tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN March 5, 2015 2:30am-4:31am EST
menacing nato countries. the obama administration have put hope in diplomatic and cease-fire arrangements but it is not working. last week, i met with the deputy speaker of the ukraine parliament who says that his country urgently needs anti-tank weapons. he needs radar to pinpoint any fire, in order to oppress that artillery. he needs communications equipment to overcome russian jamming. ukrainian forces cannot match these advances that russia is pouring into eastern europe -- into eastern europe grain. when you see tanks coming to eastern ukraine, those are not ukrainians in those tanks. those are russians. there is no shortage of the will to fight, only a shortage of
defensive weapons. at the committee's hearing last week, secretary kerry said that president obama still has not made a decision on whether to send defensive lethal military aid to ukraine. six months after the president told congress that one cannot win the war with blankets, it was not surprising but still discouraging to see him have to shop for defense of weapons and, unfortunately, it has been difficult. i was just as discouraged to read in the wall street journal that u.s. intelligence sharing with ukraine keeps ukraine in the dark. satellite images are delayed and obscured, making them less useful. frustrated, ukraine is approaching other countries like canada to share such information. this is not u.s. leadership.
moscow is also undermining ukraine's economy. today, russia is using his natural gas and other energy sources for political corrosion and to generate economic chaos in the country. ukraine is facing an economic precipice. it desperately needs help. meanwhile, russia is winning the battle on the airwaves and they are doing it by broadcasting out conspiracy theories and propaganda. anyone who is monitored is well aware that this propaganda is offensive, is aimed at sewing confusing to its aggression in ukraine and elsewhere. we are barely in the game of countering this. as i told the secretary last week, i would like to see more administration support for the effort mr. angle and i have undertaken. the broadcasting board of
governors is broken. if we cannot begin to change minds, the struggle over ukraine today will become a generational struggle for the future of eastern europe. ukraine's fate has security implications well beyond its borders. we pass this bill into the senate last year, we were not able to bring it up get it out of the senate, we did not have the support. we have invented this and have a great deal of support in this institution. we are getting back on the air with radio free europe. it is time for strong and unwavering support for ukraine. it is time for this right now. many of these committee members are concerned that u.s. policy
toward ukraine will become too little too late. i turned to ranking member for any opening remarks that mr. engel might wish to make. >> thank you very much. thank you for calling this timely and important hearing. i want to acknowledge the ukrainian participants in the audience. ambassador , welcome back. we thank you for testifying today. i have had the pleasure of working with ear and i am a fan of your hard work, knowledge, and tenacity. in ukraine the events of the past year and the ongoing russian aggression threatened the security and stability of the entire region and undermined decades of american commitment to investment in europe.
this is a threat to the whole international order. today, we face great questions. what can and should be done and who should contribute to solving this problem. the u.s. is providing substantial assistance to the government of ukraine, including billions of dollars in loan guarantees and nonlethal military aid. we have posed sanctions on russia. we sanctions officials supporting russia's economy. we have seen results. russia's economy has been taking on water and this is only been magnified by the recent dip in oil prices. these policies are good but only up to a point. they do not go far enough, and my opinion. russia's military gains in ukraine have slowed, but vladimir putin continues to grab land in violation of the minsk cease-fire agreement, which mandates that russia supported rebels pull back forces.
