Skip to main content

tv   Eastern European Ambassadors Testify on Russian Policies Toward Europe  CSPAN  March 13, 2017 5:06pm-6:58pm EDT

5:06 pm
businesses don't have the luxury of sitting on decisions for six months and eight months and a year before they have a commitment. >> watch "the communicators" tonight at 8:00 eastern on c-span2. c-span, where history unfolds daily. in 1979, c-span was created as a public service by america's cable television companies, and is brought to you today by your cable or satellite provider. a senate appropriations subcommittee heard testimony recently from several ambassadors of eastern european countries regarding russian policies toward their nations. among the diplomats was ukraine's foreign minister who talked about the russia-ukraine conflict and his recent meeting with secretary of state rex tillerson who said he pledged u.s. support for that country. this is just short of two hours.
5:07 pm
the subcommittee will come to order. i want to thank senator leahy
5:08 pm
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 we have in common with all these countries, they are young struggling democracies and they're friends of the united states. out of respect for your family, 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. but anyway, we have the foreign minister from the ukraine, ambassador from poland, ambassador from georgia, ambassador from lithuania and the ambassador from latvia, and the ambassador from estonia. i have met most of you on my travels. i can't thank you enough for coming today and sharing with the committee and really the american people, what's going on in your backyard, because you live in a very difficult neighborhood.
5:09 pm
i would like to welcome to the committee senators rubio and van holland. hopefully we can do things together good for the country. and i will make a short opening statement followed by senator leahy, and we will have five-minute rounds and again to each of you, thank you very much for coming. very briefly, everybody talks about what happened in our election in 2016. and let me tell you my views. the russians tried to interfere in our election. i don't believe they changed the outcome, but it was the russians who hacked into the democratic national committee. it was the russians who compromised podesta's e-mails. in my view the russians provided information to wikileaks in an effort to interfere with our election. it is that my belief that if we forgive and forget regarding our
5:10 pm
own election, we will invite future aggression by other countries, and that the republican party and democratic party should be one when it is coming to foreign interference. an attack on one party should be considered an attack on all. i want this subcommittee to lead the way in terms of uniting our country, starting with the subcommittee that it is now time to push back against russia's interference in democracy at home and 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 what are the efforts the tool and tool box of russia to undermine their democracies and for us to counter russia account. a soft power account. this committee has jurisdiction over foreign operations and i would like to try to convince most americans that it is in our interest to put money aside to help these emerging democracies. because at the end of the day, democracy should be a goal of all of us, simply because democracies tend not to go to war.
5:11 pm
i want to be sure we can do whatever we can within reason. money is tight, but i think it would be a good investment to have a counter russia account to put money aside and maybe a cybersecurity assistance maybe a straight assistance, whatever it is that we can help you withstand this assault on your democracies by russia. that is the goal. to understand what is going on, and to do something about it, and to each of you, thank you for coming to the subcommittee. i think if we can come together and produce a product, history will judge us well. senator leahy. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i'm glad you're having this hearing. i want to mention that it is always helpful to be given a phonetic pronunciation. but i was told that if i mix it up -- i think the fact that we have representatives of estonia, lithuania, latvia, georgia, poland, ukraine, places that
5:12 pm
many of us have visited. i know you have. i know senator durbin has. we know the stakes involved are the second congressional hearing we had about russia since the beginning of the new administration. i suspect we will have a lot more. it's also a benefit to have the hearing with representatives from the countries that have experienced 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 have learned the russian government interfered in our elections to further its own interest. and the new president said virtually nothing about it. he's made no secret of his
5:13 pm
admiration for president putin. he and other white house officials have disparaged the american news media. if they had been critical of putin, he's calling them enemy. calling the american news media the enemy of the people. as someone who might expect of president putin but not of the president of the united states. i feel we should have an independent investigation into russia's interference on election. find out exactly what happened so we can take appropriate action. but at the same time, i think we have to have hearings like chairman graham has called here so the american public will know what happened in other parts of the world and what we face. it is one thing when we see our leaders attack an american media. i happen to disagree with that.
5:14 pm
but i disagree with it even more when nothing is said about vladimir putin's ruthless campaign to say lens his critics, especially to silence the russian press. we've not heard any criticism from our president about russia's invasion of ukraine, annexation of crimea, russia's occupation of george an territory, atrocities committed by russian forces in syria, their support of assad's regime, and russia's efforts to undermine civility and democracy across europe. i think -- i want you to know that not everybody in this country is praising vladimir putin. i don't. the chairman doesn't. i think supporting independence for our friends and allies, when they are under a threat or attack is in the united states
5:15 pm
national interest. i will continue to work with senator graham. i want to ensure that u.s. assistance is made available for our partners in eastern europe and the parts that were a part of the former soviet union. but it's not because we're seeking a confrontation with russia, it's because we recognize the importance of ensuring that partners can maintain their sovereignty, provide for their people. i believe with the president saying we should have a constructive relationship with russia rather than than an adversarial. yes, if that's possible. but we cannot ignore the significance of the russian government's malignant activities towards us and our partners if we want to protect our own national interest. that's what we have to do first. then we can talk about where we
5:16 pm
go diplomatically from there. so i thank you for having this very important lineup of witnesses. i thank all of you for taking the time. >> thank you, senator leahy. we will start with the foreign minister of the ukraine. whose name is -- >> chairman graham, ranking member leahy, members of the subcommittee, thank you for giving me this opportunity to testify before you today. and of course it is great to sit here with friends in front of the subcommittee. back in 1994, still as a young diplomat, i was involved in the process of strategic nuclear development. while working on budapest memorandum, i have already questioned its effectiveness and feasibility to ensure the security of ukraine. still, and i have to say it, it
5:17 pm
was beyond my imagination that in 20 years one guarantor, a permanent u.n. security council, will invade ukraine and occupy parts of its territory. why did it happen? here's the key to understand what is the root cause of russia policies and intentions towards european countries. particularly ukraine. for putin, the call-up of the soviet union was the greatest catastrophe of the 20th century. from the beginning he was obsessed with restoring russian former greatest. of course it could be done in two ways. one way was to invest in building a strong democratic state with a rule of law and competitive market. honoring the international principles and order.
5:18 pm
but it wasn't the russian choice. instead, kremlin resulted to aggressive expansionism and gross violations of international law in different dimensions. breaking the u.n. charter and undermining arms control and possibly violating the inf and treaties. and energy pressure in contradiction to wto principles. and of course, blatantly violating the human race. kremlin has developed the concept of hybrid warfare and launched it with the illegal annexation of crimea and dominance. it is a highly sophisticated strategy which mixes conventional aggression with economy and economic pressure with propaganda and misinformation as well as direct interference in the internal affairs for the country.
5:19 pm
it wages against peaceful countries to undermine, disrupt and dissent. it is spearheaded across the globe by the insidious television channel, rt, which seeks not to promote any particular narrative, but to undermine them. in real terms, this hybrid war against ukraine integrates a shocking number of russian weaponry and to occupy crimea. it is about more than 400 tanks and 800 armored vehicles. it is up to thousand artillery systems and over 200 multiple rocket launchers.
