Wreckage from explosion in Transnistria

The Next Target

Explosions in the Russian-aligned breakaway region of Transnistria have raised the threat of a broader war. While Russia’s limited strength and difficulties in Ukraine make an invasion of Moldova unlikely, it is important to see that in the long-term, Russia clearly hopes to expand from Ukraine, subjugate Moldova, and pressure Romania and Bulgaria. The Black Sea States must therefore prepare for an extended confrontation.

Although Russia’s force constraints have limited its territorial achievements, Russia’s war aims remain unlimited. Putin and his inner circle of siloviki launched this invasion with a clear political goal: the integration of Ukraine and Belarus into a revived Russian empire. By the end of 2020, it had become apparent that the government in Kyiv had no interest in allowing the separatist enclaves in Donbas to exercise a veto over Ukrainian policy.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy was not a traditional post-Soviet oligarch. He represented the assertion of Ukrainian civil society against the standard elements that control the Kremlin’s erstwhile satellites. Growing Ukrainian military capacity, while insufficient to challenge the Russian Army, could jeopardize the Donetsk and Luhansk breakaway areas. And the apparent Nazism that infected Kyiv – for any individual who opposes Moscow’s rule over the entire Russian world must be a Nazi, the only enemy that threatened to destroy Russia apart from the Mongols – made Ukrainian aggression likely soon.

Read the full article at RealClear Defense.

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