the government in kiev has admitted to reform the leaders struggle every day to preserve sovereignty. while financial assistance has cap ukraine's economy afloat they still confront a bleak economic outlook and they are on the precipice of a financial meltdown. when ukraine gave up its nuclear arsenal in 1994, the united states made a commitment to help protect ukrainian territorial integrity. i can then was also made by russia, uk's, china, and others. our commitment is being tested. let me also say that i think nato made a grave mistake in 2008 when it refused to admit ukraine and georgia into nato. i know that germany and france try to push it, and i think we are paying the price today. i did not think cute and --
putin would have been as aggressive had ukraine been in nato. his request was simple, provided ukraine with weapons and technology to defend itself. specifically, ukraine needs antitank missiles to protect itself against rebels attacking with heavy russian supplied armor, ukraine needs longer-range battery radar to pinpoint attacking artillery and tanks, not to win a protracted war against russia's military. ukraine needs better communication technology to deal with russian efforts to jam their signals not to advance on moscow. i was laughing at that conference in europe to hear the russian foreign minister denying
the russian troops were in ukraine, saying it was just ukrainian rebels. lies, lies, and more lies. i have spoken on the house floor, calling on the government to supply defensive weapons to ukraine. mr. chairman, i know you agree with me, ukraine is not going to win a war against russia. but it can impose on vladimir putin's aggression and slow russia's advances. it has a chance to remain on its feet when all is said and done, if it cannot impose a greater cost on puritans in aggression and slow russia's advances. the administration along with the vast majority of our european allies has resisted providing such assistance. to be sure there are risks involved, but there are also risks and allowing cute and to continue aggression in -- putin to continue aggression and ukraine. if russia's aggression on the
west reaches the frontiers of our nato allies, the dangers to europe increased tremendously the dangers to the nato alliance increased tremendously. in december, congress unanimously passed the ukraine freedoms were act. this legislation authorized the provision of lethal defensive aid. i was out to lead efforts to pass this legislation and happy that obama signed it. i have been disappointed that the administration has not used tools provided. it is time to ask hard questions. are we willing to stand up to aggression before he kills more people? further destabilize his europe? threatens our allies? or are the risks so great that we will simply cut our losses yet go time passes, our options
grow fewer and less effective. that is why i am announcing my plan to introduce new legislation. it will offer ukraine greater assistance on a variety of fronts. able die let the pressure on vladimir putin for his destabilizing policies it will send a clear message that the united states stands the people of ukraine against russian aggression. i look forward to working with chairman royce and other colleagues as a move ahead with this effort. finally, let me add that our european allies need to confront these same questions of strategy and political will. in my view, wealthy country such as germany, france, and others have a lot more skin in the game, economically and strategically, they should be doing more to assist ukraine on the economic front and they seen even less willing than we are to provide even military assistance. they should double down, take deep and ensure that ukraine does not endure financial
meltdown. this of the win-win keeping ukraine sovereign in preventing even greater catastrophe on the eu border. the people of ukraine are watching, the government and kiev is watching, and the whole world is watching. we cannot sit idly by and allow vladimir putin to continue his aggression. again, thank you for appearing today. i look forward to your testimony. >> this morning we are pleased to be in joined by ambassador nuland. ambassador nuland served as the department of states spokesperson. she also serves as the united states permanent representative to the nato from 2005-2008. she focused heavily on nato -russia issues during that pe riod.