5:20 pm
around 23,000 troops in the occupied crimea. just a few hours ago, the russian agent of the international code of justice made completely ridiculous statement that russian-backed militants actually discovered all those weaponry being hidden in the old saw mill coal mines. it is a case, just today, can anyone believe it? kremlin's word against my country over the last three years has led to over 7% of ukraine being occupied, almost 10,000 of my fellow ukrainians born military and civilians losing their lives, with 23,000 being injured. just in the last six weeks, the russians and their proxies launched a fierce attack against
5:21 pm
our troops, and the civilian population in crimea. russia recognized passports and documents and illegal immigrants in donbas and also completed the introduction of the russian ruble as the currency in the occupied territory. furthermore, russia has also ordered the illegal ex appropriation of the key enterprises in the occupied territory. all this is nothing but the clear breach of each and every part of the minsk disagreement. the only way to negotiate with russia is from a position of strength and international solidarity. and no new agreements should be made with russia until such time as they have delivered on their provisions and commitments. so let me thank all of you for the enormous support that the united states has given to ukraine.
5:22 pm
in particular, over the last three years in our fight against russia. and all the signals from the new administration gives us great hope that the united states' support for ukraine will continue and increase. as this continued support is not just in the interest of ukraine, it is in the interest of the united states and the freedom and stability of the wider transatlantic alliance. so i'm asking the subcommittee for explicit support in a number of areas. defensive weapons supplied by the u.s. and continued military and technical support would make a powerful statement of the kremlin, and to prove significantly ukraine's ability to defend its territory against the russian army. this support has already shown its effectiveness. the blt battalion of the brigade trained by the u.s. instruction has one of the most effective in
5:23 pm
repelling the russian attacks. the units prepared by the u.s. instructors appear to be very effective on the front line. this is why we believe this kind of support and training is very important and should be continued. so i would like to ask you to support the appropriation of funds for security assistance to ukraine in 2017. please support the ex appropriation of funds for assistance to the ukraine in the u.s. fiscal year 2017 budget, and, of course, in the forthcoming 2018 budget. ukraine also needs a long-term security arrangement for global partnership on defense and security. the role of the united states will be key to any such arrangement. of course, we need u.s. support
5:24 pm
in relaunching negotiations of the signatory of the budapest memorandum. the united states should play hero in the negotiation, on both donbass and crimea. finally, until russia gets off ukrainian land, there must be no easing up of sanctions if anything they should be increased. dear senators, ukraine is on the front line and currently the only country fighting to hold off russia and ukraine does not simply ask for support. we currently spend 6.6% of our gdp on defense. at the same time, it's obvious that we need the u.s. and transatlantic solidarity with ukraine and ukrainian people. a strong, stable and democratic ukraine, able to defend its waters against russian
5:25 pm
expansionism is crucial for the united states in the region and globally. thank you. >> thank you very much. if you could, please keep your statements to five minutes. we will have questions where you can tell us anything on your mind, but time is of the essence in the senate. so thank you very much. 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 the challenging origination from it. the kremlin has achieved strategical objective, restored super power status lost after the fall of communism. the way to achieve the goal seems straightforward, altering the security architecture in europe, thus impeding soviet countries from integrating with the euro atlantic community.
5:26 pm
first, the current situation. while pursuing foreign policy objectives, moscow largely relies on force, intimidation and economic extortions, trying to impose on other countries an autocratic and oligarchic type of government. it meddled in conflict and violated the international law by annexing crimea. finally, the kremlin masterminded and keeps fueling the conflict in eastern ukraine. although moscow signed cease-fire agreements, minsk 1 and 2 it did not withdraw the part to achieve political solution. even worse, during the last weeks we have seen increasing military clashes in the donbas. second, russia is a growing military threat. president putin embarked russia
5:27 pm
on a large scale modernization of its armed forces. the introduction of new types of equipment was coupled with the reform of the military doctrine. the threshold for the usage of nuclear weapons has been lowered. bordering poland and lithuania became the most militarized area in europe. russia equipped the exclave with anti-access military denial capabilities. this bubble aims at limiting nato's freedom of maneuver and action on allied territory. it covers an area spanning from northeastern poland to the baltic states. moreover, kaliningrad has been equipped with systems, nuclear capable missiles, able of hitting targets in estonia, latvia, poland, and even in eastern parts of germany. moscow conducts large scale snap exercises with openly aggressive scenarios. we also observe an unprecedented number of military incidents
5:28 pm
provoked by russia. but the most alarming issue is russia's ability to take prompt and deceptive actions. we saw that in crimea. third, the hybrid dimension. the challenges posed by russia's actions go beyond the conventional military realm. we see them in the cyber informational and energy bank domains. russia deliberately employs hybrid means to act below this threshold of military conflict. moscow often acts by exploiting national vulnerabilities and sensitivities. this might involve actions in the cyber domain. frequently backed by a fierce propaganda effort. ukraine is the case in point. while countries in central europe try to diversify their import roots, russia promotes the north stream 2 pipeline, creating divisions among eu member states.
5:29 pm
should this project go ahead, russia could effectively hinder the diversification efforts of the whole region. increased gas supplies from russia would inevitably effect the economic viability of lng projects in central and eastern europe. fourth, our response. two words. uncertainty and insecurity best describe the current security situation we operate in. such conditions and challenges call for an adequate answer. nato is the best platform to provide it. it is a unique force multiplier. deterring all those threats and challenges requires a swift and full implementation of decisions taken at the summit in warsaw in 2016. furthermore, my government believes that special meeting of heads of states and governments
5:30 pm
should be an important milestone in the process of adapting the alliances defense and deterrence posture. as the challenges we face are here to stay, they enhance forward presence of allied troops on the eastern flank of the alliance, and should have long-term character. poland is very grateful for those actions. it will be impossible to achieve the warsaw summit decisions without american leadership. in this context i would also like to thank you for the 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 operation atlantic resolve is of equal and paramount importance. further congressional support for the european reassurance initiative would be greatly appreciated.
5:31 pm
mr. chairman, distinguished members of the subcommittee, a fair burden sharing among allies is a must. poland meets the 2% spending targets along nato guidelines. more than 20% of our 2017 military budget will be spent on military equipment. our soldiers serve in missions in afghanistan and kosovo. poland contributes to collective defense. a polish tank company has been deployed to latvia under the framework of the efp. our vessel commands the standing nato maritime group 2 operating on the aegin sea. poland has always been ready to deal with a terrorist threat. polish and american soldiers were brothers in arms during the missions in the iraq and afghanistan. all together more than 40,000 polish troops took part in both operations. nowadays poland is an active member of the global coalition against daesh.
5:32 pm
moreover, our efforts go beyond the military domain. last year saw the opening of an import lng terminal in poland. it could become a gateway for lng destined for client in central europe. delivering gas supplies to ukraine via poland would send a powerful political message whilst 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 1 and minsk 2 but does not respect the provisions. moreover russia decided to recognize documents produced by so-called donbass republics. to sum up, taking into account russia's actions, we see no grounds to ease the sanctions or to change our policy vis-a-vis moscow.
