Blinken Travels to Eastern Europe as Russia Presses War in Ukraine

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken plans to spend this week showing U.S. support for nations facing a hostile Russia in visits to Moldova and the Czech Republic, where he is scheduled to attend a meeting of NATO foreign ministers that will discuss how to bolster Ukraine.

Mr. Blinken, who made an overnight stop in Kyiv more than two weeks ago, is expected to fly into Chisinau, the capital of Moldova, on Wednesday and meet with Maia Sandu, the nation’s president, who is running for re-election. Ms. Sandu has advocated for Moldova to join the European Union, and she has scheduled a referendum vote on E.U. membership on the same day as the general election in October.

She is expected to run against a pro-Russia candidate, and U.S. and European analysts say Moscow is likely to try to interfere in the election, as it has in other votes in Europe. The Biden administration has spoken publicly of Russian agents carrying out such interference using a variety of means, from hacking to boosting campaigns over social networks to doling out money to favored politicians.

U.S. officials said Mr. Blinken would speak with Ms. Sandu and other top officials about potential threats to the country’s democratic processes, as well as efforts to wean the nation off electricity generated in the pro-Russia separatist region of Transnistria. Moldova recently ended its reliance on gas imports from Russia.

“I anticipate he’ll have a robust package of support for Moldova’s transition, both energy independence or less dependence on sources to the east but also on support for democracy against Russian threats,” James O’Brien, the assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian Affairs, said in a phone call with reporters on Friday.

Mr. Blinken plans to announce more details of American aid to address these issues during his visit, Mr. O’Brien said.

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