the witnesses prepared statement will be made part of the record. members will have five days to submit any statements, any questions. which we will ask to respond to in writing. if you would please summarize the remarks in the bogota questions. >> thank you very much. the me also take the opportunity to say that we share outrage over the murder of bores that soft. the outpouring of concern from congress demonstrates bipartisan respect for those in russia and across the region who are working for reform, clean
government, justice, and dignity. ukraine is central to our effort for a europe at peace. with your permission, i would like to focus on three areas in particular. first on the hard work ukraine is doing with international support to build a more democratic independent european country. second, i will address the opportunities that russia has to implement the minsk agreement. finally, i will touch briefly on three other new threats to european security that we are working on to it energy vulnerability, for corruption, and propaganda, as noted by the chairman that the ukraine conflict also brings into high relief. first, a quick reminder on why we are here. for months ago, the kiev erected
in peaceful protest by ordinary ukrainians who were fed up with the sleazy, corrupt regime that was bent on cheating its people of their democratic choice for a more european future. they braved frigid temperatures, beatings, and sniper bullets. ultimately, the leader of that regime fled the country and then he was voted out by the parliament including most members of his own party, and that ukraine again to forge a new nation on its own terms. i want to take a small opportunity to highlight the very hard work that your counterparts in the new ukrainian government have undertaken just as they were defeated in november. it has been a beehive of activity, passing laws to tackle corruption in the public and private sector, to reduce government inefficiency, to strengthen the banking system, to clear the energy sector to establish a new police service to improve the climate for
business and attract new investments. it is also moving forward a political centralization to give the ukrainian region more authority. these reforms have been politically difficult, but they've also stabilize the economy. they will also support the swiftest -- swift disbursement of international support. i can ask you to imagine what it would have been like if you have been asked to pass that much legislation that quickly. as ukraine has stood up, we have stood with her. this past year, the u.s. provided almost $355 million in assistance to aid ukraine's citizens to help fight corruption to strengthen the ukrainian border guard. $180 million in security sport alone to support political
reforms, elections, and clean government. there is more on the way. as senators kerry has high, the budget includes a request of $513.5 million to build on these efforts. we are working with europe, ukraine, and the imf to support the economy. this includes a new $1 billion u.s. loan guarantee and up to another $1 billion later in 2015 if you and we agreed that the conditions warrant and if ukraine is able to meet its reform target. this brings me to my second point. even as ukraine has begun building a peaceful, democratic, independent nation across 94% of its territory, crimea and eastern he ukraine -- eastern
ukraine has suffered a reign of terror. crimea remains under eu legal annexation and human rights abuses are the norm, not the exception. this includes tartar's, ukrainians who will not give up passports, and lgbt citizens. russia and its separatist puppets have unleashed unspeakable violence and pillaged hundreds of heavy weapons and troops. a commercial airliner was shot down. the airport was obliterated. ukrainian pilot languishes in a moscow jail on date to of her hunger strike. as of the minsk cease-fire lines, cells of separatist six days after the cease-fire was signed. 1.7 million ukrainians have been forced out of their homes and over 6000 have lost their lives.
the united states and the eu have worked to impose successive rounds of tough anxious including deep sectoral sanctions on russia and its separatist and cronies as the cost for these actions. those sanctions are biting deeply on the russian economy. our unity with europe and ukraine remains the cornerstone of our policy towards this crisis and a fundamental element of our strength in a standing up to russian aggression. it is in that spirit that we salute the efforts of german chancellor merkel and the french president and minsk on february 12 to meet with president pugin to and -- president pugin to and fighting and the ease. the minsk passage of agreement september 5, and february 12, implementing agreement offered the promise of peace and
disarmament, political normalization and decentralization in eastern ukraine, and along with the return of ukraine's state sovereignty and border control in the east. for some and ukraine, conditions have already begun to improve. in parts of the east, the guns have been silenced and the osce has begun to gain access. the picture is very mixed. just today, we have osce reports of new heavy shelling from separatist positions around the airport and in the towns outside mary opel, including reports of a new 17th russian convoy going over the border from russia and ukraine with no opportunity for ukraine or the icrc to inspect the convoy, and we all know what they have contained in the past. in the coming days, here is what
