Corker: Ukrainian crisis a 'wake-up call'

Sen. Bob CorkerBob CorkerOvernight Defense: GOP chairman moves ahead with 0B defense bill | Lawmakers eye 355 ship navy | Senate panel seeks answers on shoot down of Syrian jet Overnight Cybersecurity: Trump tweetstorm on Russia probe | White House reportedly pushing to weaken sanctions bill | Podesta to testify before House Intel Overnight Finance: Big US banks pass Fed stress tests | Senate bill repeals most ObamaCare taxes | Senate expected to pass Russian sanctions bill for second time MORE (R-Tenn.) on Tuesday said Russia’s interference in Ukraine and Moldova should be a “wake-up call” to the United States.

After meeting with top government officials in Moldova, Corker called on the Obama administration to strengthen relations with both countries to try to stabilize the region. 

“What’s happening in Ukraine and Moldova is a wake-up call. Americans are beginning to understand we are paying the price for our disengagement from the region following the collapse of the Soviet Union,” Corker said in a statement. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s worst nightmare is to be affiliated with a country like Moldova, Corker said, which reduces corruption, promotes democracy and engages with the West. 

“Instead of a short-term response, the U.S. must have a long-term strategy to stabilize the region by strengthening relations with countries like Moldova and Ukraine,” Corker said. 

The senator is the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and has criticized President Obama for his lack of action since the crisis in Ukraine escalated last month. 

Corker is on a four-day trip to Moldova and Ukraine to assess the situation on the ground following Russia’s annexation of Crimea in March. 

His remarks come a day after the State Department said photographic evidence exists showing undercover Russian forces stationed in Ukraine.