Skip to main content

tv   Eastern European Ambassadors Testify on Russian Policies Toward Europe  CSPAN  March 8, 2017 7:36am-9:31am EST

7:36 am
>> yes, they have tons of money, but i do think those who make it to the very top and stay there are not primarily motivated by money. they want to have indian and status and want to be respect dead and want to have power. >> i think many see what is wrong with the system, but it's also one of the key questions i asked in a boat is do they hold
7:37 am
their fists and present are they prisoners of the system. is it their fault or is it the system's fault? in the end after analysis that come to the conclusion that the interaction of both. >> at a senate hearing from ambassadors from six european countries bordering russia talk about oppression for an policy and its interference in our domestic politics. senator lindsey graham chairs the senate appropriations subcommittee hearing. it is two hours. [inaudible conversations]
7:38 am
[inaudible conversations] >> the subcommittee will conduct a worker. i want to thank senator leahy for being such a good partner in this endeavor. our hearing today is on russia's policies and intentions towards specific european nations. one thing that we have in common with all of these countries is that young, struggling democracies and their friends in the united states. out of respect for your family,
7:39 am
i will not pronounce any of your names. i will try to get your country right and you have an opportunity when you speak to tell us who you are. anyway, we had the foreign minister from the ukraine, ambassador from poland, ambassador from georgia, and master from lafayette, ambassador from lithuania and ambassador from estonia. i've met most of you on my travels and i can't thank you enough for coming to this hearing today to share with the committee and with the american old west going on in your back yard because you live in a difficult neighborhood. i would like to welcome to the committee senators rubio and then holland hopefully we can do things together good for the country. don't make a short opening statement followed by senator leahy and we will have five minute rounds. again, to each of you can't thank you very much for coming. very briefly, everybody talks
7:40 am
about what happened in our election in 2016. let me tell you my views. the russians tried to interfere in our elections. i don't believe they changed the outcome, but it was the russians who had been to the democratic national committee. it was the russians who compromise podesta's e-mails. in my view the russians provided the information to which he leads in an effort to interfere with our election. it is my belief that we forgive and forget regarding our own election. we'll invite future aggression by other countries that the republican party and democratic parties should be one when it comes to foreign interference in attack on one party should be considered an attack on all. i want the subcommittee to lead the way in terms of uniting our trade starting with the sub committee that is pushing back against russia's interference and democracy at home and
7:41 am
abroad. the goal is to find out from these countries what it's like to live in the shadow of russia, what kind of interference they face in their daily lives and murder the offers, tools and the toolbox of russia to undermine democracy and for us to create a counter russia account. this committee has jurisdiction over foreign operations and i'd like to try to convince most americans it is in our interest of the money aside to help these emerging use because at the end of the day and democracy tend not to go to war. i want to make sure we can do whatever we can with reason. money is tight, but it would be a good investment to have a counter russia account put some money aside, maybe a cybersecurity assistance, and whatever it is that we can help you withstand this assault on your democracies by russia.
7:42 am
that is the goal, to understand what is going on in to do something about it and to each of you, thank you. if we can come together and produce a product, history will judge as well. senator leahy. the >> thank you, mr. speaker. glad you're on in this hearing. i went to mention this. always giving me a phonetic pronunciation, but i think the fact that we have representatives of estonia, lithuania, latvia, georgia, poland, ukraine, places that many of us have visited. i know you have. i know senator durbin has. we know the stakes involved is the second congressional hearing. since the beginning of his administration. i suspect we will have a lot more.
7:43 am
it is also the benefit of ensuring direct from the representatives of countries that experience russia's military aggression and economic and political interference for many years. we understand the interference you've had. we now count ourselves among those who are facing the same kind of interference. we learn the russian government interfered in our elections to its own interest. and the new president has said nothing about it. he has made no secret of his admiration for president putin while he and other white house officials have just urged the american news media if they have been critical, putin has called them the american news media, the enemy of the people.
7:44 am
not if the president of the united states. i feel we should have an independent investigation to russia's interference election. i know exactly what happens when we take appropriate action. but at the same time, i think we have to have hearings. chairman graham is called here. so the american public will know exactly what happened in other parts of the world and what we face. it is one thing when we see our leaders attacking american media. i happen to disagree with that. i disagree even more when not been a site about putin's ruthless campaign to silence his critics, especially the russian press. we've not heard any criticism from russia's invasion of
7:45 am
ukraine and the annexation of crimea, russia's occupation of georgian territory the atrocities committed by russian forces in the area and support the assad regime and democracy across europe. i think i want you to now, not everybody in this country is praising vladimir putin. i don't. the chairman doesn't. i think supporting independent by friends and allies when they are under threat or attack is in the united states national interests. i will continue to work with senator graham. i want to ensure u.s. assistance is made available for partners in eastern europe and part of the former soviet union. it's not because of the confrontation with russia here it is because we recognize the
7:46 am
important for ensuring that our partners can maintain their sovereignty for their people. i agree with the president saying we should have a constructive relationship with russia rather than adversarial one. yes, it is possible. but we cannot ignore the significant of the russian government malignant activities for our partners if we want to protect their own national interests. that's what we have to do worse. then we can talk about what we call diplomatic from there. thank you for having me. this is a very important line of the witnesses. i thank you all for taking the time. >> we will start with the foreign minister of ukraine whose name is? >> chairman graham, ranking members of the subcommittee,
7:47 am
thank you are giving me this opportunity to testify before you today. here with fred and friends of the subcommittee. in 1994 he was a young pit or not. while working on budapest, and i have heard the question at the start of minutes to ensure security of ukraine. still, i have a say he was beyond my imagination that in 20 years, one territorial integrity, the u.n. security council member, and occupied, why did it have been?
7:48 am
here's the key to understanding the root cause of russian politics of intention here in the european countries, particularly for putin the collect of the soviet union was the greatest catastrophe of the 20th century. from the very beginning, in he was obsessed with restoring the russian granted. of course it could be done in two ways. one way is to build strong democratic state with the rule of law and competitive market economy, honoring the international principle in order. but it was the russian choice. and dad, they resulted to the aggressive expansionism and gross violations of international law. breaking the u.n. chapter and undermining control and possibly violating the treaty's, the
7:49 am
energy pressure is a contradiction to the principles and of course violating the human rights. kremlin has developed that can't but a private warfare and launching the legal annexation. it's a highly sophisticated strategy which mixes conventional aggression with economy and economic pressure with propaganda and misinformation as well as direct interference in internal affairs of other countries. countries to undermine, disrupt and so defend. across the globe -- [inaudible] and choose not to promote any particular narrative, but to undermine that.
