tv Road to the White House CSPAN December 29, 2014 1:00am-2:01am EST
-- the end of this edition of the program. but join us at 11:00 when the house of lords resumes. until then, i am alicia mccarthy. goodbye. >> prime minister's questions returns wednesday, january 7. we will have it live at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span 2. you can watch question time every sunday at 9:00 p.m. and 12:00 a.m. eastern. on the next "washington journal," a look at the 2016 residential race -- presidential race. then, a discussion on the rising costs of higher education. and we will take your phone
calls and look for your comments on facebook and twitter. "washington journal" is live every day at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span will. monday night, a funeral service for the late "washington post" editor ben bradlee. speakers include popular word -- bob woodward. >> on september 23, 1972, about 9:00 p.m., i reached john mitchell, president nixon's former attorney, about a story we were running. he said he had controlled a secret fund for undercover operations of such as watergate. mitchell was quite upset. responding "jesus" several times
as i read in the story. he then proceeded to let me in on important, private parts of katharine graham's anatomy which he said would get caught in a big fat ringer is the "post" printed the story. he also said we are going to do a story on all of you and hung up the phone. i called been at home -- ben at home. we did not much observe the chain of command. ben interrogated me -- had he been drinking? i couldn't tell. did i properly identify myself? yes. did i have good notes? yes. ok, he said, give me all of mitchell's comments. but leave out mrs. graham's. tell the desk it is ok, he said. a top official of the nixon
campaign called me a few minutes later to make an appeal that mitchell had been caught in an unguarded moment. he has been a cabinet member and so forth, he doesn't want to show up in the paper like that. he then called bradlee at home to repeat the appeal. bradlee recalled saying it boiled down to this question -- whether mr. mitchell said it or not, whether "the washington post" reporter identified himself or not and if you did that all my requisites have been satisfied. mitchell's comments estate in the paper. >> and bradlee served as the editor for 30 years and died in october. we will have his funeral service monday night on c-span. >> new year's day on the c-span
network, here are some of our featured programs. 10:00 a.m. eastern, washington ideas form. energy conservation with david crane. ward brown and at 4:00 p.m. eastern, the brooklyn historical society holds a conversation on race. then, from the explorers club, walt cunningham on the first manned space toflight. then authored hector tobar on the men that were buried in a chilean mine. then, the life of nelson rockefeller. then, former investigative correspondent for cbs on her experiences reporting on the obama administration. new year's day on american history tv, at 10:00 a.m. eastern, one need a abernathy on her experience in women -- on
women in the civil rights movement. benjamin carr on the length of alcohol and prerevolutionary politics in new york city. then, patrick olifant draws presidential characters as david mccullough discusses them. new year's day on the c-span network, for our complete schedule go to c-span.org. >> now, a discussion on the conflict between russia and ukraine. she talks about u.s. support for ukraine and the effects sanctions are having on russia. this was at the american enterprise institute. it is an hour. >> i remember that both you and strobe were quite pleased, even happy if this is the right emotion for dip plo mats and the reason for that was the so-called budapest memorandum on
security assurances to ukraine signed by the united states, the uk, russia. and ukraine, just two months before in december of 1994, in exchange for ukraine's asession to the treaty on the nonproliferation to nuclear weapons and the pledge to transfer the soviet era nuclear weapons to russia, the cig that tears, i quote, reaffirm their commitment to ukraine's independence on sovereignty and existing borders. refrain from the threat of use of force against territorial integrity or political independence of ukraine. and from economic coercion to subordinate to their interests the exercise by ukraine of the rights inherent in its sovereignty. that's a pretty comprehensive list, congratulations, but, but things have changed and where do you think the change has come from and why?
