A Russian attack on Moldova "could be a high possibility," Igor Zhovkva, the deputy head of the office of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, said during an appearance on NBC's Meet the Press Sunday.
His warning comes after Russian Maj. Gen. Rustam Minnekayev said Friday that Russia plans to "take full control of Donbas and southern Ukraine" and open up land corridors to Crimea and to the Moldovan breakaway province of Transnistria, where Minnekayev claimed "that the Russian-speaking population is being oppressed."
Russian troops have been stationed in Transnistria since 1992.
Zhovkva's comments echoed concerns Zelensky expressed last Friday when the president said Ukraine "was intended only as a beginning" and predicted that Russian President Vladimir Putin intends "to capture other countries" as well, according to Politico.
U.S. Deputy National Security Adviser Jon Finer, who also appeared on Meet the Press, also weighed in on the question of whether Russia poses an imminent threat to Moldova. Russian forces, Finer said, "are a long way from cities like Odessa and certainly from Moldova. They have a lot of fighting still to do."
Moldova, however, appears to be taking the threat seriously, considering that Russia justified its original invasion of Ukraine as an intervention to protect the Russian-speaking inhabitants of a separatist region. According to Axios, "Moldova's Foreign Ministry summoned Russia's ambassador to the country on Friday to express 'deep concern' over" Minnekayev's comments.
Moldova is not a member of NATO or the European Union.