7:50 am
in real terms, the war against ukraine translates into a shocking number of russian weaponry and choose the occupied it's now about 4200 regular and up to 40,000 military and. more than 40800 armored vehicles. it's up to a thousand artillery systems and over 200 multiple rocket launchers. the troops in the occupied, just a few years ago, the russian agent is the international curb these completely ridiculous statement that the russian military and all built weaponry in the old coal mines just
7:51 am
today, the kremlin's war against my country is better than occupied almost 10,000 of my fellow ukrainians to losing their life and 23,000 hot and insured. just in the last six weeks, the russians launched to begin our troops and civilian population. russia has recognized the documents issued a legal entities and about the completed the introduction of the russian ruble is the currency in the occupied territory. furthermore, russia has also
7:52 am
ordered the key enterprises in the occupied territory. all of this is a clear breach of each and every disagreement. the other reliable way to negotiate with russia is from a position of strength and international solidarity. and in your agreement should be made with russia until such times as we had delivered on their commitment. so all of you for the normal support with which the united states has given to ukraine, in particular signals through the administration guess great hope that the united states will continue and increase. as discontinued the board is not just in the interest of ukraine, it is in the interest of the united states and the freedom
7:53 am
and stability. so i'm asking this up to many or explicit support in a number of areas. defensive weapons supplied by the u.s. and technical support would make a powerful statement and improve significantly ukraine's ability to defend its territory against the russian allies. the battalion of the brigade trained by the u.s. was the units prepared by the u.s. instructed appeared to be very effect it on the front line and that is why we believe it is very important and should be continued. so i would like to ask you to support the appropriation for
7:54 am
the security in the maa 2017 and please part the u.s. fiscal year 2017 budget and of course afghan in 2018 budget. ukraine also needs a long-term security arrangement for partnership for defense and security. the united states will be key should any such arrangement brought. of course we need your support and relaunching the budapest and memorandum. the united states should play a cure-all in the negotiation in crimea. and finally, russia gets off the ukrainian mines there must be no intersection if anything they
7:55 am
should be increased. ukraine is on the front line and the only country in ukraine does not seem to support six-point x% of our gdp and defense. at the same time, it's obvious we need the u.s. with ukraine people. a strong, stable and democratic ukraine people to defend against russia next inch and is said at a crucial ally for the united states in regional and globally. >> thank you very much. if you could please keep your statements to five minutes for questions where you can tell if anything undermines. time is that the essence in the senate. thank you very much.
7:56 am
mr. ambassador. >> mr. chairman, members of the subcommittee, thank you for inviting me to testify before the senate subcommittee. it is an honor to be here and i'm pleased to be able to provide the view of poland's government on russia's policy in europe and a challenging origination from it. the kremlin has achieve strategic object to and restore the superpowers that if lost after the fall of communism. the way to achieve this goal seems straightforward ordering the architecture in europe, thus impeding post-soviet countries from integrating with the euro atlantic community is. first, the current situation of pursuing a foreign policy that is, most go largely to the intimidation and trying to impose on other countries and autocratic and oligarchic form of government. russia invaded georgia, bordeaux
7:57 am
well, muddled in the conflict and violated international law by enacting crimea. finally, the kremlin masterminded and keeps you in the can't take in eastern ukraine. although moscow signed the cease-fire agreement that one in minsk to come it does not withdraw from the region what is the point of departure to achieve a political solution. even worse, during the last weeks, we have seen increasing military clashes. second, russia is a growing military threat. president putin embarked russia on a modernization of its armed forces. the introduction of new types of equipment was coupled with the reform of the military.dream. threshold for the usage of nuclear weapons have been lowered. bordering poland and lithuania became the most militarized region in europe.
7:58 am
russia exclaimed the anti-areas of capabilities, this bubble teams that limiting nato's freedom of maneuver and action on allied territory. it covers in areas spanning from northeastern poland to the baltic states. moreover, it is equipped with his sons, nuclear-capable missiles a bullet hitting targets in estonia, poland and even eastern parts of germany. mostly conduct large-scale exercises without the vinaigrette is in areas. we also have served an unprecedented number of military incident provoked by russia. at the most of my main issue is russia's ability to take prompt and type actions. we saw that in crimea. third, the hybrid i mention the challenges by russia's goes beyond the conventional military
7:59 am
round. we see them in the cyberinformational and energy domains. russia deliberately employs hybrid means to act below the threshold of a military conflict. moscow often asked by exploiting national vulnerabilities and sensitivities. this might involve actions in the cyberdomain, frequently backed by a fierce propaganda after. ukraine is the case in point. while countries in central europe tried to diversify their import route, russia promotes the pipeline created the divisions among e.u. members dates. should this project go ahead, russia could affect the really sad the diversification effort of the whole region, increased gas supply from russia would inevitably affect the economic viability of lng projects and central and eastern europe.
8:00 am
fourth, i respond, two words, uncertainty and insecurity, best described the current security situation we operate in. such conditions and challenges call for an adequate and other. .. allied troops on eastern flank of the alliance should have a long-term character. poland is very grateful for
8:01 am
those actions that it will be impossible to achieve the warsaw some decisions without american leadership. in this context i would also like to thank you for deployment of your troops to our region under the nato flag. a long-term american commitment to the efp is absolutely essential. i would like to add that the presence of american soldiers in poland as part of an operation atlantic resolve is of equal and paramount importance. further, congressional support for the european relations initiative would be greatly appreciated. mr. chairman, distinguished members of the subcommittee, a burden sharing among allies is a must. poland beats the 2% defense spending targets along nato guidelines. more than 20%% of our 2017 mr. budgett will be spent on military equipment. our soldiers serving missions in afghanistan and kosovo.
8:02 am
poland contributes to collective defense. a polish tank company has been deployed to latvia under the framework of the efp. our vessel commands spending nato maritime group operating on the aegean sea. poland have always been ready to deal with terrorist threats. polish and american soldiers were brothers in arms during the missions in iraq and afghanistan. altogether, more than 30,000 polish troops took part in both operations. nowadays poland is an active member of the global coalition against daesh. moreover, efforts efforts go beyond the military domain. last year saw the opening of an import lng terminal in poland. it could become a gateway for us-made lng destine for clients in central europe. delivering gas supplies to ukraine via poland would send a powerful political message while
8:03 am
providing business opportunities for american firms. moscow orchestrated the conflict in ukraine, and moscow has all the means to end it. moscow signed cease-fire agreements minsk élan and minsk to but does not respect the provisions. moreover, russia decided to recognize the documents produced by the so-called donbos republics. to sum up, taking into account russia's actions we see no grounds to ease the sanctions or to change our policy vis-à-vis moscow. congressional support for maintaining trans-atlantic unity and solidarity on this issue is indispensable. a couple of weeks ago general mattis sat at the nato headquarters that europe and north america need to work together stronger than ever in times of turmoil and
8:04 am
unpredictability. i firmly believe that the political and military engagement of the u.s. is necessary for preserving peace and stability in europe. let me stress that we remain open to dialogue with russia. however, such dialogue needs to be conditional on russia changing its current policies and its stance towards international law. thank you again for the opportunity to testify today, and i look forward to taking your questions spin thank you. and to those who stuck to five minutes, your chance of assistance goes up. [laughter] thank you very much. ambassador from georgia. >> mr. chairman, ladies and gentlemen, i'm here today to remind you that before ukraine georgia was embedded in 2008 and 20% of our country remains under russian occupation, despite ongoing russian aggression with the support of the united states, georgia has made a tremendous strides in strengthening democratic institutions fostering economy