>> well, first of all, leon, it's great to be here with you. it's great to be back at aei with so many friends. thank you for coming out. and it is truly interesting to think back that it was 20 years ago that we met and at that point we had so much hope about being able to knit a reforming democratizing russia into the international system that we could lift all boats including the lives of 150 million russian people. it is true that one of the first major pieces of negotiation that i every worked on in my career was the denuclearization of kazakhstan, bull rhus and ukraine. i continue to think that that was the right decision for those countries to make to move in the direction of modern european states that secure themselves through their prosperity
through their partnership with other strong democracies rather than needing nuclear weapons. that said, part of that deal,s off underscored, was the commitment of all the budapest powers notably including the russian federation to keep their hands off the territory of ukraine. and obviously that has not happened. >> you spoke to the commission of the u.s. congress last april and you said today ukraine is a front-line state in the struggle for freedom and all the principles that commission holds dear. and a month later, "the battle in ukraine means everything." tim schneider of yale wrote ukraine has no history without europe but europe also has no history without ukraine. throughout the centuries, the history of ukraine revealed the
turning points in the history of europe. this seems to be true today. now, looks like both you and tim schneider are talking about the same thing and the stakes are pretty high, aren't they? >> they certainly are. as you know, the united states in a bipartisan fashion for 25 years has worked for a europe whole free and at peace. today the number one battleground for that aspiration is in ukraine. and the way ukraine goes will impact not only the neighborhood and the space between ukraine and the european union and nato space but i think will also have an impact on the kind of future that the people of russia can have. so it is profoundly in the united states' interest that ukraine succeed in its aspiration to be democratic, to be more prosperous to be unified to be more european, to
integrate with our economies and to beat the cancer of corruption that has plagued it for so long. and that is why we are putting so much effort into it. it is why we are working so intensively with our european partners and allies, partly with the eeu on increased economic support for ukraine now and that's why we welcome the decision of the congress in a bipartisan fashion to signal its support as well. >> ok. i'll return to corruption and congress. you were in ukraine, i think first week of october? what did you see? >> you mean this past trip with vice president? >> right. >> i think i've been in ukraine nine times in the last calendar year in various ways, both with bosses and on my own. this last trip was followed the -- it was in november with vice president biden and we were
there after the elections as the ukrainians were working to form a government. we were at that point advocating a broad coalition government with a very strong reform program. as you saw about a week later, that government was formed with a large number of tech any cats with lots of experience in the economy in particular. as you saw, the government put forward a relatively robust and very concrete reform agenda, including things like cutting the public sector by 10%. including strong measures of corruption. the ukrainian parliament endorsed that which was by a very wide margin which speaks to strong support across ukrainian parties to deliver on what the ukrainian people asked for in those elections. so now they have to implement.
and as they implement, we have to continue to support them. >> let's talk about the u.s. strategy. when you spoke to the senate foreign relations committee this past july, you outline what, to me, looked like a four-part plan. >> uh-huh. >> support for ukraine's tackling political and security challenges, diplomatic efforts to deescalate what you call the crisis and to encourage russia to end sport for separatist. readiness to impose further costs by way of sector yal sanctions on russia and reassuring front line nato allies and friend like georgia and mall doe va. it's almost been half a year since you spoke there and outlined that plan. is the strategy the same? and if it is, have there been any shifts in maybe an emphasis or substance? >> the four points that you you lined are still how we look at the situation.
outreach diplomatically with our allies and partners to russia offering an off ramp, offering de-escalation if the kremlin is willing. try marly now focussed on implementation on the minced peace plan from september that the kremlin signed on to but has not yet implemented and the final point imposing costs for aggression. so i think you've seen all of those pieces since the summer continue to accelerate. on the nato side, you have seen us continue to on land, sea and air provide physical reassurance to our allies. you've seen the security support for georgia and mall doe va and ukraine increase. you've seen now with the congressional support for the european readiness initiative that will allow us to preposition equipment as necessary and further strengthen the alliance.