we and our partners have to see. we need to see a complete cease-fire all along the cease-fire line in eastern ukraine. we have to have full access to the zone for monitoring, and we have to see a full pullback of heavy weapons. if a fully implement it, these steps will bring peace to eastern ukraine for the first time in almost one year. they will also allow for the implementation of the following steps. namely access for ukraine to its citizens in the east income as they can begin a political dialogue, they can begin real work with their own population and eventually so we can see that international border closed. as we have long said, the united's dates will start to roll back sanctions on russia when the minsk agreement is fully implemented and so will our european partners. we will judge russia by its
actions, not as words. we have already begun this week intensive consultations with our european partners on further sanctions pressures should russia continue fueling the fire in the east of ukraine or in other parts of the country failed to implement minsk or grab morland, as we saw. finally, just a quick note to remind that traditional military forces is only one of the threats to european security that we are working on. there are others including energy dependency from single unreliable source, the cancer of corruption, and the prevalence of the pervasive propaganda campaign, where truth is an obstacle. we are working across all of those fronts to harden european resilience to these new threats. just briefly and there is more in my longer statement, on energy security, project by project, we are working with the unit -- european union to change energy landscapes and make it more secure, resilient, and
diverse. on corruption, we are working with civil society in business communities across the central and eastern europe and the balkans to close the space for dirty money to go in and undercut democratic institutions and -- on russia's propaganda we are working with the board of governors to ramp up efforts to counter lies with troops. we are also requesting with a $20 million in foreign assistance and public diplomacy funds for state department programs to counter russian propaganda. mr. chairman, is the ranking member, members of this committee, america's investment in the ukraine is about far more than protecting the choice of a single democratic european country. it is about protecting the rules -based system across europe and globally, it is about seeing no to borders changed by force, to be countries intimidating small
and to demanding influence. it is also about protecting the promise of the europe at peace. i think each of you and this committee as a whole for its bipartisan support and commitment to these policies. thank you very much, i look forward to your questions. >> thank you, ambassador nuland. as a mentioned in my opening statement, i have concerns that our intelligence sharing is only when it comes ukraine. i know we cannot get into details, but do you believe that our intelligence sharing with ukrainians is robust enough for them to protect of themselves? we get the information from them about the struggle they are having -- we know the canadians are trying to assist -- but, you know, at the end of the day they have to prevail against these russian-backed rebel forces and russian forces that are on their territory with
tanks? >> in this unclassified setting, let me say that our intelligence corporation with ukraine as well as with the ukrainians -- ukrainian intelligence services and armed forces has been improved over time. there are certain constraints as you know. we are continuing to look at what more we can do in a manner that protects our own assets and that we are sure will be used properly. >> let me ask you another question, because, i notice from the head of nato, to the director of national intelligence, to the new defenses secretary, it seems like nearly every u.s. official supports providing defenses weapons to the ukrainians. and indeed, a letter from many members of congress including myself, mr. engel, will soon go to the president on this subject.
where are we on this decision? because the president of ukraine continues his appeal to us obviously. >> thank you, mr. chairman. as i mentioned, as you know, we have provided $118 million in security and order assistance unit to date, this is all in the defensive, nonlethal area. but some is on the high and of defensive, including the radar batteries we were able to provide over the last few months, which ukrainians report to us have saved lives, particularly in the most intensive complex around the airport. with regard to the question of providing more legal assistance as i testified last week, that question is still under discussion, and the president has not made a decision.
>> and want to get back to this issue of russian tanks. that are firing on cities don -- and on ukrainian positions, if they cannot get precision anti-tank missiles or weapons to use on the ground, there isn't the capability to stop those tanks. we are not talking about transferring office of weaponry like tanks or selling those who ukraine, what we are talking about our weapons that are purely defensive, but are absolutely necessary if there is going to be any credible deterrence to what the russians are doing town by town now in the east, the request here isn't for more like is our meals, you know, or, i saw the inventory of what we sent them -- when they are requesting is quite resize -- defensive weaponry that will allow them to hold positions.
