In a recent interview for Ukrainian Censor, the commander of the United States Army in Europe, Lieutenant General Frederick (Ben) Hodges argues that several scenarios are possible in the case of Russian invasion in Ukraine.
Talking about Georgian 2008 scenario, General Hodges brings up the example that the around 10000 Russian troops in Abkhazia and South Ossetia were not withdrawn until now. Moreover, he doubts the peacekeeping character of the Russian troops in Moldova’s breakaway region, Transnistria:
“1500 Russian military “peacekeepers” in Transnistria- of course, they are no “peacekeepers”, it is a group for supporting instability around Ukraine”, says Hodges.
Hodges believes that Russia’s attempts to encircle Ukraine, and its other neighbors, with troops is nothing but a mean of pressuring them not to join the EU or approach the West.
Besides the 402 so-called peacekeepers, Russia holds the Operative Group of the Russian Forces in Transnistria containing approximately 1200 regular soldiers, mainly recruited from the Transnistrian locals. The Group is the new shape of the former 14th Guards Army of the Soviet Union that stationed in Transnistria even after the collapse of SU.