on the ukraine support side, we talked about $320 million plus the $1 billion loan guarantee for the u.s. support in 2014 very generous authorizations from the ukrainian freedom support act which allow us to do more in the coming period but of course conditioned on ukraine staying the reformed course. on the cost side, the very tough sanctions imposed jointly by the u.s. and the eu in september continued discussion about what more needs to be done there, but at the same time making clear that those sanctions can be rolled back if the protocols are implemented, if russia closes that border with ukraine, pulls back equipment and fighters in eastern ukraine and helps release hostages. those are the main points that
we want to see. and we have made clear that sanctions will roll back if, in fact, they fulfill their obligations but we haven't seen it yet. >> you described last april russia's occupation of crimea as quote, rubber stamped by an ill legitimate ref run dem conducted at the barrel of a gun. some of my colleagues in this town and outside have been suggesting in op-eds that under certain conditions the u.s. should recognize crimea's annexation. do you think the u.s. will ever recognize that? >> certainly not under current leadership i don't see how that is plausible. it was a complete violation of international law and once grow down that path, what's to stop countries all over the world from biting off chunks of their neighbors at will? >> in the speech in the
discussion on december 18th, president of ukraine said that one can't find -- excuse me, can't fight aggression with blankets. now, last week the senate unanimously passed a bill that authorizes -- although not requires, the president to provide both lethal and nonlethal military assistance to ukraine and requires to extend sanctions on russia. it seems now that the president will sign the bill despite some reservations. what can you tell us about all of this? >> well, i think the ukraine freedom support act is emblematic of the strong bipartisan, bicameral support for ukraine and its aspirations that you see across the united states. and i know from talking to ukrainians that that has been very important to them politically. it's been important to them as
they seek to build their reform agenda and to know that they have the support, not just of the administration but of the american people and they representatives. we've had spectacular number of congressional delegations out to ukraine, not just during that period but since demonstrating support. and when you're trying to do difficult new things to have that national support is very, very important. the bill gives us -- gives the administration authorization for a broad set of tools, but it also allows considerable flexibility to use those tools in a manner that is flexible as we see how the situation develops. >> very diplomatic. >> thank you. 30 years. >> so if i could sort of probe a tiny bit, i know the answer, but let me do it any way because aei pays my salary.
so lethal assistance, defense, we're all talking about anti-tank, anti-aircraft, any -- are we closer to it than we were before? >> well, first of all, let me say i think that the american people can be proud of the security support that we've already given to ukraine. $118 million in calendar 2014 alone, broad authorization, as i said, from the congress to do more next year. beginning now to do the equipping and training of ukrainian units, which is the most important thing to help them to be at their best now being willing to give heavy armor and those kinds of things, including night vision communications gear, the kind of things that the united states excels and the ukrainian's clearly need. with regard to your question about -- so we've been doing security support up to the high end nonlethal defensive range
and also considerable support for border security. i don't have the number in my head, but it's at least 70 million in border security which is important not just to enable us should the ukrainians get access back to their border in the east, but they're doing a huge amount of work now to harden the rest of the border and make it a real border as compared to the sunflower fields that we saw in the east. with regard to the question of lethal, i think you've heard the white house and tony blanken say that we keep this under review. we're in constant dialogue with the ukrainians about what will make a difference to them. what's most important is that the russians be deterred in further adventure. >> thanks. now, of course, defending
against the russian aggression is just one of the many huge problems that ukraine faces and you eluded to it and i just thought that i would just collect it all in one. you know this by heart but let me recite it for audience. ukraine is almost at the bottom of the corruption list. it's gdp is likely to shrink by 9% this year and optimistically by another 3% next year. it's hard currency reserves at $19 billion are almost incredibly low for a country that size. and they have lost half of is value this year in currency. now, you said the most lasting anti-dote to separatetism and outside interference in the medium term is for ukraine to beat bad corruption. and they seem to agree to that.