5:33 pm
congressional support for maintaining transatlantic unity and solidarity on this issue is indispensable. a couple weeks ago general james mattis sat at nato headquarters that europe and north america need to work together stronger than ever in times of turmoil and 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. >> thank you. and it those who stick to five minutes, your chance of assistance goes up. thank you very, very much. [ laughter ] ambassador from georgia.
5:34 pm
>> mr. chairman, ladies and gentlemen, i'm here today to remind you that before ukraine-georgia was invaded in 2008, 20% of our country remains under russian occupation, despite ongoing support from the united states. georgia made tremendous strides in strengthen democratic institutions forcing economy of development to solidify an irreversible path to towards european and euro atlantic 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 russian invasion of georgia and occupation of our territories. as international community failed to effectively respond to early warning signs, russian continues its occupation to up to 10,000 russian military
5:35 pm
security and border guard personnel. the russian occupation forces have no legal mandate, and are in stark violation of international law. and august 12th, 2008, ceasefire agreement. in 2009, russia began installing razor wire fences and other artificial obstacles along the occupational line. the total length of trenches across both occupational lines is more than 62 miles. we greatly appreciate the interest of congress and its bodies and representatives who are frequently visiting the occupational line. in further violation of cease-fire agreement moscow signed so-called treaties with occupational regimes. these documents represent a step toward annexation of georgia's occupied region, as they provide foundation for fully integration into social, economic, administrative and most importantly military and
5:36 pm
security institutions of the russian federation. georgia is pursuing an engagement in reconciliation process with people in occupied territories. we make all benefits available for georgia citizens also accessible for compatriots residing on the other side of the line. free health care, educational, cultural, scientific, the benefits of georgia's european path, vis-a-vis the industrialization. since regaining independence to undermine georgia sovereignty and territorial integrity, georgia has been subject to different forms of unconventional warfare. russian propaganda in georgia in addition to the economic embargo in 2006, energy cuts, cyber attacks in 2008, seeks to challenge and derail georgia's integration aspirations. it builds on fears that exist in different societies, creating myths and communicating through different forms of media. a recent example is false
5:37 pm
information that the well-deserved v ed visa-free trl decision for georgia citizens to europe came at expense of building refugee camps in georgia. the georgian government has been effective in strategy communication efforts through coordinated approach, dismantling myths, but also countering by bringing tangible results to the georgia citizens like free trade agreement, association agreement with europe, and liberalization. as a result, we have managed to maintain strong support to georgia's eu and nato aspiration within 70% to 75%. overall despite russia's vicious efforts for small nation georgia makes outsize contribution in international security efforts. locating more than 2% of our gdp for defense spending. we are a committed partner in fight against terrorists and we are one of the largest contributors to the resolute support mission in afghanistan
5:38 pm
with one of the highest numbers of 870 servicemen. georgian soldiers are proudly standing shoulder to shoulder with their allies in the most dangerous parts of the world. in recent years, we have made progress in building strong and effective institutions, ensuring democracy, human rights and rule of law, because we believe that our political and economic progress will ultimately serve as an important antidote to russia's expansionist designs. for the last decade georgia is the most reliable and democratic ally of the u.s. in very tough region has been a great example of american taxpayers money wisely spent. therefore, i want to invite the members and staff of this committee to visit and see firsthand the transformation of power of u.s. assistance. last year we have signed memorandum on deepening security and defense partnership between our two nations. and we successfully launched
5:39 pm
georgia defense readiness program. further improvement of these programs and elevation of our security partnership is of vital importance as we believe georgia remains an essential part of atlantic security architecture. when the cold war ended and soviet union dissolved, united states and its allies sought to build europe, whole, free and at peace. today, one of the basic foundations of security and peace respectful national border 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 georgia's territorial integrity and sovereignty. improving bilateral trade, economic, investment relationship, and supporting the democratic course of the georgian people to integrate the euro-atlantic institutions.
5:40 pm
all these measures will make georgia stronger and more a resilient. that is important because stronger georgia is in the united states' interest as much as stronger america is in georgia's interest. thank you. >> thank, mr. ambassador. ambassador from latvia. >> chairman graham, ranking member leahy and members of the committee, thank you very much for inviting me to speak before this very honorable committee. latvia and the u.s. have a century-long history of relations and very close partnership. during this partnership, latvia safeguarded independence and this partnership facilitated latvia's integration back into the euro-atlantic community. we have to admit today that the world has become less secure and less stable over the past decade. causes of instability are various, and geography of the
5:41 pm
threats are diverse. to continue u.s. global leadership is extremely important. to safeguard an international rules based order -- best answer for today's security risks since 2003, latvian troops have stood shoulder to shoulder, stood with the u.s. in the fight against terrorism in iraq and afghanistan. both have made sacrifices, and latvia remains committed to the fight against terrorism and interglobal terrorism against isil. we can do more. we are ready to do more. in 2017, latvia will fight against terrorism in the form of financial assistance. threats around us, threats in the region become more complex, and harder to identify, hard to find and pinpoint. russian actions show disturbing and worsening trend that we have to reckon with.
5:42 pm
what happened in ukraine, russia military buildup as well as intensive military maneuvers is proximity of nato borders like one symbolically made in 2017, this year, they are -- they have caused significant deterioration in european's strategic security environment. and challenging the 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 resilient european union. we need effective osc capable of solving, not freezing conflict. thanks to historical decision of the nato warsaw summit, on the
5:43 pm
deployment of four multinational battle groups to atlantic eastern flank including canadian-led enhanced forward battle group in latvia, we are all more secure. and reassured. this is a practical expression of solidarity from our allies and a strong signal to russia. security in our region is strengthened by the congress' support, and the european initiative and atlantic resolve mission and falling military financing program for which we are very grateful. taking into account the challenges to our region are of long-term nature. we are looking forward to continuation of european reassurance initiative and the funding level of $3.4 billion or higher, likewise we have foreign military financing funding to be maintained or enhanced.
5:44 pm
continuing u.s. commitment to nato is essential to preserve these decisions. latvia appreciates a very clear and resolute statement by u.s. defense secretary james mattis of the nato and in brussels last month thus reconfirming the u.s. strong support to alliance. the meeting of the presidents of three baltic states and the vice presidents of u.s. and munich in mid-february reassured us even further in this respect. latvia is among the best examples when it comes to raising a nation's own defense capabilities. in case of military aggression. our own forces will be the first responders. we are defendable. in case of -- we are well aware the challenge -- we are well aware of the challenge therefore
5:45 pm
latvia spent the last two years boosting its military capacity and improving its coordination. currently we are spending 1.7% and next year, only a few months ago, we will spend 2% of gdp for our defense. since joining nato in 2004, latvia has not only been a recipient but also a provider of security. and in proportion to the population of 2 million, we count among the top contributors in missions from afghanistan, iraq, balkans, central african public or somalia. europe and u.s. should help efforts to help ukraine, georgia and moldova, and including information warfare. latvia has been active in providing support to eastern
5:46 pm
partners to counter propaganda and strengthen media. i would like to mention two examples a practical approach and support of partnership countries. first, baltic center for media excellence recently completed a study of skills and training needs to independent media in eastern partnership countries. certainly latvia is interested in the success of 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 the u.s. support these important initiatives. it is a pivotal time in history. the alliance has always proven to be effective, credible and
5:47 pm
united. solidarity here is a key word. i believe the spirit of solidarity will bring us to wise future decision. thank you very much. >> thank you. ambassador from lithuania. >> chairman graham -- is it on? >> yes. >> ranking member leahy, the ranking members of the subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today to assess this threat to our democracy, to explain what lithuania is doing to counter threats and explore cooperation between lithuania and the u.s. first of all, let me name the threats we face. russia never stopped using political economical propaganda and other open and undercover tools to make small democratic countries more vulnerable to the present-day challenges. attack on georgia, illegal annexation on crimea and eastern ukraine are considering considerable implications and so on national security.
