Corker: Ukrainian crisis a 'wake-up call'

Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerBannon: McConnell 'picking up his game' because of our 'insurgent movement' State Dept. spokeswoman acknowledges 'morale issue' The Hill's 12:30 Report 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.