he spoke again -- speaking to the congress in september, he said, in fact, he listed what he called the sins of the ukrainian elite, corruption, bureaucracy and cynicism. so some tough love along with assistance? >> absolutely. and, you know, we certainly believe and i think the broad majority of ukrainians believe that if ukraine does not beat corruption this time, if it does not create a clean transparent democratic country, than it will once again blow its chance. and that is what -- the mie don was about many things but it was certainly about the ukrainian people being sick of being ripped off by their leaders, by oligarchs, by a nontransparent system. they want opportunity, they want a free market economy, they want
to know where the money is going, they don't want a small handful of click congrats running that country anymore. that's what the current leadership was elected on. that's what the government has committed to. there is a lot of good detail in the government's program, now they have to live up to it. we're starting to see good progress in places like kiev city where mayor cleech koe has become the king of e-governance. >> he is an enforcer to. >> he is. and he is trying to make government procurement transparent. he is trying to put all the contracting online so everybody can see. the ukrainian government program also includes a very ambitious program of decentralization, of tax, local spending et cetera to reduce the number of layers, the opportunity for ripoffs in the system. this is what they're going to have to do and it's going to be very, very hard work and they need a lot of help doing it, which is why a good chunk of our
technical assistance and the eu's assistance will be earmarked for that kind of work. >> thanks. you spoke to house foreign registrations committee in may and you said that the u.s. and its allies remain committed to a diplomatic off ramp should russia choose to take it. i would like to talk about this off ramp for a moment, if i may. there seems to be a consensus emerging among independent russian analysts that at least to a large extent the crimean adventure was a classic strategy of authoritarian regimes that is to boost domestic legitimatesy and popularity and justify repression by providing -- by arranging for confrontation on the outside and opening for patriotic marbleization on the inside. there is nothing new here, of
course. i think in henry the fourth, shakespeare has henry telling harry, the future henry the vth this. he advises him to busy giddy mind with foreign corals less they look to near on to my estate. given that the government has been pretty successful in patriotic marbleization and given that just the headlines of today and all the past week or so that russia is not facing just a recession but possibly a crisis, on the one hand, and given the fact that, as i said given the fact that the -- it has successfully swept the economic issues under the rug as far as domestic political situation is concerned, how reasonable is it to hope that
russia will, in fact, take that off ramp given that the regime badly needs now boost in legit masy? or -- this is certainly one option, to liblize, to decentralize, to do what we have been suggesting for five years or do the opposite, do the classic authoritarian thing which is up the antiand instead of taking an off ramp, start nibbling, for example, at the baltic states in order to continue with what has been a pretty successful patriotic marbleization? >> well, leon, there's a lot in the way you phrased this, so i don't know exactly where to start. look -- look, there's no question that the russian economy was already in trouble when the kremlin chose to bite off crimea and it was a very nice distraction from the fact
that the economy was already not going to grow at that moment. but it doesn't change the fact that the structure of the russian state, the russian economy, prosperity has changed over the 20 years that the russians have been allowed to vote for their leaders. the russian economy is deeply knitted into the global economy and that also creates opportunity but it creates vulnerability for authoritarian regimes. now, whether or not those making decisions in russia over the last year fully understood their vulnerability to reputations things like the fact when you violate international law repeatedly, it has a knockoff effect on the environment for investment in your country, not to mention the constraints that
already existed and were growing inside the russian system, or whether it's the fact that there's what we've done through sanctions on the one hand but also the chilling effect it has on willingness to invest further when there's that kind of uncertainty. but the largest issue here, i think, is the broader economic mismanagement over more than a decade where the russian economy was not diversified away from hydro carbons and the russian people, i think, did not appreciate how vulnerable they were to this lack of diversify indication. i think because the kremlin fully controls information now into most households, they also didn't appreciate the costs of these adventures in ukraine, not only the material cost of maintaining tens of thousands of russian soldiers on the border of ukraine or in crimea, but also the knockoff effect of
sanctions and isolation, et cetera. and now it's coming right to russian kitchen tables with the devaluization of the ruble with the inflation gone wild, with the cost of borrowing, et cetera. so, the question is will this start a conversation inside russia about the course that they're on, about the fact that the kremlin has prioritized their foreign adventures over the well being of the russian people now, not to mention all the russian mothers and girlfriends and sisters and parents who lost children in the adventure in the east when so many russians were killed. >> how concerned are you about the baltics? >> well, i think you know that we've pat huge amount of effort into making it absolutely clear that nato space is viable, three presidential trips to europe this year, the investment including almost $1 billion in re-enforcement that the congress
has now appropriated. the work that we've done at nato, including at the wales submit, land sea and air that you don't mess with nato allies. we've also had consultations with the baltic countries as have our nato allies on an integrated approach to defense. you strengthening border security now, you see allies from all countries participating there. just to say that this was not our choice. but this is a clear necessity now to insure that first of all, those countries feel secure, feel all 28 allies there for them, but also that we make absolutely clear that this is not an adventure that anybody ought to be going on. >> you mentioned the information that gets to russians. one of the sources, a key source
of that success in patriotic marginalization was propaganda and if my recollections of my misspent moscow youth are true it far surpasses anything that i saw in the '70s, in just sheer cynicism and not to mention technology and the reach. now, russians have been making quite a sport of it, one, a recent posting, mocked the propaganda line in this way. all the revolutions in history of humanity beginning with lucifer's rebellion against god have been designed by the united states to detract from the glory of russia. >> we preceded lucifer? wow. >> i'm coming for that.