5:48 pm
russia is increasing its military capabilities on the lithuanian border. most militarized zone in europe. large scale military exercises of an offensive nature on our borders taking place regularly. russia is extremely active in the information field using pro-russian media, propaganda, disinformation, fake news, and leaks in order to confusion public opinion and influence the decision-making. russian's international media channel spread its views on this information, on the insensitive topic such as immigration, terrorism, ethnic relations, and troops in middle eastern europe. in my written testimony you will find various examples of russia's separations against lithuania. another security threat is a nuclear plan in belarus. how we fight back these threats. in thuania will be
5:49 pm
spending over 2% of gdp. we spent 31% of the budget for new weapons systems. it ensures the independence of energy supplies. it has also opened baltic market for the potential deliveries from the united states. the senators using this opportunity allow me to thank you for your personal and united states support to our security. we greatly appreciate the strengthening of the u.s. military presence in europe. and the implementation of european deterrence initiative. we believe the best deterrence is the only way to achieve regional stability. it is necessary to have military plans. when it comes to practical areas of defense cooperation, lithuania and the united states has been engaged in close
5:50 pm
dialogue, and on our part we are ready to move forward on projects and timelines we've identified financial resources on both sides. the projects can improve air defense capacities among others. while bring attention to defense issues, close cooperation in hybrids threats is necessary. to counter threats posed by disinformation, lithuania allows a national project to analyze information and preclude possible unfriendly actions. the possibility to access some u.s. services and tools would make the system more efficient. brooding to lithuania almost 10 hours a day in russian and belarusan languages. we see the need to improve the signal quality for listeners in russia, belarus and ukraine.
5:51 pm
we should aim at raising transmission power and extending the programming to 24 hours. we should also work together in creating attractive positive narrative about western societies for radio and tv seen in the region. there is a great need to tell true facts of history to society influenced by russian propaganda. finally, we need to strengthen border security. with u.s. army support, lithuania will be launching a new so-called raid system project and also plans to build a situational awareness center that would integrate border and maritime pictures. u.s. experience and assistance would be greatly appreciated. once again thank you for this opportunity to tell you our part of the story today. we must rally our strategic partnership with u.s. and we continue to be your reliable ally and hoping to work with u.s. congress and u.s. administration very closely. thank you. i'm pleased to be on the mark first. >> thank you. that's the model for the rest of us. you nailed it. lithuania is doing well. >> get out the checkbook.
5:52 pm
>> thank you. i'm ambassador of estonia. members of the committee, thank you for the invitation to testify before the united states senate appropriations subcommittee on state and foreign operations and related programs. it is an honor to be here. first, let me emphasize the u.s. support for freedom in estonia has been. our membership in euro atlantic institutions is the cornerstone of our prosperity and security. we are mindful of the role the u.s. has played in supporting and assisting us. as russia's immediate neighbor, estonia would like nothing more than to have good relations with democratic russia and have everyday operations at all levels of society. but shared commitment to the core values of democracy, human rights and the law of law are
5:53 pm
indispensable pillar s for good neighborly relations. we shouldn't be guided by wishful thinking but by real facts. examples of russian malign activities in europe to name but a few including the russia-georgia war and war in eastern ukraine. provocative activities by the russian military and interference in western democratic processes including elections. we have learned that inadequate responses to such behavior can only feed future indiscretions. i would like to stress that the russian activity is not the only concern to nato's eastern flank or countries represented at this hearing but influencing all of our allies in the west. therefore it is essential not to regionalize the russian threat of eastern european countries but to clearly recognize that threat of russian subversive methods expanded far beyond the eastern flank of europe including to the united states. we as neighbors to russia are just a bit more used to witnessing such behavior.
5:54 pm
upcoming elections in the netherlands, france and germany are perfect theater for the russian disinformation warriors. the goal of the influence of activity in europe is to create tension and sow confusion between european member states and individual states. by doing so the kremlin hopes to influence decision-making process and steer the narrative and outcomes towards its own interest. the illegal annexation of crimea in march 2014 succeeded largely because of the successful information war that allowed russia to avoid a direct military confrontation. it can be expected that russia will use the 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 doubt and verify the facts thus delaying its response. the unity of the west joins action and decision to stay the course towards russia has been
5:55 pm
the strongest message in response to russian action so far. to be credible, we need to stand by our values and be consistent in our policies. we need to take into account that russia sees itself being in confrontational era with the west for a long time. we the west need to address the subversive actions in a systematic and coordinated way within the european union and nato but also in cooperation between these two organizations. this should be done in very practical terms. we need to share more intelligence on russia's subject versusive methods to decode the playbook. we need to raise awareness of the decision makers and the public at large in order to limit their ability to abuse the open nature of our societies. we can do it by exposing our countering russia's malign tactics such as covert support to political parties and politicians, seemingly innocent
5:56 pm
ngos or economic leverage gained through murky business connections. also, transparent regulations. russia makes extensive use of foreign language outlets and fake accounts. the quality of strategic information capabilities and the formation of our own messages needs to be improved. the effect of this information can be enhandiminished by enhan reading skills within the audience. the best medicine is an open and free high quality and plural issic media offering values and opinions. i believe this can play a role. to fall under the u.s.
5:57 pm
department, the national endowment for democracy to mention but a few can all build to building capability and resilience in europe in order to counter what russia is trying to achieve. thank you for the opportunity to providing my thoughts. i look forward to answering your questions. thank you. >> thank you for coming and forming the subcommittee in which you face and parade of horribles when it comes to russia. lithuania, there was a recent deployment of german soldiers to lithuania to help train lithuanian military. i have been informed as soon as the soldiers arrived there was an allegation that one of the german soldiers had raped a lithuanian woman. are you familiar with that? >> yes. russia --
5:58 pm
>> you may have broken them all. >> okay. yes, i want didn't tat didn't t senator. because right after german troops -- because of the decisions for deployment and german troops are leading the battalion, it's like the second day or the next day after their arrival, there was news spread that teenager girl was raped by allegedly german troops. it was subsequently nonsense. it was fake news. it was cooked. it was denied right away. as you know, the fake news, they are probably not all people aware listening to the denouncement of this, that it's not true. >> did it come from the russian outlet, the news? >> yes, that's what we suspect. it's always difficult to get a grip of where it comes from first. but that's what we suspect. it's very clear.
