(Reuters) - Russia told the West on Friday that it would view as an attack on itself any actions that threatened Russian peacekeepers in Moldova's breakaway Transdniestria region, one day after Moscow accused Ukraine of deploying troops near the region's border.
The warning comes amid increased concerns in Moldova, a small ex-Soviet republic bordering Ukraine, of a possible Russian threat to its own independence. Its pro-European president, Maia Sandu, this month accused Moscow of plotting to overthrow Moldova's government.
On Thursday, Russia accused Kyiv of planning to invade Transdniestria, which borders Ukraine. The mainly Russian-speaking territory broke from Moldova's control in 1990, a year before the collapse of the Soviet Union.
"We warn the United States, NATO member states and their Ukrainian wards against taking yet another reckless step," Russia's foreign ministry said on Friday.
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"Any action that threatens their security will be considered under international law as an attack on the Russian Federation."
Moldova's defence ministry has dismissed Russia's claims of a Ukrainian troop build-up. "We note that there are currently no direct threats to the state's military security... If possible threats to the security of the country are identified, the ministry will immediately inform the public," the Moldovan ministry said. "The false information being spread is Kyiv has not responded to Russia's latest claims of a Ukrainian troop build-up near Transdniestria.
Last week, however, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said it was "obvious" that his country was not the last country in Moscow's sights and that the Kremlin was thinking about ways to "strangle" Moldova.
(Reporting by Caleb Davis and Alexander Tanas,; Editing by Gareth Jones) intended to cause panic and confusion among the population on both banks of the Dniester river. We urge citizens to remain calm and receive information only from official sources."
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