Global Affairs

After Ukraine, why Moldova may be in Russia's sights

The small and poor nation’s value to Moscow lies in allowing Russia to expand its military options while it goes about trying to recover parts of the old Soviet empire.

Russian troops at the entrance to the village of Varnita, in Transnistria, on March 4, 2022. PHOTO: NYTIMES
New: Gift this subscriber-only story to your friends and family

Since ordering his troops to invade Ukraine two months ago, Russian President Vladimir Putin has not publicly issued any operational orders as military commander-in-chief. Instead, he has left it to the Russian Ministry of Defence to explain the various stages of what Moscow still gingerly calls its "special military operation" in Ukraine.

Staying out of the limelight is Mr Putin's way of warding off any hint of failure from a president who has to appear infallible. But it also allows Russian army commanders to announce new objectives and targets in their Ukraine war without worrying about diplomatic niceties and without the need to justify what they propose to do. Instead, brute force is the only justification.

Already a subscriber? 

Dive deeper at $0.99/month

Want more exclusives, sharp insights into what's happening at home and abroad? Subscribe to stay informed.

Unlock these benefits

  • All subscriber-only content on ST app and

  • Easy access any time via ST app on 1 mobile device

  • 2-week e-paper archive so you never miss out on any topic that matters to you

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.