but of course, a couple weeks ago, addressing the nation in the state of russia, president putin said that the united states supports violence and burning people alive in ukraine. now, i'm bringing this up because there have been quite a place according to you personally in all of this, and i brought you, i'll give it to you as a souvenir, this is just a few randomly selected print-outs of articles. now, i know you are fluent in russian, but for the audience, let me translate just the headlines that we have here. newland's words have confirmed it u.s. control over the ukrainian opposition. nuland did not mention plans to new government in ukraine. u.s. piece of work.
who is behind the nazis? nuland arrives to ukraine to give marching orders prior to the election. nuland is preparing a new midawn in kiev. what do you think of all this and how it affects you and a question i always wanted to ask you. the cookies you distributed to pro democracy demonstrators in moscow and ceavenue that rankled moscow deeply, do you have a recipe? and if you do, and it's not copy writed, we'll be happy to post it on the site. >> first of all, to correct some disinformation, they were sandwiches, they were not cookies. >> in which instance? both moscow and midan? >> i don't think i gave out sandwiches in moscow, did i?
>> maybe you're changing as we speak. >> exactly. so this was -- >> i think we have correspondents here. so take note, please. >> first of all, this happened i can't remember if it was december 11th or december 12th just to tell the story. cathy ashton of the european union, and i, were both trying to help foster some dialogue at that point between midan leadership, the opposition leadership, and president yanukovych. she had spent some four hours with yanukovych and i had worked with the opposition. >> and that's in charge of european unions. >> right, and we made a decision after the meeting to try to go together and work in tandem. so we were there one night, and then i was to see yanukovych the next day, and what happened was at 1:00 in the morning, we were
all awakened by yanukovych had ordered the security forces onto the midan. there were some 2,000 young guys in the sort of adam ant suits, pushing onto the innocent demonstrators while cathy ashton and i were there, and what happened was they started ringing the bells and started singing, and they ended up surrounding the bear cute, and they retreated at about 3:00 in the morning. you'll recall we issued a statement right in the middle, secretary kerry called it disgusting they were putting security forces onto the midan. so the next morning, the feeling was that i couldn't go down. we were all going down to see the midan leaders regularly during this period, but i didn't
feel in classic slavic tradition that i could go empty-handed, so we brought the sandwiches not only to those demonstrators who had had such a traumatic evening, but we also gave them to the bear cute, to these poor 18, 19, 20-year-old ukrainian kids who had been ordered by their president to move against their own mothers and grandmothers, so it was a symbol of sympathy with the horrible situation that yanukovych had put ukrainians in, pitting them against each other. obviously, that wasn't useful to moscow propaganda to point that out, but there are pictures of me giving the sandwiches also to the bear cute, who were equal victims of the authoritarian structure, which was also aided and embedded from the north. >> this is a very important footnote to history. >> yeah, yeah. >> because you know, these cookies are all over the russian
media. so all right, letters to the etter. >> that said, the united states will never be shy about supporting efforts for more democracy, more popular choice more infranchisement anywhere in the world, as you know. >> excellent, thank you. i think, if you don't mind, we have a few minutes for questions. >> of course. >> ander. microphones are coming. if you could just -- i know who you are, but if you could identify yourself. >> thank you very much. very interesting, and i in particular would like to ask you, victoria, that is right now, it's a discussion about the $50 billion is needed for ukraine. and there should be in addition to the ims funding already committed and more money than
this will be needed for the next two years. the truthful amount is something like $50 billion. of course, you can't say anything about how much the u.s. will give, but how do you see the process going forward? of course, there will be an ims program, we presume, and then there will be a donor conference, and how do you see this donor process going forward? thank you very much. >> thanks, anders. just to shout out anders, who has been a mentor and a champion for two, three decades for those across the euro atlantic space who have wanted more open, more democratic economies and thank you for the work that you've done all these years. with regard to ukraine's ims program, you will have seen that
senior ims leadership was in ukraine this week. issuing a public validation of the reform program going forward. but also confirming that the program agreed last year it's going to need a significant adjustment, that there is a fiscal hole now to the tune of $10 to $15 billion. we have been working with the ims, we have been working with the ukrainians. we have been working with senior e.e.u. member states and on the commision of the responsibility we'll all have if the ukraineians stay on track to fill this hole. we anticipate that the ims will come forward with formal conclusions relatively shortly. we suspect that they'll have to increase their support for ukraine, but that the united states, europe, and other friends of ukraine around the world will as well.
