MOSCOW, RUSSIA - AUGUST 31, 2022: Russia s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov looks on during a press conference following a meeting with Iran s Minister of Foreign Affairs Hossein Amir Abdollahian at the Reception House of the Russian Foreign Ministry. Artyom Geodakyan/TASS PUBLICATIONxINxGERxAUTxONLY TS13FFA5

Russia is threatening Moldova with military action should the security of Russian troops in the separatist-held region of Transnistria be threatened. This means that Moldova is risking a military conflict with Russia, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Thursday. “Any threat to the security of Russian troops (in Transnistria) would be counted as an attack on Russia under international law.”

Russian troops have been stationed in Transnistria since the early 1990s after the region broke away from Moldova in a violent conflict.

The Transnistrian Moldovan Republic is recognized by Russia but not by the international community. According to Russia, the military presence in Transnistria should ensure peace. The Republic of Moldova, which recently received EU candidate status along with neighboring Ukraine, is demanding the withdrawal of Russian troops.

Russia had already threatened military action in April. The triggers at the time were alleged attacks in Transnistria.