CHISINAU -- U.S. Senator John McCain has reiterated his support for the continued integration of Moldova and Ukraine into European structures during a visit on April 17 to the Moldovan capital, Chisinau.
In a speech to students at the Academy for Economic Studies, McCain, a former Republican presidential candidate, also expressed his support for a swift path for Georgia to become a member of NATO.
McCain and three other U.S. senators -- John Barrasso, John Hoeven, and Ron Johnson -- also held talks with Prime Minister Iurie Leanca and Foreign Minister Natalia Gherman, where they discussed energy security and how to attract U.S investment to Moldova.
McCain used his visit to again criticize Moscow's actions in Ukraine amid concerns of a possible Russian incursion across the country to occupy Moldova's breakaway region of Transdniester.
Pro-Russian Transdniester declared independence from Moldova in 1990, and the two sides fought a war in 1992. The region's independence has not been recognized by any country.
Russia still has some 1,400 troops in Transdniester.
On April 16, lawmakers in Transdniester urged Russian President Vladimir Putin, both chambers of the Russian parliament, as well as the UN and the OSCE to recognize the region's independence.
Speaking in Vilnius on April 16, McCain described the West's response to Russian actions in Ukraine as "almost laughable." He said a stronger stance is needed to keep the Kremlin in check.
With reporting by AFP