we internally have been preparing more support for ukraine. i think we will wait and hear what the imf requires, but we have also been in very active conversation with the e.u. asking that they also give a signal of support. you will have seen the president come forward saying there is a need now and beginning to get e.u. member states ready as well. but again, this has to be pegged to implementation of reform. it has to be pegged to the president, the prime minister, the government, and the ukrainian people meeting their commitments to themselves, to the international community, to get it right this time in terms of corruption and in terms of really liberalizing the economy and making it better integrated with europe and better integrated with the world system. >> yes, gentleman behind anders.
>> thank you, madam secretary. merry christmas. two very quick questions. >> could you identify yourself? >> john gizzy. chief political correspondent for news mags. two quick questions. first, have the sanctions made any noticeable changes that you can detect in president putin's foreign policy dealing with ukraine or any other country? and second, as you may very well know, they rewired the old jalopy of the provinces given by the western powers to russia. 25 years ago, about not expanding nato, and the continued specter of ukraine becoming a nato member or georgia, they speculate, are responsible for the recent actions. would you comment on that?
>> thank you. >> well, first of all, there were no promises made to russia that it would have a veto at any point by any american or european leader that i am aware of over other countries sovereign choice of alliance. that's just not the way we do business, and anybody who tells you otherwise doesn't know the true situation. with regard to the effect of sanctions, you know, i think the market information that we're seeing from russia today is a clear indication that the isolation that the kremlin has wrought the pressure that the u.s. and europe and others have brought to bear on the russian economy, is having an effect. i personally believe that there might have been even more aggressive action in ukraine had we not had a steadily escalating set of measures together, the
u.s. and europe, had the u.s. and europe not been completely unified along with australia japan, other friends in our approach. there were even worse opportunities than what we saw over the course of the year. but now, we have a really toxic cocktail with the effect of sanctions, with low oil prices with the impact finally being felt inside russia of the economic mismanagement of the last 10 to 15 years where the economy is so heavily hydro carbon dependent, so it is a point of decision making, i think, for the russian leadership, but also for the russian people. whether this aggressive policy vis-a-vis neighbors is worth it,
and whether this choice to prioritize imperial ambitions over the needs of your own citizens, over their wellbeing is really in the best interest of the russian federation. >> please. >> thank you. >> hello, ms. nuland. >> could you identify yourself? identify yourself? >> i'm niccolai. i'm ukrainian journalist political journalist, and so totally spent seven weeks in battle zone in eastern ukraine and the reason i came here to share my experience from the ground. first, i would like to express my regard from ukrainian people for everything you do for my country. and secondly, probably you're more aware than me, but i want
just to remind something. really what happened there. so regarding military support here, around 80% in ukrainian army come from soldier power, so it's around 40, 50 years. i have got some kalashnikovs and some machine guns that shared maybe 60 years history. this is really ancient and it's impossible. so all weapons which we could receive, like modern weapons, it goes from russian, of course. and even though in september our president, he estimated it was up to 70%, so you probably know,
and i believe that this is true. i interviewed some afghanistan veterans, i mean, the veterans who were engaged in the war in afghanistan during the soviet union and now he went to the eastern your crane, and he said to me that in afghanistan, it was a honeymoon for them in comparison with this full-scale war washat the taliban have, they have rockets or machine guns, but they never used the missile launchers like russians do right now in eastern ukraine. >> i'm sorry, if you could get to the question. >> the question is about, can we expect military support regarding this? and are you aware that russians will never step back from eastern ukraine? >> well, thank you for that. just to say with regard to your particular concern about armored vehicles, we have been in
discussion with the ukrainian government on this problem particularly after the extremely intense fighting in august and september, which resulted in the loss of so much equipment and as the vice president announced when he was in ukraine, we are now providing an opportunity for ukraine to have some of the up armored vehicles that are coming back from afghanistan. and the ukrainians are pretty good at fixing stuff, so a lot of that will be repaired and made ready in ukraine itself. but you're absolutely right, part of the issue on the reform docket, and there's quite a bit about this in the government reform plan, is that the entire structure of procurement, battle management, of the ukrainian military is going to have to be realigned and reformed. that's going to take support.
