Ukraine described those blasts as a planned provocation by the Russian security services.

The self-proclaimed republic of Transnistria – which has its own constitution, military, currency and flag but has never been recognized by the international community – could be pulled into Russia's war in Ukraine.

Some military analysts suspect Russia plans to lean on Transnistria for logistical support – and to take advantage of its strategic position, to establish a land corridor along the Black Sea to capture the port city of Odesa.