Ukraine and Moldova are now restricting access to Russian military on their territory, completely isolating Transnistria.
The small contingent of 1,500 Russian soldiers in Transnistria is now squeezed between Moldova and Ukraine and has no way to be resupplied by ground.
Last month, the Ukrainian government voted in favor of revoking Russia’s right to pass through their territory to resupply its troops in Transnistria. Although Ukraine has condemned Russia to be behind the attacks in Eastern Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea, the later still had the right to cross Ukraine.
However, the Russian Ministry of Defense unyielded to the Ukraine’s vote. In fact, a senior official of the Russian MOD stated that no matter how, the “Russian contingent will be supplied under any circumstances.”
“The Ministry of Defense is left with no other option than to supply Russian forces with all the necessities by air bridge, with military-transport aircraft,” said Yuriy Yakubov, a senior Russian MoD official in an interview with Interfax after the Ukrainian vote.
Despite Russia’s willingness to supply its soldiers through an air bridge, there is no serviceable airfield in Transnistria. The only airport in Transnistria that could be used by military aircraft is the abandoned airport of Tiraspol.
Another issue for Russia is they will have to fly over Ukraine to reach Transnistria. The only other possible option would be to fly over Romania and Moldova. However, Romania is a NATO ally and will most likely not be inclined to let Russian aircraft flying in their airspace.
Since they were using the airport of Chisinau in Moldova, now unaccessible for the Russian military due to the conflict in Eastern Ukraine, Russia will have to quickly put the Tiraspol airport in order so they can resupply their troops by air.
Until then, it’s also possible to airdrop goods but this would greatly limit the type of goods that could be parachuted and could only be considered as a temporary solution.
Ukraine deploys S-300 Anti-Aircraft missile complexes near the Transnistrian border
The deployment of Ukrainian S-300 near the Transnistrian border is another sign of a blockade against Transnistria. Since Russia will have to resupply its contingent by air, the deployment of S-300 is most likely not a coincidence.
Russia could possibly lurk the Ukrainian airspace near the border and Ukraine would have means to defend against intrusions.
TASS reported that the Dniester Republic President Yevgeny Shevchuk “expressed concern over the bellicose moods in Kiev.”
“He said an antitank ditch was being dug at the Kiev government’s instruction along the border with the unrecognized republic, while special block posts with armored vehicles assigned to them had been installed on automobile roads and thousands of army servicemen had been redeployed to the area.”
The deployment of s-300 missiles is possibly the first phase of a much larger deployment of Ukrainian troops near the border.
Ukraine might also be fearing a second front that could be opened by Russian supporters in Transnistria. In its current state, Ukraine cannot afford to fight on a second front, even with the support of NATO countries.
Is Ukraine trying to establish a sense of panic to the Russia-sympathetic countries who shares a common border with them?
Is Ukraine trying to flex some muscles against Russia by threatening Transnistria?
If so, Ukraine has way more in their plate than it can handle.