8:05 am
development to solidify and irreversible path -- solidify and irreversible path towards integration. i'm also here to tell you that we need a stronger america in georgia and the region. the conflict which started in early '90s reached its peak in 2008 with the russian invasion of georgia and occupation of our territories. as the international community failed to effectively respond to early warning signs, russia continued its occupation without, with up to 10,000 russian military security and border guard personnel. the russian occupation forces have no legal mandate and are in stark violation of international law. in august 12, 2008, cease-fire agreement. in 2009 russia began installing razor wire fences and other obstacles along the occupation line. the total length of the trenches
8:06 am
across both occupational lines is more than 62 miles. we greatly appreciate the interest of congress and its both bodies and its representatives who are frequently visiting the occupational life. in for the violation of cease-fire agreement, moscow sent so-called treaty with occupation regimes. these document recommend a step towards annexation of george's occupied regions, as they provide foundation for full integration into social, economic, administrative, and most importantly military and security institutions of the russian federation. georgia is pursuing an engagement and reconciliation process with the people in the occupied territories. we make all benefits which are available for georgia citizens also accessible for our compatriots residing on the other side of the occupation line. free health care, education, cultural, scientific or grand scheme of the of georgia such as
8:07 am
liberalization. since regained its independence to undermine georgian sovereignty and territorial integrity, russia has been subject -- georgia been subject to different forms of unconventional human waterpik russian propaganda in georgia in addition to economic embargo 2006 energy cuts, the cyber attacks in 2008 seems to challenge and derail the integration. it builds on fears that exist in different societies, creating myths and communicating through different forms of media. a recent example is the spreading false information that well-deserved visa free travel decision for georgia citizens to europe came at the expense of building refugee camps in georgia. the georgian government has been effective in the strategic communication efforts through coordinated approach come dismantling myths but also countering anti-western narratives by bringing tangible
8:08 am
results to the georgia citizens like free trade agreement, association agreement with your, visa liberalization. as a result we have managed to maintain strong support to our george's eu and nato aspiration within 70-75%. overall, despite russia's vicious efforts for a small nation, georgia makes an outsized contribution and international security efforts. locating more than 2% of our gdp for defenseman things. we are a committed partner in fight against terrorists, and we are one of the largest contributors to the resolute support mission in afghanistan. with one of the highest number of 870 serviceman. georgian soldiers are probably standing shoulder to shoulder with allies in the most dangerous part of the world. in recent years we have made progress in building strong and effective state institutions. ensuring democracy, human rights and rule of law, because we
8:09 am
believe our political and economic progress will ultimately serve as a potent antidote to russia's expansionist design. for the last decade, georgia is the most reliable and democratic ally of the u.s. in a very tough region, has been a great example of american taxpayers money wisely spent. therefore, want to invite the members and the step of this committee to visit and see firsthand the transformation of our of u.s. assistance. last year we have signed a memorandum on deepening of security and defense partnership between our two nations. we successfully launched georgia defensive readiness program. further improvement of this program and elevation of our security partnership is of vital importance as we believe. george remains an essential part of euro atlantic security architecture. when the cold war ended and the soviet union dissolved, united states and its allies sought to
8:10 am
build your cold, free, and appease. today one of the basic foundations of security and peace respect for national borders is violated, new transatlantic leadership is needed to fortify and enlarge the alliance. we believe a comprehensive long-term engagement strategy of new administration will include the strengthening of george's territorial integrity and sovereignty, per the bilateral trade, economic, investment relationship and supporting the democratic choice of georgian people to integrate with your atlantic institutions. all these measures will make georgia stronger and more resilient. that is important because stronger georgia is in the united states enters as much as stronger america is in george's interest. thank you. >> ambassador from latvia. >> chairman graham, ranking member leahy, members of committee, thank you very much for inviting me to speak before
8:11 am
this very honorable committee. lobby and u.s. have essentially long history of truly friendly relations and very close partnership. due to this partnership, latvia has safeguarded its independence that this partnership has facilitated lobbyist integration back into euro atlantic committee. we have to admit today that the world has become less secure and less stable of the past decade, instilled on barriers and geography of the threats. to continuous global leadership is extremely important. to safeguard and international rules-based order, strong sense -- is best answer for today's security risks since 2003, latvia and the troops to shoulder stood with u.s. in fight against terrorism and iraq
8:12 am
and afghanistan and both are great sacrifices and latvia remains committed to fighting terrorism within the global coalition against isil. we can do more. we are ready to do more. in 2017 we will consider additional contribution to fight against terrorism at home with financial assistance. threats around us, threats in the region become more complex and harder to identify, quantify and pinpoint. russia's actions with its neighbors show a disturbing and worsening trend that we have to reckon with. what happened in ukraine, russia systematic military buildup as well as intensive military maneuvers is a proximity of nato borders -- in 2017, this year,
8:13 am
they have caused significant deterioration in european strategic security and vibrant, and our challenge of european international security order. this has direct impact on national security of latvia, europe and nato. to respond, we need a strong nato as a source of stability and reliability. we need a prosperous and a resilient european union. we need effective policy capable to solving not freezing complex. thanks to historical decision of the nato summit on the deployment of four multinational battle groups to atlantic eastern flank, including canadian led enhanced forward presence battle group in latvia, we are more secured. and reassured. this is very practical expression of solidarity from our allies and strong deterrent
8:14 am
signal to russia. security in our region is -- thanks to congress support for the use european reassurance initiative, the atlantic resolve mission and the fallen military financing program for which we are very grateful. taking into account the challenges to our region are of long-term nature. we're looking forward to continuation of european reassurance initiative and the funding level of the $3.4 billion higher likewise, we have the current military financing funding will be maintained or enhanced. continuing u.s. commitment to nato is essential to preserve irreversibility of these decisions. latvia highly appreciates a very clear and resolute statement by u.s. defense secretary james mattis at the nato ministerial in brussels last month, thus reconfirming the u.s. strong support to our alliance.
8:15 am
that meeting at the presidents of the baltic states and the vice president of u.s. in munich in the february reassured us even further in this respect. but we are also stepping up. latvia is among the best examples when it comes to raising a nations own defense capabilities. in case of military aggression, our own forces will be the first responders. we are dependable. we are well aware the challenge, we are well aware of the challenge, therefore, lobby has spent the past two years boosting its military capacity and improving its coordination. currently, we're spending 1.7%, and next year only a few months ago, we will spend 2% of gdp for our defense. since joining nato, before
8:16 am
latvia had been an early recipient but also provide a security. in proportion to our population of 2 million, we count among the top contributors in missions afghanistan, iraq, mali, central africa, republic or somalia. europe and u.s. should join the efforts to help ukraine, georgia and moldova counter threat of nature tha that of the mix of various elements including information warfare. latvia has been active in providing the support to the eastern partners to counter propaganda strengthen independent media. i would like to mention two examples of a very practical approach in support. first, media excellence. recently completed a study on skills and training needs to independent media in the eastern partnership countries.