5:59 pm
>> have you experienced uptick in russian involvement since president obama drew the red line in syria and nothing happened? or has it been the same the whole time? do you know what i'm talking about? did that affect russia's involvement or is that about the same? >> i wouldn't say that there haven't been significant changes. we are experiencing russian hybrid warfare already 25 years and maybe we have become more resilient but certainly it has never stopped. and 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 trolling is doing, where the fake facts are emerging, i
6:00 pm
wouldn't say the intensity has changed in the course of last years. it hasn't diminished as well. >> has it been constant, russia's interference in your country? has it been constant? is it on the rise? >> yes, it has been constant. as my colleague said, we have experienced this for the past 25 years. i think what opened 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. >> what do you think the
6:01 pm
consequences would be if our country forgave and forgot the interference in our election by russia? what kind of effect do you think that would have on russia, ambassador from ukraine, foreign minister? >> russia has developed a very systemic way on how to use all kind of unconventional warfare. >> my question is what would the effect be if united states did not act regarding the interference in our election? would it embolden russia? >> there should be clear way how to react on the russians' interference. otherwise the russians are' always good in exploiting weaknesses. >> ambassador from poland do you agree with that?
6:02 pm
>> it's difficult for me to make comments on what americans should do or should not or what would happen if americans didn't do something. i think that investigations in such cases are essential in all countries, and it cannot be covered, just should be investigated every case. >> to continue what my colleague from poland said, as i have mentioned in our remarks, as we have seen that international response on invasion and occupation of georgia was insufficient that might have led to the further aggression of russian federation towards ukraine, et cetera. i think that international response is generally necessary in the violation of international norms. >> thank you. you'll have a chance to tell the
6:03 pm
subcommittee spfk specifically what we can do to hep you on the soft power side. senator leahy. >> thank you. this has been very instructive and -- and mr. klimkin, am i pronouncing that correctly? in 2014 after russia annexation of crimea, the united states 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's -- into recognizing and
6:04 pm
approving of russia's and nextation with crimea. have you met with the president trump or secretary tillerson to discuss their policy toward ukraine? >> i have just met with the secretary tillerson a couple of hours ago. >> good. >> and it was a strong message of support. for ukraine and any kind of trade-offs are not possible and our president had two phone conversation with the president trump and it was the same very clear message. >> did they say anything about crimea? >> no compromise about crimea, and crimea is issue about truce and international law. >> how important is our aid to ukraine?
6:05 pm
>> the u.s. support and u.s. assistance, security related assistance and reform related assistance was and is fundamental for ukraine in the sense of our ability to counter russian aggression and in the sense of us creating democratic and european ukraine. >> thank you. ambassador wilczek, your country of poland is uniquely positioned. uchl, unfortunately, over the years you have always been uniquely positioned g geographically in the conflict between russia and ukraine. russia's deployment of nuclear
6:06 pm
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 is very essential for our security is a kind of -- i think it was a kind of breakthrough moment because it strengthens this feeling of insecurity and uncertainty and it's 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 of this region is especially sensitive area, as i said, the most militarized area in the whole of europe, i think. >> are you getting -- do you get
6:07 pm
support from nato or do you feel that nato support is strong? >> yes, we feel enormous support both from nato and bilaterally from the united states, so i think the whole project of deployment and deterrence implemented right now, we understand is still supported fully by the united states is essential for our security and very important. >> i look at all of the areas in the baltic area, lithuania, estonia, so on. do you feel any greater or less concern about russian invasion
6:08 pm
since the elections here in the united states? anybody want to start with that? >> i think we are concerned since 2014 or even before since 2008, since events in georgia or ukraine, we are concerned because we see that international rules-based order is being challenged. that's a concern for the whole of europe and the whole of nato. and here we are considering that the most important principle is indivisibleity of nato can be challenged. is this sense assurances of
6:09 pm
nato, the presence of nato battalion, international battalion on baltic shores and reassurance given by u.s. that gives a strong sense of strong response to anybody who wants to challenge nato as the strongest military organization. that's only response we can expect from nato. that's a response that is understandable and that gives us as small nations a good sense of assurance about our security, safety and stability for the future. >> i take it -- does anybody disagree with that? you agree with the ambassador? thank you. >> i may add, senator, i think what we have seen in the past two and a half years two nato summits made important decisions and it is important to implement
6:10 pm
those decisions and we don't see any change in direction in that sense. this is my answer to a question, if there's change of direction after the elections in the united states. no, we don't see that happening. thank you. >> thank you very much. >> thank you for joining us. as we make decisions about spending money, taxpayer dollars of american taxpayers, what would you highlight for me as the priorities we should have in the financial aid that we provide your countries? is there a consensus? i'm happy to have one or a few of you spoke to respond to that in what is the highest priority? >> if i may, probably the
6:11 pm
programs that have been already mentioned today, european reassurance initiative that has already started and financing is assured partly. we hope very much this program will be financed fully and maybe even higher as well foreign military financing received by baltic states is crucial points of improving our resilience, our capabilities. and the third i would mention is the 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
6:12 pm
resilience. >> does anyone wish to add or subtract? minister? >> in the case of ukraine it's probably a bit different, but in our case, it's definitely about upgrading ukraine defense and security sector to nato standards. it's about coming in control. it's about training. and it's two-way road because we understand now sense of hybrid warfare, unconvexal warfare so it's about exchange. it's also about weapons supplies. especially defensive weapon supplies. >> do you have other thoughts if it you get that to the committee. i want to ask a couple more questions. if you provide that answer in writing i would appreciate it. there's some eu members that are chafing at imposition of sanctions against russia. in your estimation, what's -- what do we need to do to keep eu
6:13 pm
unified in its support for those sanctions and how significant is it that the united states continue its sanctions in that effort? >> as long as we keep to the principle of minsk agreement there will be unity on both sides of the atlantic. the european union and the united states. this is a clear message we should send to russia that minsk is the basic fundamental agreement 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, senator, i would add as long as u.s. is strong on sanctions and we understand that is the strongest tool we have in our toolbox, that will unite
6:14 pm
europe also. >> u.s. leadership matters in this regard? >> yes. >> thank you. let me ask a question about energy. there's a rand corporation study that indicates estonia, latvia and lithuania and poland are among the eu members most vulnerable to a problem with energy if russia would take certain action. yet there's a 2014 european commission study that says there are cooperative measures among the eu that could reduce the impact of any short-term cutoff of supplies of energy. are those measures in place that are thought to reduce the implications of an energy cutoff? is the eu taking the steps necessary to mitigate the damage? >> i would say that building a
6:15 pm
legitimate -- with poland changes the situation substantially. we believe we are strengthening our interlinkages. we are able to get gas from anywhere, including 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 gas. on the electricity, we still have one big project to come. synchronization with western european grid is important. it's quite intricate project. it will take time to develop. that will be the last straw in our independence that would make baltic states independent in this regard. i do believe that for the other countries it could be different. >> georgia and poland. >> thank you very much. let me combine it with your first question.