>> mr. chairman, these issues are still under review, including the types of equipment that you note, which would respond directly to some russian supplies. just to save for the record some of what we are seeing, we have since december seen russians transfer hundreds of pieces of military equipment to row -- pro-russian separatists. >> part of the point i am making is that is not all being transferred to russian separatists. there is no way that separatists are in those tanks. they are not the tankers. they are not driving the tanks. those are russian soldiers driving this tanks. i would just make the point to not decide is to decide. >> understood. >> that is the point we make. lastly for your observation on the broadcasting, i just want to
make the point in terms of the dysfunction. yesterday, it was reported that the new ceo of the agency is resigning his post after six weeks on the job. now we know, we know the problems that staff and others have had over at the bbt. we have heard from our former secretary of state, secretary clinton, that the agency is defunct. it is defunct. myself and mr. engel and other members of this committee put in a lot of time and effort working with those and have very real interests and reforming this, getting a consensus, that legislation is necessary to get his agency back up to the business that it did very well. you know, and the 1980's, in terms of disseminating information into russia and into eastern europe. that legislation needs to have
support from the administration and i would just leave you with that request, ambassador. >> may i just quickly respond -- as you know, i secretary kerry said, we join you in supporting reform of the bbt -- ebg -- bbg. i want to shout out to them and their affiliates for the work they have done to counter russian propaganda and to support broadcasting and ukraine. they have devoted $22.6 million to russian language programming, 104% increase in spending, they are now launching a half hour new russian language program which helps fill the gap in clean news being pulled down by broadcasters all across the periphery of russia and parts of the russian speaking populations
in ukraine are also receiving it, and they are now reaching about 6.6 million viewers. so, they have been in good partners to us and our budget request us in doing more together. >> we follow that very closely. we also are in consultation with those in theater about the effectiveness and trust us when we say that reforming the bbt is necessary at this time, we have to be able to take decisive actions to get things back up and running the way it worked effectively in the 1980's. i will go to mr. engel for his questions. >> thank you, mr. chairman and that of secretary. let me also but my weight behind what our chairman has said. i agree with every word he has said. i want to read you the first part of a report from radio free
europe yesterday. i want you to comment on it. u.s. commanders sent 12,000 russian soldiers to the ukraine the u.s. military estimates that 12,000 russian soldiers are supporting pro-moscow separatists in eastern europe grain, army commander said the russian forces made up military advisers, weapons operators and combat troops, he has also sent a 9000 russian troops are in crimea which moscow -- he said in would increase the stakes for vladimir putin at home. he added that when mother start seeing sons come home dad, the price goes up. and support for vladimir putin begins to shrink. ukraine wants counter fire capability and something that can stop a russian tank. the white house still has not decided whether to send arms to
ukraine. and hodges wanted a diplomatic solution. he also says the u.s. lines to train three battalions. battalions of an what on hold to see if a cease-fire deal will be fully implement it. general martin dempsey of the chief of staff's also voiced support for ukraine on march 3 speaking before a senate arms services committee. dempsey said washington should consider providing kiev with arms through nato. he says vladimir putin's ultimate goal is to destabilize ukraine. barack obama and european leaders have agreed that a strong reaction would be necessary if the minsk cease-fires violated. it is almost like when i was a little boy. his mother would say, i am going to count to three.
you'd better have it done when it is three. and she would go one, two, two and a quarter, two and a half, two and three quarters. she would give it more time. that seems to me what they are doing. we are so waiting and hoping that things happen that putin just looks at this as a sign of weakness. i think the strongest thing we can do now is to provide kiev defensive lethal weapons. ambassador nuland: thank you mr. ranking member. obviously this hearing gives us an opportunity for all of you on both sides of the aisle to register your views on this important subject. i would say as i said in my testimony that we are watching very intensively whether or not the february 12 agreements are implemented. i cited some concerns already today following on the vicious taking. as i said we have other tools in
our arsenal, including deepening of the sanctions. we are in consultation with our allies now on how that would go if we see more violations. mr. engel: in your written testimony -- statement, you mentioned, i'm quoting you, in the coming days, quote, not weeks or months, we need to see full unfettered access to the whole conflict zone, including the territory for osce monitors. does this include territory along the boarder with russia? will we press for osce's ability to inspect the so-called humanitarian convoys regularly entering the ukraine from russia? ambassador nuland: we have been pressing for that. in particular the two border posts that osce has been able to monitor on the border. unfortunately, these convoys seem to find roads, 10 kilometers north or 10 kilometers south of where the osce monitors are and just wing right by. the minsk implementation called
