Moldova's president says the former Soviet republic should cooperate closer with NATO to boost its security because it faces the threat of a military conflict with Russia.

President Nicolae Timofti said in a television interview Tuesday that he was concerned about what he called "threats to regional security generated by the Kremlin."

He was referring to a visit by three Russian lawmakers who openly supported a pro-Russian candidate in a semi-autonomous Moldovan region. He called on the country's foreign minister to ban Russian lawmakers from visiting Moldova except for official visits.

Timofti added that he regretted Moldova did not "get closer to NATO earlier."

Moldova joined NATO's Partnership for Peace program in 2006. Some Moldovan political parties favor greater cooperation with the military alliance.