8:17 am
certainly latvia is interest in the success of the creative content support fund that is being established with support of european endowment for democracy and the british government. this fund will strengthen the capacity of independent media to offer russian language audiences a strong alternative to kremlin controlled media. we encourage at the u.s. consider supporting this important initiative. during the pivotal times of history, the alliance has always proven to be effective, credible and united. solidarity here is a key word. believe the spirit of solidarity will bring us to your wise future decisions. thank you very much. >> thank you, ambassador. the ambassador from lithuania. >> chairman graham, ranking member leahy, member of the subcommittees. thank you for the opportunity to
8:18 am
appear before you today to present our assessment of the threat russia policies pose to our democracy to explain what lithuania stood to counter those threats and to explore the possibility of cooperation between lithuania and u.s. first of all let me name the threats we face. russia has never stopped using its political, economical propaganda and other open and undercover tools to make are more -- democratic country more vulnerable. the attack on georgia, the illegal annexation on crimea and the war in eastern ukraine are being perceived by lithuania as having considerable implications to its own national security. russia's increasing its military capabilities on the border. the most militarized zone in europe. large-scale military exercise of offensive nature on our borders of developers are taking place. russian extremely active in information field using pro-russian beauty, tropicana, disinformation, take news and links in order to confuse public
8:19 am
opinion and to influence the decision-making. russia's international media challenges spread its views on this information on the insensitive topics such as immigration, terrorism, ethnic relations, deployment of nato troops in central asia and europe. in my written testimony will find various examples of russian separations against lithuania. another security threat is its nuclear plans which is the construction and belarus because of safety has a potential to become a second chernobyl. how we fight back these threats? in 2018 lithuania will be spent over 2 2% of gdp on defense and plan to go beyond this benchmark in the future. we are modernizing our military by spending 31% of the budget for new weapon systems. the lng terminal independence was one of the best investments into our security. as its name suggests, it ensures the independence of energy supplies and the price structure one of its manipulation tools. it is also open baltic market for the potential lng deliveries
8:20 am
from the united states. using this opportunity, allow me to thank you for your personal and united states support to our security. we greatly appreciate this thinking of the us military presence in europe and its interpretation of european deterrence initiative. we believe the best adherence, therefore, the only way to achieve regional stability is to place u.s. and nato troops in the baltic states on a permanent basis. it is necessary to have forces and military plans adequate for the terrorist. when it comes to practical areas of the operation, lithuania and united states has been engaged in close dialogue and are part, and on our part we are ready to move forward with more precise projects and timelines. we've identified financial resources on both sides. the projects can put establishment on both defense capabilities -- procurement,, historical capacities among others. while being attention just
8:21 am
defense issues, hybrid threats of the civic to counter threats posed by this information with when you launch identification project. to monitor and analyze information environment and preclude possible infinite actions. the possibility to access some of these services and tools would make the system more efficient. currently, radio free europe, radio liberty is broadcasting almost 10 hours a day in russian and belarusian languages. we see the need to increase the radio and improve the signal quality for listeners and russia, belarus, ukraine and we should aim at raising transmission power and extend the program in 24 hours. we should also work together and creating a positive narrative about western societies radio and tv programs seeing and region. there is great need to tell the true facts of history to the societies influenced by russian propaganda. finally, we need to strengthen border security.
8:22 am
with the us army support with lithuania we will be launching new so-called race system project. we plan to build a situation where the sender it that would integrate border pictures biggest experience and assistance in this area would be greatly appreciated. once again, thank you for this opportunity to tell you our part of the story today. we much value our strategic partnership with u.s. and will continue to be a reliable ally willing and hoping to work with u.s. congress and u.s. administration very closely. thank you and i'm pleased to be on the mark first. >> thank you. that's a model for the rest of us right there. you know that lithuania is doing well. spirit get out the checkbook. >> thank you your eye and ambassador of estonia. chairman graham, ranking member leahy, members of the committee, thank you for the invitation to testify before the united state senate sub appropriations subcommittee and related
8:23 am
programs. it's an honor to be here. first, let me emphasize how important the united states steadfast support for the freedom and independence of estonia has been. our membership and euro atlantic institution is the cornerstone of our prosperity and security, and we are mindful of the role the u.s. has played in supporting and assisting us. estonia would like nothing more than to have good relations with democratic russia, including prospers trade in everyday relations at all levels of society. but shared commitment to the court does democracy can human rights and the rule of law are indispensable pillars for good neighborly relations. we shouldn't be guided by wishful thinking but m by real facts. examples of russian maligned activities in europe to name but a few include the russia-georgia war annexation of crimea, the war in eastern ukraine,, provocative activities by the russian military and in her parents in western democratic processes. including elections. we have learned that inadequate
8:24 am
responses to such behavior can only feed through discussions. i would like to stress that russians ambitions and activities are not only conservative nato eastern flank or countries represented at this hearing, but are influencing all of our allies in the west. therefore, it is essential not to regionalized the russian threat to eastern european countries but to clearly recognize that the threat of russian subversive methods have expanded far beyond the eastern flank and europe including to the united states. we as neighbors to russia are just a bit more used to witnessing such behavior. upcoming elections in the netherlands, france and germany are perfect theater for the russian disinformation warriors. the goal of russia's influence and activities is to great tension and so confusion between european union member states and within individual states. by doing so the kremlin hopes to
8:25 am
influence decision-making process and steer the narrative and outcomes towards its own interests. the illegal annexation of crimea in march 2014 succeeded largely because of a successful information war that led russia to avoid a direct military confrontation. it can be expected russia would use this tactic extensive manipulation of information to support its military goals in order to achieve strategic advantage in the future as well. this forces the adversary to verify the facts from the stealing its response. the unity of the west joint action and the decision to stay the course towards russia has been the strongest message in response to russian actions '04. to be critical when you do stand by our values and be consistent in our policies. we need to take into account russia sees itself being in a confrontational era with the west for a long time. we the west need to render subversive actions in a systematic and coordinated way
8:26 am
within the european union and nato. but also in corporation these two organizations. this should be done a very practical terms. we need to share more intelligence on russian subversive methods to decode the russian hybrid method playbook. we need to raise awareness of the decision makers and the public at large in order to limit the ability to abuse the open nature of our societies. we can do by exposing or countering russia's maligned tactics such as covert support to political parties and politicians, seemingly innocent ngos or economic leverage gained through murky business connections. also regulation and anticorruption measures can and should be strengthened. the kremlin makes extensive use of russian and foreign language media outlets as well as accomplish fake social media accounts. constant redirectio direction ta is not enough and can sometimes even be counter effective.
8:27 am
the quality of strategic communication capabilities in the formation of ou of her own messages needs to be improved. the effect of this information can be diminished by enhancing critical reading skills within intended audiences. the best medicine against disinformation is an open and free, high-quality and pluralistic media environment offering a variety of voices and opinions. i firmly believe this subcommittee plays an important role in effective positive change in areas i'v i described about. funding for initiative, the state department, usip, the broadcast, the national endowment for democracy to mention but a few can all contribute to capability and resided in europe in order to counter the changes russia is trying to achieve. thank you again for the opportunity to provide you with my thoughts and i'm ready for, i am ready, look for answering your questions. thank you spin thank you all for coming and forming the
8:28 am
subcommittee of what you face and sort up rate of portables what comes to russia. lithuania, there was a recent deployment of german soldiers to lithuania to help train lithuania military i've been informed that as soon as a soldiers from germany arrived there was an allegation that one of the german soldiers had raped a lithuanian woman. are you familiar with that? >> yes. >> you may have broken them all, i don't know. >> is it on? yes, it didn't take long, senator. because right after german troops, because of the decisions taken in warsaw for deployment and german troops are leading the battalion in lithuania, it's almost like the second day or the next day after their
8:29 am
arrival, there was news spread that a teenage girl is raped by allegedly a german troop. and the subsequent nonsense. it was fake news. it was cooked and it was denied right away. but, of course, as you know the fake news, they are probably not all people aware listening to the denouncement of this that it is not true. >> did it come from a russian outlet, the news? >> yes, sir. that's what we suspect that it's always difficult to get, when it comes up first, but that's what we suspect because that id is very clear. nato troops in lithuania are bad. >> have you experienced an uptick of russian involvement since president obama drew the red line in syria against assad and nothing happened? or has been the same for the whole time? do you know what i'm talking about? to that effect russia's involvement at all or is it all about the same?