for monitoring and verification of cease-fire along the internal line as well as these pullbacks with heavy weapons. what is required by the agreement is not simply to see tanks and artillery pieces on roads moving back, but to be able to count them, to be able to see them in permanent storage, to be able to come back on a regular basis to ensure that they haven't moved or been reemployed elsewhere, but also eventually to have access to the entire axis area, that will certainly be necessary if the political pieces of minsk are to be implemented. new elections, etc., so we can be sure it is free and fair and osce elements can get in. mr. engel: let me ask you one final question. i'm really concerned that the minsk implementation agreement does not provide ukraine control over its own border with russia
until the end of this year following constitution reform in ukraine that is acceptable to russia. can you allay my fears and help me make sense of this? ambassador nuland: you are correct, mr. ranking member, that the way the implementation agreement was sequenced on february 12, restoring ukrainian sovereignty on the eastern border is the last item and it doesn't happen until the end of 2015, but as i said in my statement, we are also firm with our allies and partners that means we will not be rolling back sanctions on russia until minsk is fully implemented. that is part of what we have. the ukrainians, as you know, are in the process of working intensively now to reform the constitution. taken new steps to accelerate that work, including this bill that i mentioned to provide greater powers to the regions
even in advance of constitutional reform. so we are cautiously optimistic with european and u.s. help there will be constitutional reform in ukraine in 2015 that will meet the standards. and we'll see whether the separatists are willing to work with the government and whether we actually have elections and new eastern ukrainian authorities who can work on decentralization there. mr. engel: thank you. i think you hear my frustrations, the chairman's frustrations. thank you personally for your hard work and your good work. thank you. ms. ros-lehtinen: thank you very much, mr. engel. i'll recognize myself. madam ambassador, many members of our committee will continue to hammer the obama administration on this damaging and unnecessary and senseless delay in providing the lethal aid ukraine so desperately needs. you'll continue to hear this line of questioning, because despite this fragile cease-fire, ukraine continues to suffer
casualties at the hands of separatists backed by moscow and the ukraine government fears that putin's thugs are simply using this opportunity, this cease-fire, to regroup their forces in preparation of yet another offensive. ukraine is in such tragic need of lethal aid from the u.s., and as you have heard, both the head of our nation's intelligence community and the head of our defense department agree. yet just last week secretary kerry testified before our committee, as you have heard from the chairman and the ranking member, that no decision on lethal aid has been made yet. and so we ask and continue to ask, what is the hold up? our allies need our assistance now. enough with the excuses. what part of the interagency process is the decision lethal aid for ukraine currently stalled? does the department -- state
department believe that the united states should send lethal aid to ukraine? yes or no. and you said that the president has not made a decision yet, but you didn't say what you believe and what the state department believes. i would like to hear that. also, the act and list, the tragic murder a few days ago of the russian opposition leader came just days, as we know, as he was about to publish evidence of the russian military in ukraine. have his murderers been sanctioned as human rights violators under the act? and can you give us an update on the progress or lack thereof of adding names on that act so we can sanction those violators? and also secretary kerry has said that russian foreign minister lied to his face about russian involvement in ukraine.
what is the extent of russian involvement? are russian solders in ukraine? are we prepared to say that? participating in the conflict? and on the 1-2-3 agreement, i'll ask you to give me written responses to these because there's a series of questions. i have been advocating for the administration to withdraw from the u.s.-russia nuclear cooperation agreement, the 1-2-3 agreement to prevent the potential future use of u.s. nuclear technology and assistance against our own interests. and given putin's continued aggression, will the administration suspend the russia 1-2-3 agreement? lastly, i have been critical how the administration plans on using funds to provide democracy and human rights in russia especially after 2012 when putin kicked out usaid from russia. please update the committee on what the administration plans to
do with that money that is been left over from the russia -- u.s.-russia investment fund. ambassador nuland: that's a lot, congresswoman. let me go a through them quickly. thank you for letting me take the 1, 2, 3 question in writing. i want to make sure we get it right. with regard to the process, the president did ask agencies for recommendations and advice. those recommendations and advice have gone forward to him. i think you will forgive me if i take the same position my secretary took when he was here that we will provide that advice confidentially and i'll decline to speak to in an open hearing. with regard to the brutal murder of boris nemtsov, i think you know before this we had met our annual statutory requirement to provide more names under the legislation, but that was before this event.
