A weaponized drone downed near the village of Mayak.
© PMR Interior Ministry
A weaponized drone downed near the village of Mayak.
An armed drone has been intercepted near a telecom center in a breakaway region of Moldova.

A weaponized cargo drone was intercepted overnight near a large telecom center located in the village of Mayak, the Interior Ministry of the self-proclaimed republic of Transnistria said on Tuesday.

The intercepted drone appeared to be a home-made contraption, jury-rigged from different parts, the ministry said.
"The drone with a diameter of one and a half meters was assembled from various components. The equipment was so powerful it could move loads of up to 20 kilograms to a distance of some 30 kilometers from the operator who controlled it," it added.
The drone carried a canister containing "unknown brown liquid" and a small barrel containing two kilograms of plastic explosives with radio detonators attached. Imagery released by the Transnistrian authorities suggest the drone was also fitted with a payload release system to drop its deadly cargo.


According to the Interior Ministry's information, the drone's operators were seeking to use the device to attack a transformer cooling station of the telecom center. If successful, the attack would have knocked out the whole facility at once, the ministry noted, adding that the weaponized drone came into the region "from the Ukrainian side."

The aircraft was "neutralized" by the border guards deployed to patrol the crucial facility after it was attacked by unknown assailants late in April. Back then, two large radio masts transmitting Russian radio stations were blown up in the center.

In recent days, Transnistria has endured a string of mysterious incidents involving the region's critical civilian and military infrastructure. Apart from the attacks on the Mayak broadcasting center, Transnistria's Ministry of State Security was targeted by three unknown assailants, who fired shoulder-mounted rocket launchers at the building, shattering its windows and damaging its façade. Several explosions also occurred at a military compound outside Transnistria's capital city of Tiraspol.

The president of the self-proclaimed republic, Vadim Krasnoselsky, blamed the incidents he described as "terror attacks" on Ukrainian nationals, urging Kiev to probe the armed groups that had allegedly infiltrated his region.

Transnistria, officially known as the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic (PMR), is an unrecognized state located along a narrow strip of land between the Dniester River and Ukrainian border in the eastern part of Moldova.

The region broke away from Moldova in the early 1990s, shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The region maintains close ties with Russia, with Russian peacekeepers stationed there and a vast part of the local population holding Russian citizenship.