Ukraine has attributed this incident to "a Russian provocation" in Transnistria

The strange attack on a Mil Mi-8 helicopter in the Russian-occupied part of Moldova

This Sunday, at noon, a strange incident occurred at Tiraspol Airport, in the Transnistria region, Moldova.

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That region, occupied by Russia and controlled by a pro-Russian government of communist ideology, is a de facto independent countrybut without any international recognition, not even by Russia. Only two regions of Georgia occupied by Russia, Abkhazia and South Ossetia (also de facto independent countries but without international recognition) have recognized the independence of Transnistria, calling itself a "Pridnestrovian Moldovan Republic".

The separatist government of Transnistria maintains a small armed forces including an air force, which operates from Tiraspol Airport. That air force would include two old Antonov An-2, one Mil Mi-2 light helicopter and two Mil Mi-8 medium helicopters. Some sources speak of up to five Mil Mi-8s operational and one in storage. There are no updated sources on these figures.

Today, at 15:36 CET, an official media outlet of the separatist government of Transnistria, TV PMR, has published the following information on its Telegram channel: "Today, as a result of an explosion, a fire broke out on the territory of one of the military units of TiraspolIt had previously been established that the explosion occurred as a result of an attack by a kamikaze drone, whose flight was recorded from the Clover Bridge. There are no victims. strong>Law enforcement agencies are working. A criminal case has been opened."

According to Ukrainska Pravda, the Clover Bridge is north of Tiraspol, near the border with Ukraine, so the separatist government would be pointing to Ukraine as a possible author of the attack, but without saying so. In that first publication, TV PMR has published these four photos of the destroyed helicopter, in the that stands out, which had two rocket launchers. What we see are the remains of a Mil Mi-8.

At 15:45 CET, TV PMR released the following video of the destroyed helicopter. From the paint on the tail, it looks like a Mil Mi-8 from the Transnistrian air force:

At 16:04 CET, TV PMR released this other video in the one where we see how the attack was. The video would be recorded by a security camera that indicates today's date and the local time 12:09 (11:09 CET).

This last video allows us to locate the attack and the attacked aircraft. It is an aircraft parking apron that functions as the base of the Transnistrian air force at Tiraspol Airport. The attacked helicopter appears here circled:

In the second video you can see an object arriving from the north, probably a suicide drone, judging by its speed and size:

According to Special Kherson Cat, the destroyed helicopter would be a Mil Mi- 8T, the Yellow 04. On September 21, 2017, the transnistrian media published some images of a Transnistrian air force exercise in which this same helicopter appeared:

Some analysts have pointed out that it is possible that the destroyed Mi-8T was inoperative, since in the second video it is observed that the helicopter is missing one of the front windows. In fact, in the video we see other glasses exploding, but nothing happens in the hole of that glass, a sign that it was empty.

Moldova attributes the incident to "an attempt to provoke fear and panic in the region"

This afternoon, at 6:00 p.m., the government of Moldova has released a brief statement pointing out the following:

"The reintegration policy office contacted the other public authorities of the Republic of Moldova and, after examination of the video images and the exchange of information, we communicate that the incident in question is an attempt to "cause fear and panic in the region. The military equipment shown in the photographs has not been working for several years. The Chisinau authorities, in contact with the Ukrainian side, do not confirm any attacks in the Transnistria region."

Ukraine attributes the incident to "a Russian provocation"

Likewise, this afternoon, a representative of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, Andrei Yusov, has declared that "this is a Russian provocation".

At 17:43, another official Ukrainian source, the Center to Counter Disinformation, has stated: "Russia has carried out a provocation in Transnistria with a kamikaze drone attack on a military unit. The main logic behind the actions of the Kremlin is to aggravate the situation with information, since Russia has no corridor to Transnistria to carry out military provocations."

Certainly, it seems strange that Moldova or Ukraine would attack an old inoperative helicopter of the separatists of Transnistria, considering that right now there are no hostilities between Moldova and the separatists of that region, on the one hand, and neither There is fighting between Ukrainian forces and Transnistrian separatists. Let us remember that Russia has about 1,500 soldiers in Tiraspol, divided into three infantry battalions. If Ukraine had any interest in attacking that Moldovan city, it would attack that Russian base, and not an old separatist helicopter at the airport.

For the rest, let us remember that On December 24, 2022, the Kremlin threatened Moldova with an invasion, in an attempt to cut that country's ties with the West and the supply of weapons from NATO countries to the Moldovan Armed Forces. Russia seems most interested in opening a new front in Transnistria, which would allow it to attack the Ukrainian forces from their rear.

The precedent of the April 2022 sabotages in Transnistria

There is already a precedent for a situation like this. In April 2022, after several alleged sabotages in Transnistria through the use of drones against the Tiraspol Airport and against other targets of the separatist government in that region, Moldova attributed what happened to tensions between different forces within Transnistria itself.

Likewise, from Ukraine Russia was pointed out as responsible, according to the Center for Countering Disinformation: "The Provocations of the Russian Federation in Transnistria were carried out by the FSB of the Russian Federation with the aim of opening an additional front in the Odessa region. This situation will force the Armed Forces of Ukraine to attract forces in this direction, weakening them in the Nikolaev region."

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