The Ukrainian Air Force (UAF) said Russian missiles and drones flew over Moldovan airspace en route to targets in Ukraine during an attack overnight which previously happened “more than once”, adding there’s nothing “particularly new” about it, but Moldova has denied that Monday night’s incident happened. 

On Feb. 26 at 11:31 p.m. local time, the UAF announced on Telegram that “unidentified UAVs from the border with Moldova” were heading towards Khmelnytsky.

However, the Moldovan military had made an announcement 20 minutes or so prior to the UAF’s announcement saying no Russian drones had flown over Moldovan airspace.

“Regarding the alleged risk of a drone entering the space of the Republic of Moldova, we inform you that no drone launched by the Russian Federation this evening over Ukraine flew over the airspace of the Republic of Moldova,” it read.

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Colonel Yuriy Ihnat, the spokesperson for the UAF, said on television that Ukrainian radar had registered Russian drones over Moldovan airspace last night, potentially over the Russian-controlled enclave of Transnistria as well. He went on to say that there’s “nothing surprising” about it as it wasn’t the first such occurrence.

“Missiles and drones are flying over Moldova and through the Russian enclave of Transnistria. And this time, of course, such a flight was recorded by our radar systems. There is nothing surprising here.

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“It is not the first time that Russia conducts its provocative actions in this direction. Not only attack drones, but also reconnaissance drones often approached the territory of Romania. There were such cases for a year, and six months ago,” said Ihnat.

He added the UAF is unable to determine why Moscow would send its drones over Moldovan airspace, but he suspected that it did so to shorten the flight path or to instigate further instability in Moldova.

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“I cannot say exactly what the Russians’ goal is, to shorten the path for the drone or provocative actions. You see that certain political processes are also taking place in this region, the occupying state is trying to take certain provocative actions there as well with the accession and so on,” said Ihnat.

Moscow has ramped up its narrative against the Moldovan regime in recent months, threatening Chișinău with a “military scenario” over Transnistria; it is also reported that Transnistria’s Congress might be voting to join Russia tomorrow.

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