6:16 pm
with regard of georgia's provider of diversified energy supplies for europe which is not dependent on russia. we have two pipe lines, the third one is under construction and the importance of strengthening stability in georgia is one of the alternatives routes and pathways to supplying alternative energy sources for europe is critical and therefore, one of the main attentions from the united states we expect in the energy sector. thank you. >> as far as national cooperation is concerned, we believe it should be based on mutual benefits, it should be beneficial for those countries who cooperate like the united states and countries of central europe. this lng terminal in poland mentioned by my colleague is very important part of this
6:17 pm
project of diversification. there's also a project in progress of the baltic pipeline with denmark and norway, and of course, there's a very important issue of north stream two force bide russia and this is a project which divides european union partners. of course, now it's suspended for some time. but it's interesting as far as energy is concerned the european union should be also the energy union. this is an idea very much advertised by poland that the european union if it's not an energy union, there is no union. so we really think about diversification and cooperation with the united states especially as far as lng is concerned, it's important for central europe.
6:18 pm
>> senator coons. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want positito specifically th you, chairman graham, and senator leahy for calling this meeting and assembling the ambassadors from vital european allies of others and focusing us in a bipartisan way h. i'm encouraged by your call that we create a counter russian account to strengthen our allies democracy. this week is the 150th anniversary of this committee in the united states senate. something that shows the wisdom of the founders in having a strong hand in the senate in the shaping of our investment overseas. i join my colleague on t floor of congress about the importance of countering russian aggression.
6:19 pm
we reviewed many of the issues raised by the witnesses based on trips we have taken to your countries to hear from you about hybrid warfare, the illegal a annexation of crimea, about the importance of standing in solidarity with our allies. the real challenges that georgia has faced since it was the first of you to be illegally invaded and have some of its territory occupied in an ongoing disruptive way. i want to mention two bills in the senate that have garnered bipartisan support. for those who have any concern about the absence of bipartisanship here. the counteracting russian hostilities act has ten republicans and ten democrats co-sponsoring it. it would make russia pay the price for its annexation of crimea, for support of the murderous assad regime in syria
6:20 pm
and their actions in our election last november. the other bill led by senator graham would make certain that congress has to weigh in before sanctions against russia can be waived. i'm proud to be a co-sponsor as are many on this committee on these bills. we continue to believe that the trans atlantic alliance is important to maintain the world order we worked together to build over the last seven decades. let me ask a few questions if i might. there's been a rumored proposal by the administration to cut by as much as 37% our state department and u.s. aid which are essential for the munding ff many of the programs we have been talking about. what would the absence of american leadership in this area mo 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, programs that support your resilience both in terms of your governance and democracy institutions and in terms of our sustainment of some
6:21 pm
of the development initiatives? would any of you care to speak to that question? please. mr. ambassador. >> i think this is just a rhetorical question. no question, we would not feel safer when the budget for such projects will be essentially cut. so we hope it's kind of deliberation kind of tweeting not really a decision, because this sounds very dangerous, but we hope that it can be -- still can be changed and people who think this way will change their minds. because american leadership in this region is essential and you know this very well. there's a great support for american leadership in this part of europe, maybe more than in other parts of europe, so we really rely as countries of the
6:22 pm
region on firm american leadership and support. >> i heard in several visits by colleagues and a visit i took about the importance of strengthening our investments. you referenced, mr. ambassador the broadcasting from latvia, both for voice of america, radio free europe and radio liberty. tell me how russian propaganda operations are affecting your country and how we may strengthen and expand our investment in counter russian propaganda operations that would be more effective. >> 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.
6:23 pm
russia has all the opportunities to broadcast in russian, their major tv channels, democratic country is not putting any barriers to free speech, to free broadcasting. at the same time, we are aware about the content of these programs and what is essential is to give an alternative to different sources to reliable sources, and to give alternative of broadcasting in russian to be understandable but to be objective, reliable and different from those major tv channels broadcasted from russia. >> one last question, ambassador from georgia. i understand that opec helped make possible significant programs in georgia over the last 20 years in modernizing
6:24 pm
industries and in agriculture. can you comment on value of opec helping make possible mutually beneficial programs in georgia? >> there are several programs that opec has implemented in georgia which is really productive not only for developing georgia, modernizing its economic potential, but is also beneficial for both sides and therefore, in that regard, i can provide in more detailed way for submitting a written way more detailed information. >> thank you. senator. >> thank you. senator boozman? >> thank you, mr. chairman. ambassador bakradze, in your testimony you talked about russia creating borders on the edge of territory that is occupied in georgia.
6:25 pm
can you talk a bit about the recent closing of two of these controlled crossing points and the impact that it's had for georgia's territory integrity? >> thank you very much for that question. very recently two days ago, russia controlled forces in the occupied region have closed two checkpoints. that is affecting free movement of people. this is affecting free movement of school children over occupation line and we are appreciative of a strong statement that state department has made with regards to these developments. also, one very recent development was the initiation two weeks ago by the de facto
6:26 pm
region authorities to hold a referendum about renaming this region into the one associated with one of the russia's autonomous republics. we also appreciate 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 peaceful resolution of this problem. we believe in the geneva discussion where u.s. authorities are actively contributing. thank you. >> you are pleased with the american response? >> yes, there was a strong statement made yesterday made by the state department about the closure of those two check points, explaining what kind of humanitarian difficulties it will create for those people residing adjacent to the occupation line. let me ask all of you, or
6:27 pm
whoever wants to jump in, which u.s. administered programs in your countries seem to have the most impact, and are there ways that we can improve them? what's working? what programs do you like the most and how can we make them better? yes, sir. >> thank you very much. we really appreciate you. we are 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 institutions, civil society and making new opportunities for our people. these are assistance that comes through u.s. aid, through fmf for supporting georgia's
6:28 pm
resilience when it comes to defense and security cooperation and supporting georgian democracy and the rule of law when it comes to the u.s. aid support. we believe there is a space for more cooperation on trade, economy and investment direction, that security is also coming through the economic means. thank you. >> yes, sir. >> i would say that the support you could give to radio free europe and radio liberty in delivering their content and strengthening their capacity to reach longer distances, that will matter a lot. so that's the most important. i myself i'm old enough to remember the 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 impact it was. it was sought every evening. there were plenty of people in lithuania sitting by the radio and listening to it. it was really the word of
6:29 pm
freedom. the more word of freedom you could spread through the region, the more secure region will be. that will destroy the monopoly on news. >> you like the content but stronger broadcasts. >> yes. >> thank you. i would emphasize in the estonian case, the most efficient funding coming foreign military fund and also, the reassurance initiative so most of the taxpayer money has gone to the capabilities but also infrastructure buildup. we have received $75 million from the funding in recent two years. and we have spent that money on the infrastructure but also on the capabilities development, on
6:30 pm
anti-tank weapons. also fmf money which is very important and hopefully it will be increased in the coming years, goes to the very important capability development. thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i'm sorry. very quickly. >> if i can add to what my colleague said. the european initiative is important for us and we would like to thank you just for this great increasing this program from $1 billion to $3 billion. it's very very essential. but also, what my colleague mentioned as well, all kind of exchange of people, all kind of programs. we do not -- we do need radio free europe and such projects but not to such an extent as it was under communism. now people with mocan move, can
6:31 pm