8:30 am
>> well, i wouldn't say that hasn't been some significant changes, but we are experiencing russian hybrid warfare already 35 years, and maybe we have become a little more resilient, but certainly it has never stopped. certain narratives are not changing and certain methods are still being used, and in this sense, very much has been disclosed by journalists itself how are the methods, how tall he is doing, where fake facts are emerging, i wouldn't say that the intensity has changed in the course of last year, but it hasn't diminished as well. >> is it then constant, russia's interference in your countries, has it been constant? is it on the rise? >> yes, chairman. it has been constant, as latvian
8:31 am
call et cetera w we've experiend this for the last 25 years. i think what really open our eyes was 2007 cyber attacks against estonia. that was politically motivated, and even today cyber remains one of the most important sort of areas. and we really need to put more emphasis on this issue as well, both bilaterally but also nato. >> what do you think the consequences would be if our country for dave and forgot -- for dave -- what kind of effect you think that would have on russia? ambassador from ukraine. >> foreign minister. >> russia has developed a very
8:32 am
systemic way on how to use all kind of unconventional welfare -- warfare -- >> my question is what we did that be if the united states did not act regarding the interference in our election? would it embolden russia? >> there should be clear way how do react on the russian interference, otherwise the russians are always good in exploiting weaknesses speared the ambassador from poland, do you agree with that? >> i mean, it's difficult for me to make comments on what americans should you or should not, or what would happen if americans didn't do something. but i think that's been investigation in such cases are essential in all countries, and it cannot be covered. just should be investigated, every case.
8:33 am
>> to continue what my colleague from poland just said, as i mentioned in our remarks, as we think that international response on invasion and occupation of georgia was insufficient, that might have led to the further migration of russian consideration towards ukraine, etc. i think international response is generally necessary in the violation of the international norms. >> thank you. you have a chance to tell the subcommittee specifically what would you do to help you regarding russia on the soft power side. senator leahy. >> thank you. this has been very instructive. mr. clinton, -- mr. klimkin, in
8:34 am
2014 after after russia's annexation of crimea, the united states has supported ukrainian government against pro-russian separatists. during the past campaign, mr. trump said during the campaign he might withdraw u.s. support possibly as a deal with vladimir putin. and said he would also look into russia into recognizing and approving of russia's annexation of crimea. have you or any other senior ukrainian officials met with president trump or secretary tillerson to discuss the policy towards ukraine? >> i have just met with the
8:35 am
secretary tillerson a couple of hours ago, and it was a very strong message of support for ukraine and any kind of trade-off are not possible. and our president had formed conversation with president trump. and it was the same message. >> did he say anything about crimea? >> no compromise about crimea. and crimea is the issue about troops and international role. >> how important is our aid to ukraine? >> the u.s. support and u.s. assistance, both security-related assistance and reformulated assistance, was and is fundamental for ukraine. in the sense of our ability to counter the russian aggression and in the sense of us creating
8:36 am
democratic and european ukraine. >> thank you. ambassador, your country, country of poland is uniquely positioned, unfortunately over the years you've always been uniquely positioned geographically between, copy twin russia and ukraine. that also has broader eu and nato interests. now, russia's deployment and nuclear capable missiles to leningrad i assume that creates significant challenges for you, am i correct on that? >> as i have just said, the deployment of these missiles to kaliningrad is very essential for our security, is a kind of, i think was a kind of
8:37 am
breakthrough moment. because it strengthens this feeling of insecurity and uncertainty. and if not only about poland, it's about flexibility of nato in this region and it's about also about the baltic countries and other countries. so this area, this call leningrad region is especially sensitive area. and as i said the most militarized area in the whole of europe, i think. >> are you getting, do you get support from nato? do you feel that nato support is strong? >> yesyes. we feel enormous support both from nato and bilaterally from the united states. so i think the whole project of deployment and deterrence
8:38 am
implement it right now, and we understand still support is fully by the united states is essential for our security and very important. >> i look at all the areas, the baltic areas, latvia, lithuania, estonia and so on. do you feel any grade or less concern about a russian invasion since the elections here in the united states? does anybody want to start with that? >> well, i think we are concerned since, well, since 201414 are even before, since
8:39 am
2008, since georgia or ukraine, we are concerned because we see the international rules-based order is being challenged. that's a concern for the whole of europe. it's a concern for the whole of nato. and here we are considering that the most important principle is indivisibility of nato territory. and it doesn't matter which part of nato can be challenged. it's the challenge for the whole of nato. and in this sense, assurances of nato, the presence of nato battalions, international battalions on baltic soil, and reassurance given by u.s. in particular, that gives a strong sense of, strong response to anybody wants to challenge nato as the strongest military organization. and that's only a response we
8:40 am
can expect from nato, and that's the response that is understandable for everybody and that gives us, as small nations, a good sense of assurance about our security and safety and stability for the future. >> i take it you all, does anybody disagree with that? do you all agree with the ambassador? >> if i may add, senator, i think what we've seen in the past two and half years, to nato summits, wales in 2014 and warsaw last year, have made very important decisions. and it is important to implement those decisions, and we don't see any change in direction in that sense. this is my answer to a question, if there is change of direction after elections in the united states, no, we don't see that happening. thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> senator moran. >> chairman, thank you very
8:41 am
much. minister, ambassadors, thank you for joining disparate as we make decisions about spending money, taxpayer dollars of american taxpayers, what would you highlight for me as the priority we should have any financial aid that we provide your countries? is there a consensus? i'm happy to have one or a few of you respond to that if there's consensus in what's the highest priority. >> well, if i may, operably the programs that are been already mentioned today that says european deterrence initiative that has already started and financing is assured partly. we helped very much that this program would be financed fully, and maybe even higher. as well, foreign military financing received by baltic states is a very crucial point
8:42 am
of improving our resilience, our capabilities, and third, i would mention is our programs devoted to counter hybrid warfare. these programs can be in different shapes, whether it's strengthening of free media, independent media, or countering the propaganda or countering hybrid attacks. all of these programs are doing very relevant work to increase resilience. >> does anyone wish to add or detract, subtract? miniature? >> in the case of ukraine it is probably a bit different one, but in our case it is definitely about upgrading ukraine defense and security sector to defense. it's about training. it's a two-way road because we
8:43 am
understand now the sense of hybrid warfare and unconventional warfare. so it's about exchange, would also about supply, especially defense weapon supplies. let me ask you if you have other thoughts if you get that to the committee i would ask a couple more questions. so if your private edge and would appreciate it. there are some eu members that are chafing at the continued imposition of sanctions against russia. in your estimation what's then, what do we need to do to keep eu unified in its support for the sanctions, and how significant is it that the united states continued sanctions in that effort? >> senator, as long as we keep to the principle of minsk agreements, there will be unity. and on both sides of the atlantic in european union and
8:44 am
the united states. this is a very clear message we should send to russia, that minsk is the basic fundamental agree with that has to be fulfilled by all parties. and as long as this is done, as long as this is not done, the sanctions should continue. >> if i may, center, i would add that as long as u.s. is strong on sanctions and we understand that is the strongest we have in our toolbox, so that will unite europe also. >> u.s. leadership, if i can paraphrase communis leadership matters in this regard. thank you. >> let me ask a question about energy. there's a rand corporation study indicates a story, latvia and lithuania and poland are among the eu members most vulnerable to a problem with energy if
8:45 am
russia would take certain actions. yet there is a 2014 european commission study that says that there are cooperative measures among the eu that could significantly reduce the impact of any short-term cut off supplies of energy. are those measures in place, the things that are thought they could reduce the implications of an energy cutoff? does the eu takes deafness or to mitigate the damage? >> i would say that building lng terminal, building, and poland will change the situation quite substantially, especially we do believe now we ar where strengtg our inter-linkages between latvia, lithuania and estonia. so we are able to get gas from anywhere, including our lng from united states. what i do expect to see in the future. so it's no longer possible for russia to blackmail us on the
8:46 am
gas. on electricity, still have one big project to come, synchronization with a western european grid which is important. it's quite educated progress. it will take time to develop but that's the last straw and our independence. so that will make baltic states clearly independent, self-sufficient in this regard. i do believe for the other countries it could be different. >> georgia and poland? >> take you very much, and maybe combine it with your first question, with regards to provide of alternative, diversified roots for the energy supplies for europe, which is not dependent on russia. we now have two pipelines. the third one is under construction, and the importance of strengthening georgia stability is one of the alternative routes and pathways to supplying the alternative energy sources for the european
8:47 am
is critical and, therefore, one of the main attentions of united states we expect in the energy sector. >> thank you. [inaudible] spirit as far as cooperation is concerned, i believe that we believe in poland that it should be based on mutual benefits. so should be beneficial for those countries will cooperate like the united states and countries of central europe. so this lng, lng terminal and poland mentioned by my colleague is a very important part of this diversification. there's also a project which is in progress of the baltic pipeline with denmark and norway. and, of course, there is a very important issue of north stream forced by russia. and this is, you, a project which divides european union partners.
