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Concerns that the Ukraine war could escalate into a wider conflict grew on Tuesday as Kyiv accused Moscow of trying to create unrest in a Russian-backed separatist region of Moldova.

The United Nations and United States warned of rising tensions in the Transnistria region of Moldova, as UN chief Antonio Guterres met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow and pleaded for peace.

Read more: US sends artillery to Ukraine against Russian forces

Russian forces have been in Transnistria for decades after the predominantly Russian-speaking region seceded from the former Soviet republic.

Blasts this week targeting the state security ministry, a radio tower and military unit came after a Russian commander claimed Russian speakers in Moldova were being oppressed.

The claim triggered alarm that Moldova could be Russia s next target as Moscow used the same “false flag” argument after launching its bloody invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

“Russia wants to destabilise the Transnistrian region,” Mykhaylo Podolyak, a Ukraine presidential aide wrote on Twitter.

“If Ukraine falls, tomorrow Russian troops will be at Chisinau s gates,” he said, referring to Moldova s capital.

Guterres “is following with concern reports of new security incidents in the Transnistrian region of Moldova,” a UN spokesman said.

The United States echoed similar concerns, stopping short of backing Kyiv s contention that Russia was responsible.


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