it's going to take effort. that is why one of our main lines of work with ukraine is this bottom-up review of the military that european command has been conducting and beginning equipping and training of ukrainian military units at their request, so we're very much focused on that. again, we will continue to use our tools of diplomatic pressure, but also diplomatic opportunity, to try to get russia to fulfill the commitments that it made in minsk. the agreement signed by russia by separatists, by ukraine on september 5th and elaborated on september 19th, is a good and fair deal. but it requires the return of that international border to sovereignty, closing it to further transfers of equipment and personnel. it requires withdrawal of foreign forces and military.
it requires a hostage exchange. so that is what we're pushing for. we will continue to say to russia that if that is fully implemented, sanctions will be rolled back. it's russia's choice. >> thanks. right here. >> thank you. madam secretary, thank you for your time. very quickly -- >> who are you? >> forgive me. david colton. madam secretary, on your last point, lab rauv's recent speeches seem to be resurrecting what putin put on the table back in august. that is that the cutting loose of the project, pushing the costs onto ukraine and the west, they keep crimea, and it's sort of a mulligan. and that, after that minsk agreement, which you mentioned they went in.
the military escalation continued. if in december 26th going forward to resurrectments, my question to you is, how do we test the russians that it's not yet another temporary reprieve a temporary truce? particularly given that sanctions in europe in two stages, i think early in the spring and then in summer, are scheduled to automatically wind down if not renewed? are they playing a different game to get out of sanctions with the same kind of punity they offered us from yalta? >> i have long since stopped trying to get inside the head of decisionmakers in the kremlin. it hasn't been a productive exercise. what we're trying to do is to
make it clear that there is another way, that if the escalation happens on the russian side, the escalation will happen on the u.s. and e.u. side to make clear that what we're asking is that they live up to the obligations they undertook in september. you know, traditionally in that part of the world, nobody likes to fight in the deep winter. napoleon found out what happens when you try. so the question is, can we use this period when fighting is never a good game and the clear pressure that is evident now to have cooler heads prevail and to get back on a track where minsk can be implemented piece by piece in a way that brings peace and security and reintegration? the ukrainian government
understands that if that border gets closed and if they could have access again to their own people and their own cities that there is an enormous reconstruction job to be done, that people have suffered a huge amount. i think they are prepared and we are prepared to help. but not in a circumstance where assistance is stolen to fuel the war effort, not in a circumstance where 500 pieces of additional military equipment has gone in since the minsk agreement was signed, so we have to hope that winter will be a period of cooler heads and come out of it in the spring in a better place, but that is very much in the hands of those who are fueling this fire. >> sir, right here. >> thank you. thank you for your comments, madam secretary. i'm from belarus politics blog. >> belarus politics. >> blog. >> ok.
