I recommend reading Josh Kovensky’s run-down on Russian threats to expand the Ukraine War to the breakaway region of Transnistria. To understand just what this is about you have to have a grip on the geography. So I’m going to momentarily focus on that. But I do so to illustrate a larger point about the state of the Ukraine war.
To start off, Transnistria is another of those breakaway separatist statelets which is recognized by Russia and basically no one else. It’s part of Moldova, another former Soviet successor state couched, landlocked, between Ukraine and Romania. Transnistria is a stretched-out slice of land along Moldova’s border to Ukraine, which is to the east. So to situate ourselves in some ways it mirrors the separatist statelets Russia sponsored along the Russian border in eastern Ukraine. Only in this case the separatist statelet in the eastern part of Moldova borders not Russia but Ukraine.