each other's countries. i think support for food bright and all kinds of exchange programs is also very very important. people going both ways and learning about each other. and i think for strengthening american support, support of american citizens and taxpayers, it's very important that american tax payers also see our countries and see them thanks to exchange programs which i think are now underestimated. their role is underestimated. >> thank you. senator durbin. >> thank you -- >> i add my support in what has been said of military financing, which has been valued above our own contribution, above our own national programs, it really gives a focused strengthening of our capabilities. thank you. >> thank you for being here. each of you is welcome to come
6:32 pm
back to and visit chicago which i'm honored to represent. you will find many people from your homeland and you will find many great restaurants. estonia, i'm not sure. but for the rest i guarantee it will be well worth the journey. we would be honored to have you visit. three weeks ago we had our first break. i decided to visit warsaw, kiev, for the very reason we are meeting today. because i knew there was anxiety and concern about the future of nato and the future relationship between the united states and your countries and it was a good visit. there were many things i came home with, having met with the presidents and with the leaders in poland as well as so many other countries. but i remember one comment in particular from four days of travel. the man works for the kazmir pelaski foundation. he asked me a question which
6:33 pm
goes to the point of the opening made by the chairman. he said we are wondering if the united states does not take the russian invasion into your election seriously, will you take the russian invasion into poland seriously? i thought about that question and i thought about it ever since. i want to salute the chairman here who has been one of the few willing to step up and speak out about how this outrage of this cyberattack by the russians into the american election should not go unnoticed and certainly should be responded to. it is a starting point to our credibility when it comes to our relationship with russia and i thank you, mr. chairman, for what you said earlier. i can go through a litany and i won't, of my concerns on the security side. most of them have been touched on here. the russia are planning to put 100,000 soldiers into belarus in september on the borders of
6:34 pm
lithuania and poland and ukraine. and there's serious concern about what they might do next after seeing what they have done in ukraine, what they could do with these troops on the border there for this so-called military exercise. we are concerned about the hybrid war. i hadn't heard that term before but i heard it throughout my visit. the hybrid war, not just the military side of it, but the cyber side of it and the propaganda side of it. i guess my question, in addition to my suggestion, number one, mr. chairman, that when we commit nato forces and our allies, germany, lithuania, i believe it's uk, latvia, am i correct on that, canada, into estonia, i would hope the united states would always have a complement of our uniforms and forces as part of it. it's not a negative thing in terms much theof their capabili it's a symbol the united states is committed to this nato
6:35 pm
alliance and every one of these deployments. the other thing i would hope is in ukraine, your president, i said what do you need. 'he said in the budapest agreement we gave up 1,000 nuclenuk nuclear missiles. can you give us1,000 anti-tank missiles? they need that. but the point i want to get to, mr. chairman, that is we have to learn what they have experienced. we have learned what the russians have done to you which led to the suspension of rt for a number of months. which led to a cyberattack which crippled your economy. you have been through these experiences. now we are being threatened with the same thing. we can teach you many things about the military, you can teach us about the aspect of hybrid war and prepare us so the next election is not another victim of russian aggression.
6:36 pm
i know you talked about this. i won't dwell on it any further. i know senator van hollen would like to ask questions, too. i thank you all for coming. we value your friendship. we value this alliance. it is strong bipartisan strong in congress. thank you. >> very quickly. >> if i can respond to senator durbin. what he raised is a very important issue, the american troop presence in the baltic states. you correctly mentioned that there would be enforced forward presence of nato. as we speak, the british are actually moving into estonia with 1,200 men. there will be full operation capabilities of these forces by june this year. what i want to emphasize is the american presence in the baltic states should remain. we have company-sized units in
6:37 pm
each country now and we would like to see them being imbedded to that battalion. >> i want supporting 100% by my colleague but i want to thank senator durbin for visits. those visits are important so it's a part of showing our partnership to the world that we are strong together. it's very important. i'm very encouraged and thankful to all senators who are visiting our countries to send this very strong partnership message we are getting. m there are plenty of lithuanian restaurants in chicago. >> on that note, senator blunt. >> thank you, chairman. i have been in five of your six countries. i was in estonia, a year ago in september when we had a reserve a-10 unit there from missouri and they were back again for
6:38 pm
even a more extended period of time. following up on what senator durbin said was the question i wanted to pursue anyway. we clearly understand russian improper involvement in our elections. there's wide belief they are currently involved in both the upcoming german and the upcoming french elections. but you all have experience with this as well and i wondered if you want to share maybe one at a time some sense of what you saw through rt or through manipulation of your infrastructure in ways where you feel like the russians were improperly involved or everybody in a couple cases understands improper involvement in your
6:39 pm
election situation. if you could share some of that with us, that would be helpful. i'm wondering if we start, mr. marmei, with you. >> thank you, senator. i think one of the clear operations of influence that i mentioned earlier was the cyber attack in 2007, we see those cyber hackings on a daily basis. it's continuous. i think it's also important to point out that their kremlin backed russian language tv and media channels are trying to influence the russian speaking population in estonia and other countries.
6:40 pm
it's not specifically estonian issue. it's everywhere else. we have to deal with this. we opened two years ago an estonian broadcasting company russian language channel to counter that propaganda. i think what we see is a lot of intimidation when it comes to the security of our borders, air space, the violation of air and maritime borders. we have to deal with this as well. we have to deal with the support of -- the influence of the ngos in our countries as well and academic. >> russian influence on the ngos? >> yes. >> i'm going to run out of time here. i will say the visit i made
6:41 pm
there a year ago, i think one of the two days that i was there with our a-10 pilots, the russians were practicing invading estonia, 20 miles away from the border and it was very publicly cleared that that was the purpose of that exercise. mr. krisciuanas, anything in lithuania you would want to talk about? >> i would say, senator, it's difficult to influence election in lithuania. for russia propaganda. even though i would say there are trials. with lithuania there's 80% support of nato and european union. it's very difficult for russia. what we see, we see the efforts by media outlets to put doubt on nato relevance. anything can be exploited to
6:42 pm
fake news which show to lithuanian public that americans are not with you, they are looking the other way, things like that. the fake news of similar nature would be the ones which are being cooked in lithuania, trying to cast a doubt in general of the people believing in the government, believing in nato. but trying to push, for example, nato. let's be neutral. why lithuania should be nato member. let's be neutral. it seems like a very vague message, not against nato but why are we not neutral. that's kind of news probably more exploited in lithuania. >> ambassador teikmanis? >> i join assessment of my colleagues. three directions we are facing when we see hybrid warfare. one is russian tv, tv channels
6:43 pm
broadcasting in russian. the major narrative probably linked to baltic states but also to european union and this narrative tells about european union is economically collapsing and that was a great strategic mistake by baltic states to join to european union, and the only way how to get back to prosperity and welfare is to come back to russia and through russian economy, get to high wealth. another way is financing of ngos. while the person are not numerous and each of them are working in several ngos financed by different russian foundations and having, well, very nice names linked to protection of human rights or european research or whatever, and they are pretending to be fighting
6:44 pm
for the rights of russian speakers. allegedly developing another narrative that russian speakers, in for instance latvia, are abused and facing massive abuse of their human rights. probably the third i would mention is rather strong work in social media as spreading out different fake news, trolling, like we saw quite recently -- that's another indication probably where the news is important for this warfare just when operation atlantic started its move from poland to germany, the new headline appeared on
6:45 pm
different sites, web sites, that over 3,000 nato tanks are rolling towards russian border. that was printed out in the news line and social media. >> thank you. the point here is well-taken. there's a lot we can learn by sharing what we learned from what happened here but also looking at what our friends have consistently dealt with for two decades now. thank you for letting me use a little extra time. >> as a matter of fact, that's one of the central questions of this whole hearing. if you could, the ones who didn't comment, could put in writing examples of interference in your election system. because that's important. senator van hollen? >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, mr. minister and ambassadors, for your testimony today. it's great to be on this subcommittee and i want to join our colleagues on a bipartisan basis for thanking you for your leadership in general and for putting together this hearing.
