Three Russian missiles launched from ships located in the Black Sea crossed Moldova’s territory on their way to Ukraine between 8:30 and 9:00 local time on October 10, Moldova’s Ministry of Defence announced.
Besides their targets in Ukraine, the missiles appear to have been aimed at testing Moldova’s reaction and increasing potential tensions among the local population.
“I ordered that the Russian ambassador be summoned to give an explanation," wrote Moldova’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Nicu Popescu on Twitter.
The trajectories of the three missiles crossed not only the separatist region Transnistria, but Moldova proper as well. One of the missiles’ trajectories crossed the Floreşti industrial and commercial centre. Another one passed over Cobasna in Transnistria, where a large amount of ammunition dating from the Communist era is deposited.
In Moldova, support for pro-Russian former president Igor Dodon is growing. A recent poll put him as the preferred candidate for 13.4% of respondents, not far behind pro-EU President Maia Sandu (16.2%) while fugitive businessman and politician Ilan Shor (12.5%) is organising street protests in Chisinau.
Sandu recently took a more radical position in regard to the war in Ukraine, after she avoided blunt statements initially. In a recent interview with Washington Post she said that democracy in Moldova depends on EU membership. In terms of military cooperation, Moldova took steps to consolidate its defence capacity through partnerships with Romania and other western countries such as Germany, besides the usual drills with Nato troops.
"Strongly condemn the ongoing massive #Russian missile attacks on #Ukrainian cities, including #Kyiv. Brutality, terror and killing of innocent civilians must immediately stop," Sandu October 10, 2022 in the morning of October 10, one hour after the incident involving the Russian missiles.
“The violation of our national airspace is completely unacceptable. The bombardment of the neighbouring country must be stopped immediately," Moldova’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs also said.
The missiles were spotted by the defence ministries of Romania and Ukraine as well.
“The targets posed a danger to the infrastructure of the Republic of Moldova and, in particular, to civil aircraft flying over the country's airspace,” the Moldovan defence ministry’s statement reads.