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Kiev steps up preparations for Transnistria invasion — Russian defense ministry

The department recorded the accumulation of personnel and military equipment of Ukrainian units near the Ukrainian-Pridnestrovian border, as well as the deployment of artillery at firing positions

MOSCOW, February 24. /TASS/. The Kiev government has stepped up its preparations for an invasion of Transnistria, which it plans to carry out under the pretext of an alleged Russian offensive from the area, the Russian Defense Ministry told reporters on Thursday.

"The Kiev regime stepped up preparations for an invasion into the Moldovan Republic of Transnistria. As was said earlier, this campaign of the Ukrainian armed forces will be carried out in response to an alleged offensive of Russian troops from the territory of Transnistria," the ministry said.

According to the report, Kiev has been amassing personnel and equipment next to Ukraine’s border with Transnistria, and deploying artillery units in the area. The Ukrainian military has also stepped up flights of its drones above the territory of the unrecognized republic.

The provocation poses a threat to the Russian peacekeeping group in Transnistria, the Russian Defense Ministry said.

"The implementation of the Ukrainian authorities’ scheduled provocation poses a direct threat to the Russian peacekeeping contingent deployed legitimately in Transnistria," it said.

As the Defense Ministry pointed out, the Russian Armed Forces "will respond appropriately to the provocation plotted by Ukraine."

Earlier, the Russian Defense Ministry reported that in the near future the Kiev regime was plotting a provocation against Transnistria carried out by the Ukrainian forces and members of the Azov nationalist battalion (outlawed in Russia). It specified that a staged invasion allegedly by Russian troops from Transnistria would be used as a pretext for the invasion. The Defense Ministry also stressed that it was closely monitoring the situation on the border between Ukraine and Transnistria and was ready to respond to any developments.