In the wake of a series of explosions last week in Transnistria, a small, Russian separatist region of Moldova on the Ukrainian border, Israel’s Foreign Ministry on Thursday issued an urgent warning to Israeli citizens in the area to leave immediately.
“In connection with the deterioration of the security situation in the region and due to the inability to provide any assistance to Israeli citizens there, Israelis should immediately leave the region,” the ministry stated.
Fears are high that Russia, which has about 1,500 troops [so-called peacemakers] stationed in Transnistria will use those forces to invade western Ukraine. Russian-backed government officials in Transnistria blamed the explosions on Ukraine – in another attempt at a Russian “false-flag” operation – contriving an attack as an excuse for invasion.
Moldovan Foreign Minister Nicu Popescu told reporters that Transnistria has issued an order that men of fighting age will not be allowed to leave the area and “this is an indication that danger of a military scenario still exists.” Transnistrian President Vadim Krasnoselsky vehemently denied Popescu’s claim, calling it a “ridiculous lie.”
As YWN reported last week, following the explosions, Jewish community leaders in Transnistria contacted the leaders of the Jewish kehilla in Kishinev to discuss possible evacuation to Kishinev if necessary.
However, after Chief Rabbi of Moldova Rav Pinchas Saltzman visited Transnistria on Thursday and met with President Krasnoselsky in the capital city of Tiraspol and the head of the local Jewish kehilla, Yuri Kreitman, he said the Jews of Transnistria feel safe and there will not be a mass evacuation of Jews from the area.
“Apart from isolated incidents, there is no immediate fear of warfare in the Transnistrian region,” Rav Saltzman said. “The Jews of the region expressed their confidence in the government’s ability to ensure their safety and do not wish to leave their homes. At the same time, we are preparing for every possibility and development. During a meeting with President Krasnoelsky, I conveyed the gratitude of the Jewish community for his support throughout this period.”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)