Concerns that the Ukraine war could escalate into a wider conflict escalated on Tuesday when Kyiv accused Moscow of trying to provoke unrest in the Russian -backed separatist region of Moldova.
The United Nations and the United States warned of rising tensions in Moldova’s Transnistria region, as UN chief Antonio Guterres met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow and appealed for peace.
Russian troops have been in Transnistria for decades after the mostly Russian -speaking province seceded from the former Soviet republic.
This week’s blasts targeting national security ministries, radio towers and military units came after a Russian commander claimed Russian speakers in Moldova were suppressed.
The allegations sparked concerns that Moldova could be Russia’s next target as Moscow used the same “false flag” argument after launching a bloody invasion of Ukraine on 24 February.
“Russia wants to threaten the stability of the Transnistrian territory,” Mykhaylo Podolyak, an aide to the president of Ukraine wrote on Twitter.
“If Ukraine falls, tomorrow Russian troops will be at the entrance to Chisinau,” he said, referring to the Moldovan capital.
Guterres “followed up with reports of concerns about new security incidents in Moldova’s Transnistrian region,” a UN spokesman said.
The United States voiced similar concerns, not supporting the Kyiv dispute that Russia is responsible for.
“We fully support the integrity and sovereignty of Moldova’s territory,” State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters.
– Weapons flow into Ukraine –
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has lobbied for heavier firepower to repel the Russian advance that is now concentrated in the eastern Donbas region.
Western allies are wary of being drawn into a direct war with Russia, but Washington vowed at a summit on Tuesday to mobilize “heaven and earth” to allow Ukraine to emerge victorious.
“Ukraine clearly believes that it can win and so does everyone here,” U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told 40 allies gathered at Ramstein Air Base in Germany.
With weapons flowing into Ukraine, Germany announced on Tuesday that it would send anti-aircraft tanks-a sharp U-turn dropping its much-criticized caution.
“I can say one thing: the Ukrainian army will have something to fight for,” Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s foreign minister, said in a briefing on Facebook.
“We have entered a completely new phase …. But this is just the beginning. A lot more is coming to us.”
Ukraine’s defense ministry reported in its latest update that fighting was taking place across the east with gunfire over the city of Kharkiv and Russian troops launching attacks on the town of Barvinkove near Izium.
– ‘I made a wish’ –
“I missed my kickboxing training and dance classes,” nine -year -old Alina, who has slept in an underground parking lot in Kharkiv through Russian rocket attacks since the war began more than two months ago, told AFP.
“Victory will make me very happy. The war will not end immediately, but in a few weeks, I will make a wish.”
At the entrance to Barvinkove, not far from the Russian line, six Ukrainian soldiers are ready at any moment to dive into their trenches, which they dig daily with shovels.
“Otherwise, we’re going to die,” said Vasyl, 51, who serves with his son, Denys, 22.
Ukrainian officials said there were fighting along the front lines in Donetsk region, and resistance at the Azovstal plant in the besieged port city of Mariupol still persisted.
Fierce fighting in Ukraine in recent weeks has repulsed Russian troops from around the capital Kyiv and from the Chernobyl nuclear zone.
But Zelensky said on Tuesday that the conduct of the Russian military at Chernobyl showed that “no one in the world can feel safe.”
Russia considers the toxic site “like a normal battlefield, a territory where they don’t care at all about nuclear safety,” he said during a press conference with UN chief atomic observer Rafael Grossi.
Well -known Ukrainian singer Sviatoslav Vakarchuk made an enthusiastic visit to the east, where a military press official admitted the situation was difficult.
“It’s far from red,” Iryna Rybakova, of the 93rd brigade, told AFP. “Of course, we’re ready for this war, especially professional soldiers, but for those who have been recruited, it’s more complicated.”
Guterres, in his talks with Putin, called on Moscow and Kyiv to work with the UN to establish aid and evacuation corridors to help civilians flee.
After “very honest discussions” with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Guterres said that “Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a violation of its territorial integrity and contrary to the Charter of the United Nations.”
A spokesman for the UN chief said Putin in principle agreed with the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross being involved in evacuating civilians from Mariupol.
Despite the bloodshed, Putin – who shocked the world by sending troops to Ukraine – told Guterres that he believed peace talks could succeed.
“We still hope that we will be able to reach an agreement on a diplomatic track,” Putin said.
Sitting in front of the UN chief at a long table in the Kremlin, Putin said negotiation efforts had been derailed by allegations of atrocities committed by the Russian military.
– Civilians fled –
Russia said it had conducted high -precision missile strikes on 32 Ukrainian military targets including four ammunition depots on Tuesday. It also launched air strikes against 33 targets and 100 artillery and rocket attacks.
In the south, two Russian missiles hit the industrial city of Zaporizhzhia, which has welcomed many civilians fleeing Mariupol, provincial authorities said.
Russian troops are expected to soon advance into the city, giving them the potential to seize Ukraine’s largest nuclear power plant.
The attack on Tuesday killed at least nine civilians in the south and east, Ukrainian officials said.
The UN refugee agency said it now expects more than eight million Ukrainians to eventually leave their country, with nearly 5.3 million already out, and $ 1.85 billion needed to host them in neighboring countries, particularly Poland.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by AGRASMARTCITY staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)