Transnistria’s ‘traffic police’ incorporating first-person view (FPV) drones could signal the increasing adoption of a Ukraine war staple among the separatists’ ‘security and military forces’ as ordered by the Tiraspol leadership earlier this year. 


On 20FEB24, the so-called Transnistrian state traffic inspectorate initiated a trial using FPV drones to monitor traffic violations on the Tiraspol-Bender road. 

DJI Mavic 3 Pro, one of DJI’s most expensive drones, used by the ‘state traffic inspectorate’

A DJI Mavic 3 Pro was employed in the trial, resulting in the identification and fining of seven drivers.

The end goal is to introduce FPV drones in everyday service with the inspectorate, which is part of the so-called ‘ministry of interior.’

While the use of FPV drones by the traffic inspectorate bears little to no military value, this may be an early sign that Transnistria is slowly adopting the Ukraine War staple into its capabilities. 


FPV drones, armed with grenades or other explosives, have become ubiquitous in Ukraine and are gaining increased popularity in conflicts worldwide, such as Sudan, Israel, and Gaza.

Ukrainian military and civil society pioneered the use of FPV drones as tactical strike weapons, useful in anti-personnel and anti-vehicle/equipment attacks. 

Ukrainian DJI Mavic 3 overflies a Russian soldier (POV) who attempts to shoot it down in Donetsk oblast (15FEB24; russia no context telegram channel)

In addition, FPV drones retain their more traditional role as intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) platforms, or for artillery fire correction. 

The Russians were quick to jump on the trend and leveraged their superior industrial capacity to outpace Ukraine in production. FPV drones for tactical battlefield use are now a tenet of Russian infantry.

Russian military advisors may be transferring the knowledge and experience gained in Ukraine to Transnistrian security and military forces. 

Training and equipping the so-called “Transnistrian armed forces” is one of the mission tasks of the Operational Group of Russian Forces (ORGF), Russia’s illegal occupation force in Moldova. 

Note that the Russian peacekeeping detachment of the Joint Peacekeeping Contingent held an unannounced live fire exercise in Dnister Valley Security Zone in DEC23. This incident involved the use of at least one ‘quadcopter,’ likely FPV drone, which was previously undocumented to be in the possession of the Military Command of the Peacekeeping Forces (MCPF) of the Russian Federation. 

Moldova condemned Russia’s snap exercise and use of undeclared capabilities as a violation of the peacekeeping protocol during the January Joint Control Commission (JCC). Moldova also expressed concern over Russia’s ability to smuggle new weapons into the Security Zone. 


In early JAN24, the so-called president of Transnistria, Vadim Krasnoselski, issued a new year directive for the ‘ministries of defense and interior’ to adopt unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) into service. 

While UAVs can be of a wide variety of types, FPV drones fit the Transnistrian requirements particularly well, especially given the region’s isolation, poor training, and lack of access to more advanced systems. 

We will continue to monitor the situation in Transnistria for further insights into training, tactics, and equipment, among others. 

It is key for the Moldovan National Army (MNA) to take note of such developments in Transnistria and adjust its training and procurement plans accordingly.

This article first appeared on Linkedin on 21FEB24