8:48 am
because of course now it's suspended for some time but this is actually interesting that as far as energy is concerned, the european union should also the energy union. this is an idea very much, you know, i much advertise by poland that the european union, if it's not an energy, there is no union. so we really think about diversification and cooperation with the united states, especially as far as lng is concerned is very important for central europe. >> senator coons. >> thank you, mr. chairman. in fact come up what you specifically thank you, chairman graham as well as ranking member leahy for convening this hearing and for assembling these important ambassadors and foreign minister from vital european allies of hours, and focusing us in a bipartisan way on how we can confront russian aggression together.
8:49 am
and i'm encouraged by her call that we create a counter russian account specifically to strengthen our allied and partnered democracy. this week is a 150th anniversary of the creation of this committee in the united states senate. something that i showed i think the wisdom of the founders in recognizing that having a strong hand for the senate in the shaping of our investment overseas was something that has enduring relevance. i joined my colleague on the subcommittee, senator rubio of florida last week, and a bypass a speech on the floor of congress about the importance of countering russian aggression. we reviewed many of the issues that were raised by the witnesses today based on trips that each of us have taken to your various countries, to hear from you directly about hybrid warfare, about the illegal and inappropriate patient and annexation of crimea and ongoing conflict in eastern ukraine, about the importance of our standing in solidarity with our allies in pollen and the baltic states. the real challenges georgia
8:50 am
state since it was the first of you to be illegally invaded and that's something that's territory occupied in an ongoing disruptive way. i just want to mention two bills in the senate that unguarded bipartisan support for those who have any concern about the absence of bipartisanship here. the counteracting russian hostilities act as 10 republicans and 10 democrats cosponsoring a bill would make russia pay the price for its illegal annexation of crimea, for the ongoing violence in eastern ukraine, for the support of assad murders regime and a meddling in our election less over. the russian review act would make certain congress has to wait in before sanctions against russia could be weighed. i'm proud of ethical spot as are many on this subcommittee of these bills. we continue to believe that the transatlantic alliance is essential to force, for stability in the world, to making the world order we work together to go over the last
8:51 am
seven decades. let me ask a few questions if i might. there's been a rumor proposal by the administration to cut by as much as 37% our state department and usaid, which are center for the funding of many of the programs that we've been talking about. what would the absence of american leadership in this area mean for your countries? would you feel safer in the face of an aggressive russia if we were to cut back on programs we just discussed like radio free europe, radio liberty, programs that support your resilience both in terms of your governance and democracy, institutions and a chunk of our sustainment of some of the development initiatives? went in if you care to speak to that question? please, mr. ambassador. >> i think this just is rhetorical question. we will not feel safer when the budget for such projects will be essentially cut. so we hope that it's just kind of deliberation, kind of
8:52 am
tweeting, not really a decision. because this sounds very dangerous, but we hope that it can still be changed, and people who think this way the change their minds. because american leadership in this region is essential, and you know this very well, that there is a great support for american leadership in this part of europe. maybe more than in other parts of europe. we really rely as countries of the region on firm american leadership and support. >> i heard in several visits by my colleagues and i visit i took last august about the importance of our strengthening our investment in countering russia today, sputnik and other propaganda outlets you reference, mr. ambassador, the broadcasting from lithuania, excuse me, from latvia, both for
8:53 am
voice of america, radio free america and radio liberty. my vision is also good, that's a very tiny print. tell me a russian propaganda are affecting your country and how we might strengthen and expand our investment in counte town ta propaganda operations that would be more effective. >> well, to give a short answer, probably we are less concerned in latvia about russia today, because russia today is, programs of russia today are being broadcasted in english, while russia has all the opportunities to broker in russian, major tv channels. rush is doing all. democratic country is not putting any barriers to free speech, to free broadcasting. well, at the same time we are aware about the content of these
8:54 am
programs, and what is essential is to give an alternative, alternative to different sources, to reliable sources and give alternative broadcasting in russian to be understandable but to be objective, reliable and different from those major tv channels broadcast from russia. >> one last question, if i might, mr. chairman, to the ambassador from georgia. i understand that opec has helped make possible significant programs in georgia over the last 20 years in modernizing industries and in agriculture. can you comment at all on the value of opec in making possible mutually beneficial programs in georgia? >> there are several programs that, that are implemented in georgia, which is really productive, not only for developing georgia, modernizing
8:55 am
its economy potential, but is also beneficial for both sides and, therefore, in that regard i can provide in more detail way for submitting, detailed information spirit thank you, mr. ambassador. thank you, mr. chairman. >> senator boozman. >> thank you, mr. chairman ambassador come in your chest when you talked about russia crating territories on georgia or can you talk about the recent closing of two of these controlled crossing points and the impact it is set for george's territory integrity? >> thanthank you very much, sen, for that question. very recently, just two days ago russia controlled forces in the
8:56 am
occupied region have close to checkpoints that is affecting free movement of people. that is affecting free movement of schoolchildren over the occupation line. and we are really appreciative, very strong statement that the state department has made with regards to this development. also one very recent involvement was the initiation two weeks ago by the de facto regional authorities to hold a referendum about renaming this region into the one associated with one of the precious autonomous republics. we also appreciate a very strong statement that was made by the u.s. department of state with this regard. these kind of developments continue, but we believe in a
8:57 am
peaceful resolution of this problem. we believe in the geneva discussion where u.s. authorities are actively contributing. thank you. >> thank you. so you would please with the american response been in regard to -- >> there was a very strong statement just yesterday made by the state department about the closure of these two checkpoints. with explaining what kind of humanitarian difficulties that will create for those people residing near the occupation line speed and let me ask all of you or just whoever wants to jump in, which u.s. administered programs in your countries seem to have the most impact? are there ways we can improve them? what's working to ask what programs do you like the most and how can we make them better? >> thank you very much.
