Why is Moldova significant in the Ukraine war?

Watch: Why Moldova matters on the fringes of the Ukraine conflict.

There are concerns Moldova, which borders Ukraine and contains a Russian-backed region, could play a role in the Ukraine conflict.

Pro-Russian sentiment in the country's eastern region, Transnistria, has prompted some to question whether the Kremlin could use the area as a target for invasion, or a launch pad for attacking Ukraine.

The people in the breakaway zone – a sliver of land between the Dniester River and Moldova's border with Ukraine –  are largely Russian speakers, around 1,500 Russian soldiers are based there, and the government is run by pro-Russian separatists.

Four hundred and seventy thousand mainly ethnic Russians and Ukrainians live there.  

When Moldova left the Soviet Union in 1992, Transnistrian separatists broke away.  

For the Moldovan government, Transnistria has remained a no-go area – a freeze-framed part of the old USSR.

Recent unrest

In recent weeks, thousands of anti-government protesters have been on the Moldovan streets.

Some believe Vladimir Putin might be behind it and Moldova's president says Russia is trying to use her country in the war against Ukraine.

She has accused the Kremlin of plotting a coup to overthrow the pro-EU government.

Claire Sadler explains more about the situation in the video above.

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