6:46 pm
because russian interference in our elections is not a democratic party issue, not a republican issue. it's an american issue. in fact, it's an issue obviously 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 the military challenges and threats but also the intimidation through various means of propaganda. the propaganda invasion is new to the united states in terms of our elections. we are seeing it in the upcoming elections in france and germany. mr. chairman, i would agree with your opening statement which is that if we do not respond, then we will allow those actions to be encouraged. if they can do this kind of interference with impunity, they will do it again and again and again. so i support the legislation
6:47 pm
that would first of all require congressional consent before we roll back any sanctions, and i also support the legislation that would go further. i think we need to now impose sanctions on a bipartisan basis to send the signal you're talking about because if we don't do it, we are simply going to be encouraging this kind of interference in elections going forward. i appreciate the testimony from all of you as to the lessons learned and look forward to getting some of the written observations from others. i would say that obviously we need to strengthen our cybercapabilities across the board. this is the new dimension of security, of warfare. i am pleased, maryland, my state of maryland is the home of the u.s. cyber command. ambassador marmei, i know estonia takes the lead in nato with respect to cybersecurity. we also have a good relationship between the maryland national
6:48 pm
guard and your efforts on behalf of nato and look forward to strengthening those ties. with respect to cybersecurity, what i would like is very quickly for sort of each of you to try and grade what you think is our current capabilities and whether you think this is an area where we need to put more resources and how vulnerable are we today. we know the russians are very involved every day in trying to penetrate our systems and i would, starting with you, ambassador marmei, 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. or bad news and good news. first of all, i would like to also thank you for the really
6:49 pm
good cooperation that estonia and maryland have enjoyed in the past 25 years. especially the cooperation between estonia armed forces and your national guard. your 175th air wing has been to estonia, you have 21 planes there, 18 of those have been to estonia. this is excellent. also the cooperation with your cyber defense unit there. it is developing very fast. it's clear as you pointed out cyber is the new domain of warfare. what is good, nato really recognized that this year during the warsaw summit and clearly, pointed out that cyberwarfare is the fourth domain of warfare. but a lot remains to be done in this area. we had to be, all our countries
6:50 pm
individually had to put more resources into that but we should also collectively deal with these issues. also, on a bilateral basis between also in bilateral but also with nato, which is, as you know, estonia hosts the united center of cyber excellence. i would encourage you when you talk about the further funding of the hi brid warfare to find more resources to put to that center as well. and to have more people. it will not fade away. this issue will be with us the good part of the century, i think. we have to put more emphasis in this. thank you. >> and everyone else can, in
6:51 pm
writing, respond. we're running out of time. there's a vote being called any minute now. and i think there are a couple of members on the subcommittee on their way. i want to make sure that anybody who can, can ask questions. make sure i've got this right. there's been a systematic effort to undermine democracy in your country by russia for years. does everybody agree with that statement? let the record reflect an affirmative answer. prior efforts to deter russia have failed. they're getting more aggressive not less. affirmative answer. without american leadership nothing will work. affirmative answer. all right. who do we have? two members on the way. senator van alden, if you want to continue until they come. >> well, mr. chairman, look, this is discussion for members of congress.
6:52 pm
i do believe that, as you've indicated, we need to come together across party lines to respond. and we need to learn measures we need to be on the one lookout for. we need to be very focused on what we're doing. let me ask you this. if the united states does not take any affirmative action beyond what president obama already did, with respect to the russian interference with 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? >> and for the record, you can
6:53 pm
answer that. that's a very good question. i want to make sure that everybody gets to ask question. senator danes? >> 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 and, you know, in european union, which is also a very important organization for us. tonight on "the communicators" michael powell, internet and television association, talks about major issues facing the industry and what we might see from the new fcc chair. tech and telecom reporter for bloomberg, lydia beyoud interviews him.
6:54 pm
>> from tom wheeler to mr. pai. >> he is a visionary, very focused on the concept we've heard for many years, with the exception of the last commission, about the understanding that this market moves at breakneck speed. there's a huge amount of futilities that by the time they're over, this market has shifted radically, that businesses don't have the luxury of sitting on decisions for six months, eight months and a year before they have to make decisions and i think the new commission is committed to that kind of speed of action. >> watch "the communicators" tonight at 8:00 eastern on c-span 2. >> in case you missed it, here some clips of c-span's programming this past week. nominee for deputy attorney general, rod rosenstein before the senate judiciary committee. >> we need to refrain from disparaging people unless it's necessary and justified in a
6:55 pm
case. if we charge somebody with a crime and it's appropriate to introduce evidence against them in court, we do it. if we don't charge them with a crime, we have a responsibility not to disparage their character. >> from the senate floor, minority whip dick durbin on president trump's revised travel ban. >> it includes some cosmetic changes, but these changes don't alter the fact that president trump's travel ban is still unconstitutional and still inconsistent with the values of this nation. >> house speaker paul ryan on the gop health care plan. >> so we said in 2016 to our citizens, to the american people, to our constituents, if you give us this chance, this opportunity, this is what we'll do. now is our chance and our opportunity to do it. >> senator chris murphy on the legislation to replace the affordable care act. >> trump care is here and you are going to hate it. this is a dumpster fire of a
6:56 pm
bill that was written on the back of a napkin behind closed doors because republicans know it's a disaster. >> ambassador to the u.n., nikki haley, on north korea's use of ballistic missiles. >> this is someone who is trying to get attention. this is someone who is trying to cause a reaction. but this is what bothers us. it hit less than 200 nautical miles of japan. they said that their goal is to be able to reach u.s. bases in japan. this is not something we can take lightly. the global community needs to understand every country is in danger from the actions of north korea. >> congressman elliott engel during the energy and commerce committee markup of the health care bill. >> this is one of the most important things we're going to vote on this year and it's rushed through and we're buying a pig in a poke because we don't have all the details. so that's why we're so disgruntled on the other side of
6:57 pm
the aisle. we don't like this being jammed down our throats, rushed down our throats and rushed down the american people's throats. >> c-span programs are available at, on our home page and searching the video library. c-span, where history unfolds daily. in 1979, c-span was created as a public service by america's cable television companies and is brought to you today by your cable or satellite provider. >> the supreme court heard oral argument recently in hernandez v. mesa, a case that could determine if the family of a mexican national can sue a border patrol agent for shooting and killing a 15-year-old boy. with the boy on the mexican side of the border and the agent on the u.s. side. this is just over


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on