8:58 am
we really appreciate, we're celebrating 25 years of our diplomatic relations this year. and we believe that the u.s. assistance during these 25 years were essential for the survival, for transformation that georgia has been through, for creating democratic institution, solidifying civil society, and making new opportunities for our people. these are the assistance that comes through usaid, that comes through as an app for supporting resilience when it comes to the defense and security cooperati cooperation, and supporting georgia democracy of the rule of law when it comes to the u.s. aid support. we believe there is a space for more cooperation on trade, economic and investment direction as we believe that security is also coming through the economic means. >> yes, sir. >> i would say that support that
8:59 am
you could give your radio free europe and radio liberty in developing their content and strengthening the capacity to reach longer distances, that will matter a lot. so that's the most important. i myself, i still old enough to remember the soviet times when my father was listening. i was a kid at that time, my father was listening to radio free europe. i know what kind of syntax was picked it was eagerly sought every evening. plenty of people and lithuania sitting by the radio and listening. it was really word of freedom. the more word of freedom you could spread to, the more secure the region will be because that would be destroying the monopoly on news spent so you like the content, but stronger broadcast? >> yes. >> very good. >> thank you, senator. i would emphasize that in estonia case, the most efficient
9:00 am
funding has come through, for military fund and also eri, european reinsurance initiative. so most of the american taxpayers money has gone to the capabilities but also infrastructure buildup. we have received about 75 million u.s. dollars from the eri funding in recent two years. and we have spent that money on infrastructure but also on the capability development of the antitank weapons. also money which is very important and hopefully it will be increased in the coming years goes to the very important capability developments. thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. ..
9:01 am
we, you know, we do need europe on such projects, but not to such that now people can move, can visit each other's countries. so i think the support for programs like food riots in all kinds of exchange programs is also very, very important people going both ways and learning about each other. for strengthening american support of american citizens and taxpayers come it's very important that american taxpayers also see our country and see them thanks to exchange
9:02 am
programs, which i think are now underestimated. >> being spearheaded >> my support to what has been military financing that's really value added above our own national cons to tuition and programs and against are very focused. >> thank you, mr. speaker. each of you is welcome to come back to our visit chicago, which i'm honored to represent, where you'll find many people from your homeland and you will find many great restaurants. estonia, not so sure. for the rest i guarantee it's well worth the journey and would be honored to have you visit. three weeks ago we had her first break and i decided to visit warsaw for the very reason we
9:03 am
are meeting today because i knew there was anxiety and concern about the future of nato and the future relationships between the united states in your countries. it was a good visit. there were many things i came home with, having met with president plushenko and the leaders in poland as well as so many other countries. i remember one comment particularly for four days of travel. the man's name was again the upper south view. we had dinner and more thought and he asked me a question, which goes to the point of the opening by the chairman. he said we are wondering if the united states does not take the russian invasion into your election series, will you take the russian invasion into poland seriously? i thought about the question ever since and i want to salute the chairman here it's been one of the few that's been willing
9:04 am
to step up and speak out about how this outrage of the cyberattack by the russian into the american election, which did not go unnoticed insert lay should be read on to as a starting point to her credibility with their relationship with russia. thank you for what you said earlier. my concerns on the security side, most of them touched on here, which the russians are planning to put 100,000 russian soldiers in september on the borders of lithuania and poland and ukraine. and there's serious concern about what they might do next. but they could do with the strips on the border for the so-called military exercise. we are concerned about the hybrid war. i hadn't heard that term before, but i heard it throughout my
9:05 am
visit. the hybrid war and not just the military side of it, but the cybersite and the propaganda side. i guess my question in addition to my suggestion, number one, mr. chairman, when we commit nato forces and our allies, germany, lithuania and believe u.k. and latvia, am i correct or not? in canada into estonia. i would hope the united states and other compliments of our uniforms and forces of heard of it. it's not a negative things in terms of their capability, and that assembled at the united states is committed to this nato alliance and every one of these deployments. the other thing i would hope in ukraine the president has said what do you need. we gave up a thousand nuclear missiles. can you give us a dozen antitank missiles? i understood what he was saying. they made that for the protection of ukraine and to top an incursion of russians into
9:06 am
the rest of your country. the point i want to get to, mr. chairman, is we have to learn what they party experience. we have to learn what the russians have done to you, which led to decisions of lithuania to a number of months, which led at some point to a cyberattack on estonia crippled your economy. you've been through these experiences. now we are threatened with the same thing. we can teach you many things about the military. you can teach us about the hybrid war and prepare us for the next election is not another big in the russian aggression. i know you talked about this so i won't dwell on it any further because i know senator ben holland would love to ask questions, too. we value your friendship and this alliance. it is strong. bipartisan is strong in congress. thank you. >> very quickly.
9:07 am
if we can just respond to senator durbin, when he raised is a very important issue is the american presence in the baltic states. you mentioned that there would be an a forward presence of nato. as we speak, they are moving into estonia to 209. there will be full operation capability to these forces by june this year, but what i want to emphasize here as you pointed out is the american president and the baltic states should remain. we have a company size in each country right now and we would like to see them. >> chairman, if i may, supporting what was told and i just wanted to thank senator durbin are the most important capital and those that are very important to a part of showing
9:08 am
our partnerships to the world that we are strong together and i'm thankful to all the senators to the very strong partnership message. in lithuania and restaurants in chicago. >> are not now, senator blog. >> thank you, chairman. i've been inside of your six countries. i was in estonia a year ago in september when we had a reserve a-10 unit air firm missouri and they were back again for an even more extended. it's time this year. but following up on what senator driven site is really the question i wanted to pursue any way. we clearly understand russian improper involvement in our elections. wyatt believes that they are currently involved in the
9:09 am
upcoming german and the upcoming french elections. you will have experience with this as well. i wondered if you want to share one at a time some sense in what you saw through manipulation of your infrastructure in ways we inflate the russians were improperly involved for everybody and a couple cases will be understand improper involvement in your election situation. if you could share some of that with us, that would be helpful. i wondered if we can start with you. thank you, senator. one of the very clear one of the
9:10 am
operations the cyberattack in 2007, we see those cyberhacking on the databases continuous and it's also important to point out that their kremlin backed language tv and media channels are trying to influence the russian speaking population in estonia and in other countries. it is not specifically an estonia issue. it is everywhere else. you have to really deal with this. we have two years ago okay and an estonian broadcasting company, russian language channel to counter the propaganda.
9:11 am
what we see is always intimidation when it comes to the security of our borders, airspace. the violation of air and maritime borders. we had to deal with this as well. we had to deal with the support for the influence of the ngos in our countries as well and also academia. >> russian influence on the ngos. i'm going to run out of time here. the visit i made a year ago, one of the two days i was there with her eight, 10 pilots, the russians were practicing invading estonia 20 miles away from the border and it was very publicly clear that was the purpose of the exercise. anything in lithuania you want
9:12 am
to talk about? >> i would say, senator of course it's difficult for russian propaganda and clearly there are trials. in the membership in nato. it's popular to grow in the topics. we see the absurd in the media outlet to put it out and manage a good-faith views which would show the americans are not with you. they are looking the other way and things like that. they are similar in nature would be the ones in lithuania, trying to develop in general the people in the government and believing
9:13 am
in their needs. trying to push, for example, nato. that's the natural. let's be neutral. it's like the message not like again, but almost almost natural. we are not militarists that. that's the kind of news which is the most exploited in lithuania. >> ambassador andris teikmanis. >> read directions we are facing when we see hybrid war era. one is russian tv. tv channels with broadcasting and russian and the major directive probably laying to baltic states, but also to the european union and the european union is economically collapse and that's a great strategic mistake i baltic states that joined the european union and the only way to get back to
9:14 am
prosperity and welfare is to combat to russia and to the russian economy. another way is financed in the ngos. other persons in ngos are not the number is and each of them are working to several ngos financed by a different kind of russian foundation and having nice names linked to protection of human rights or european research or whatever. they are pretending to be fighting for the right to russians beakers and allegedly developing another narrative to russian speakers for instant black via our abuse and face and massive abuse of the human rights. probably the third i would
9:15 am
mention as the rather strong work in social media at different faiths and is, like we saw quite recently. but the news important for this warfare. just when it started and u.s. troops moved to poland from germany, the new headline appeared on different site with over 3000 tanks are rolling towards russian border. that was a new science and social media. >> ii think the point here is well taken. there's a lot we can learn by sharing what we learn from what happened here and let her
9:16 am
friends have consistently downplayed for two decades now. thank you for letting me as a little extra time. >> is one of the central questions of the whole hearing. the ones who didn't comment can put in writing examples of interference in your elections is done because that's very important. senator ben holland. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, ambassadors for your testimony today. it's great to be on the subcommittee and i want to join our colleagues on a bipartisan basis where they knew or your leadership in general for putting together this hearing. russian interference in our elections is not a democratic party issue, not a republican issue. it's an american issue and important to democratic countries around the world as all of you are testifying to today. you have had this experience over many, many years with both assertive military challenges in
9:17 am
red, but also the intimidation through various means of propaganda. propaganda is a little bit new to the united states in terms or election could we are seeing that in the coming election in france and i would agree that if we do not, we will be actions to be encouraged. if they can give this interference with impunity, they will do it again and again and again. i support the legislation the first of all require congressional consent before we roll back any sanction may also support the legislation further. we need to now impose sanctions on a bipartisan basis to. will simply be encouraging this kind of interference in elections going forward.