>> my question is about belarus. since the beginning of the war for ukraine, there has been considerable change in the rhetoric of the united states with regards to the regime. although there has been no change in the domestic policies and his practices. can you say about anything about the policy change of the united states towards the regime? is there something ongoing or upcoming in this regard? and the second question is about the statement of sergeiy lavrov about the rights of russia to deploy nuclear weapons in crimea? what would be the response of the united states to this? thank you. >> on the last point, first of all, crimea belongs to ukraine. second of all, any effort to further militarize that region
will be extremely dangerous and would not go unanswered, i believe, by those of us who also live in that neighborhood. on the question of belarus, i'm not sure quite what you're referring to. we have for many years had an ongoing dialogue with the government of belarus regarding our concerns about human rights, our concerns about the political environment for dissent. it has been interesting in the course of last year, you have seen what we've seen, which is that the leadership in belarus is quite uncomfortable being offered a binary choice, and you know, i remember seeing the prime minister of belarus in september, and at the u.n. general assembly and telling them they had done more for their country in having minsk, the term, the brand minsk, the emblematic of a peace deal, than we had seen in a long time, but we remain open to a warmer, more integrated relationship with
belarus, as the human rights situation improves. we have given some concrete ideas to the government of belarus. we've been able to make some small steps together. we're now issuing visas again there for the first time, but again, it's in the hands of the leadership whether they want to take their country in a more democratic, open direction, and then we would obviously be able to respond, as would europe. >> oh, my goodness. right over there. yes, sir, you. yep. no, no, the person under the cameras there. yes. of course. >> all right, thank you. crayton jones with eir. my question to you, victoria
i'm sure you've heard -- >> excuse me, what is eir? >> executive intelligence review. >> ok. >> you have probably seen the letter circulated, printed in i think it was the zooit, and it was signed by 100 german officials, and it was titled "again, war in europe, not in our name." and the letter goes on to say to those who would provoke russia that remember the last person to attack russia was hitler, and he was destroyed. now, this is coming from germans who invoke the image of hitler. you can imagine the level of fear that exists among certain people ability this going towards full on confrontation, po potentially nuclear. my question to you is are you and the administration really
prepared to push this thing all the way to the level of military confrontation with russia? and if it did go to that, would you consider that a failed policy or is that part of the strategy to eventually go that far if need be? >> well, first of all, i would underscore the fact that the response that the u.s. and europe have brought to bear to russia's aggression in ukraine has been to use the considerable economic tools at our disposal. in the form of sanctions and political tools in the form of sanctions and in the form of isolation. we have not chosen to militarize this vis-a-vie russia. what we are doing militarily are protecting allied territory because we have treaty obligations should nato allies come under attack. it's russia that has chosen the military course of aggression.
we have seeking to change russia's choices, to bring them back into compliance with international law, primarily through political and economic tools. >> one more question. >> please, sure. >> please, yes. thanks for your patience. >> thank you, victoria for doing this. my name is andre. i am with the russian news agency here in washington, d.c. >> andre and i are old friends. >> thank you, victoria. i regard you as a friend also. and a very skillful presenter of the the american position. i think that it's a very important tool which works probably for them than for the russians. anyway, two questions. one, from lavrov and one for myself. lavrov yesterday said you had a satellite in the plane watching
what was happening with the malaysian airline, which obviously is a major milestone in the ukrainian conflict. why are not you sharing the results with europe? russia has been asking for this for a very long time. it's a very important point. secondly, in the forefront for all of us right now, my question is very simple. when you heard the russian economy, and by the way, i have been surprised by observing that you do want to hurt the economy and the people rather than the regime. and you've just described why, because you want the people to rebel, which is called regime change, but when you hurt the russian economy, do you harm or help the ukrainian economy?
thank you. >> andre, first to your point with regard to u.s. intelligence at the time of the malaysian airliner's tragic shootdown first, just to say to you that just to remind you that secretary kerry on, i believe it was july 21st, it was the saturday after the shootdown gave a very detail eded discussion of what we knew from our own assets, including providing considerable detail with regard to the trajectory of the firing, et cetera. and he made clear at that time that we believed it was shot down by a missile from separatist held territory. we stand by that. we have given all of our information, including our
classified information, to the dutch, who are the investigators. and to ikao, and we're working -- >> who? >> the international civil aviation organization. so any efforts to say that we have not are also untrue. there will be, i believe, in the context of the dutch case, when they roll it out, they are likely to ask us to declassify some of that and i think we will be able to help in that regard. but the best declassified set of information from u.s. assets is still contained in what secretary kerry said that day. i believe it was the saturday the 21st, but i don't have the dates exactly in my head. we have also been very clear publicly and privately with the russian federation with regard to what we know.