] continues to demand complete withdrawal of Russian troops and munitions."
The Russian peacekeeper force in Transnistria numbers around 1,000 soldiers and is tasked with securing old Soviet ammunition depots, according to Russian news outlet TASS.
Andriy Chernyak, a representative of the Defense Ministry of Ukraine, commented on the Russian claims, saying that "in Transnistria, the Russians have a very limited contingent. There are warehouses that they guard. But there is almost nothing left in those warehouses, and what is left is old and unusable. And in Moldova, they are still trying politically shake up the situation - under a 'foreign flag.'"
Chernyak accused the Russians of trying to create distractions.
"By creating tension in Moldova, Russia sets two goals for itself. The first is an attempt to distract the European public from the events taking place in Ukraine. They see that all attention is focused on Ukraine, including in the sense of aid. Therefore, they are trying to ignite a new a fire in Europe," he explained.
Chernyak added that the second goal might also be a way to shore up their home base.
"After all, they did not achieve any results in their so-called 'special military operation'. Therefore, they need to demonstrate any 'victories' for their population. Now they are trying to make some kind of revolution in order to create the illusion that 'peace is for them', 'the people of Moldova are for us'", Chernyak concluded.
US State Department spokesman Ned Price was also asked to comment on the Russian allegations and alleged reports of Ukrainian troops near the Transnistrian border.
"There is a broader concern that we have, that our Moldovan partners have, and that is with Russia’s intent, its malign influence in and around Moldova. We know that Russia has a long history of malign influence both in Moldova and the region, and we’ve worked closely with Moldova to build its resilience and to be able to counter longer-term efforts by Russia to undermine Moldova’s democratic institutions," Price said.