9:18 am
i appreciate the testimony to the lessons learned and look forward to the written observations from others. i was obviously we need the strength in our neighbor capabilities across the board. this is the new dimension of security, of warfare and i am pleased. my state of maryland is the home of the u.s. cyber command and ambassador eerik marmei, we also the good relationship between the maryland national guard in your efforts on behalf of nato. i look forward to strengthening those ties. with respect to cybersecurity, but i would like his very quickly for each of you to try and trade which you think is our current capabilities and whether
9:19 am
you think this is an area where we need to put more resources and how vulnerable are we today? now the russians are very involved every day and trying to penetrate our system and starting with you, ambassador, because of estonia's lead within nato, if you could give us some assessment of where you think we are. >> thank you, senator. we have good news and bad news site and for bad news and good news. first of all, i would like to also thank you for the really good cooperation in estonia and maryland have enjoyed in the past 25 years, especially cooperation tween estonia armed forces and air national guard. your 176 air wing has been to estonia. 18 of those have been to estonia. this is excellent.
9:20 am
and also the cooperation with your cyberdefense unit they are is developing very fast. now, it is clear as you pointed out that cyberis the new domain of warfare. what is good is nato really recognized that last year and during the warsaw summit and clearly pointed out that cyberwarfare is the maid of warfare. but a lot remains to be done in this area. we had to be all of our countries individually have to put a wreath or something to that. but we should also collectively deal with these issues. also on a bilateral basis between developing countries, but also nato as you no estonia
9:21 am
with the cyberof excellence. i'd encourage you when you talk about further funding of the counter warfare to find more resources to put to that center as well and to have more people in nato headquarters also to deal with this issue. it will not fade away. this issue will be with us for the good part of this century i think. we have to put more emphasis on this. thank you. >> and everyone else can and writing respond. there's a boat being called any minute now and i think they're a couple members of the subcommittee on the way so i want to make sure everybody who can can ask questions. what a very learned and make sure i've got this right. there's been a systematic to undermine democracies by russia for years.
9:22 am
does everyone agree with that statement? >> let the record feature russia have railed we are getting more aggressive, not less. affirmative fanfare. the american leadership with the affirmative fanfare. >> with two members on the way. do you want to continue until they come? >> i think this is discussion for members of congress. i believe as he vindicated that we need to come together across party lines to respond and we need to learn from your own experiences the kind of measures that we need to be on the one lookout for, but we also need to be very focused.
9:23 am
the united states does not take any affirmative action beyond what president obama already did with respect to the russian interference in our elections. do you believe that would embolden russia to take these actions on an even larger scale in your countries and other democracies around the world. >> for the record, you can answer that. senator david that's okay. a very good question that i want to make sure we can ask questions. >> i think this is really important to show unity and resolve. to do it individually on a bilateral basis between our countries, but also through nato
9:24 am
and in our case in european union, which is also a very important organization for us. and what you describe will become true. >> senator dean. i've been told to vote his son, so we have about seven or eight minutes probably. >> thank you, mr. chairman. in your service to our represented countries. your interest in united states. the united states values are strong relationships and alliances and strengthening the ties and help improve security and stability across eastern europe. then if you also represent nato allies. the alliance has proven to be in effect at and steadfast bulwark against aggression, terrorism in eastern europe around the world
9:25 am
in its critical nato remains strong and continues her best support from the u.s. particularly in light of ongoing russian aggression that undermines regional stability and threaten our national security. russian interference is not limited to security fear it either. disinformation campaign seeking to discredit alliances such as nato, cyberattacks are substantially raising energy costs as a means to influence other countries have occurred far too frequently. mr. ambassador, we'll chat. what threats from kremlin do you view as the most imminent, whether it's poland, nato or region as a whole? >> threat from kremlin? >> yap, which threats do you view from the kremlin is most
9:26 am
imminent, most urgent, whether to poland, nato or the region as a whole? >> i think it is to the whole western world for trans-atlantic alliance i will say, both europe and the united states. now during the cyberwere going on every day all the time and it's a thread for everyone because it doesn't depend on how far you are from kremlin. you can be 500 miles. you can be fired for miles. and so, you can be a dictatorship or democracy. there are various ways of using this hybrid word is first of all cyberwar. i think that everyone is vulnerable and is essential for our countries to be in our message for nato and the united states and our countries to be
9:27 am
unambiguous because the most dangerous things especially as far as the war against ukraine is concerned, that many messages and countries is not unanimous, that human vocal, not clear-cut. this should be stated openly, not that there is crimea, no, there is a war against ukraine. there is also a cyberwar against so many other countries. >> in light of that, but in your view would be the very best and most effective respond to boot and hybrid efforts to advance his goals, whether it's energy, informational or cyber? >> well, both energy and information either. first of all, the corporation on
9:28 am
energy should be strengthened in that position, for example, of the european union should be unambiguous because otherwise it's dividing the union when various countries have various opinions about energy corporation. so i think the corporation of this region with the united states should be strengthened as far as energy as can turned and i think the answer today, i've just returned from a conference on cybersecurity organized by poland, slovakia, czech republic and hungary. i think we are still not aware how important is conducted and cybershould be the most important and most essential way of corporation. >> you better issue of energy as well as cyber. i want to switch gears.
9:29 am
as you know i may not know, is one of the united states. we have more recoverable tools than any state in the united states. montana's understand the importance of access to reliable and affordable source of energy and undoubtedly, so do his own hands. the question of how dependent is your country on russia for energy needs and what concerns does that raise? >> thank you, senator for this question. estonia enjoys a broader differing situation. >> we will leave this hearing at this point as the u.s. senate is about to sub for him. if you missed any of this hearing, go to our website, the senate is about to gavel in. more work on a bill disapprove in an obama administration role requiring states report on effectiveness of teacher training programs to 10 hours of
9:30 am
debate on the measure remains and we could see a vote on the bill later today. live now to the floor at the u.s. senate here on c-span2. the chaplain, dr. barry black, will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. o eternal god, who rules the raging of the sea, you are our guardian and friend. place your arms of protection and wisdom around our lawmakers, shielding them from life's


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on