so as we look at our list at the end of this year, we will see what we can learn about who the perpetrators are. we have made absolutely clear publicly and privately to the russian federation that the international community will expect an investigation that meets international standards and that finds not only the shooter but the orderer of the murder. ms. ros-lehtinen: not headed by putin. i know my time is expiring, but if we were to add -- aggressively add more names to that list of human rights violators, i think that we would see a change and russia knows we are not serious about implementing that legislation. i would love to get the answers to my questions in writing. thank you. we go to brad sherman of california. mr. sherman: ambassador, one thing i noticed about your opening statement was your lavish praise for the ukrainian parliament passing so much substantive legislation and you compared it to congress.
ambassador nuland: i didn't compare it. mr. sherman: i would just note for the record and maybe it wasn't a comparison, but came very close, that every day someone in the administration urges me to work hard to block legislation they don't like. and 99% of the bills that the administration does not want on the president's desk are not there due to the hard work of your allies here in congress. if you want lots of legislation passed, be sure that that is a consistent view of the administration. many of my colleagues at the beginning talked about how we need a strong policy. who would come here and advocate the weak policy. but we do need to put the ukrainian situation in context. we seem to face unlimited challenges, china, south china
sea, afghanistan, some difficulties in pakistan, and we have to go with the strength and nuance although frankly i think in this case a little bit more strength, a little less nuance. there's talk about a -- capturing and going and building a land bridge to crimea. my concern is they want to build a land bridge to moldova and take all of ukraine's coastal territory and access to the black sea. a lot of discussion of whether we should provide lethal weapons albeit defensive lethal weapons to ukraine. such lethal aid would have an effect on the battlefield, but also a political effect. these aren't weapons they are getting their hands on from paraguay. these are weapons from the world's superpower. we can give ukraine money, we
can give them weapons -- or we could give them weapons. if they had money they could buy weapons. if the ukrainian government had sufficient money, is there anything that they -- in the way -- looking at the defensive weapons that are being discussed, that they could not buy from some source? so real question here is it can we have the battlefield effects suggested by my colleagues by providing money? ambassador nuland: first of all, congressman, i certainly didn't mean any invidious comparison. i was simply giving props to the -- mr. sherman: i understand. ambassador nuland: with regard to your concern about a race all along the southern rim of ukrainian territory, not only a land bridge to crimea but onward to moldova, we worry about that, too. that is why we are paying such
close attention today to these villages between the seas fire line -- mr. sherman: if you could focus on the question i asked. ambassador nuland: with regard to what one can buy on the international market, a number of the things that the ukrainians have requested are not readily available unless the u.s. were to license onward export, and we have a number of countries, including our allies -- mr. sherman: we are just talking anti-tank weapons. i see those in world war ii movies. ambassador nuland: they have also been out shopping on the world market and have had a lot of difficulty getting countries to provide in the absence of the u.s. providing. mr. sherman: yet our enemies turn money into weapons with great ease. you mentioned the importance of -- if we could have order in the committee.
you mentioned the regions and the devolving power to the regions, controversial in kiev yet if power is devolved to the regions that undercuts russian propaganda. it creates more support for ukrainian state. is it true under the present constitution the governor of each state is appointed by kiev? i know there are gentlemen from texas that are wondering whether president obama will appoint their governor. i don't think that would be a way to be popular in texas. have the ukrainians changed their system so each region could elect its own governor? ambassador nuland: congressman that's one of the issues that's going to be debated as they move through congressional reform. as you know, their system is similar to the one in russia and other post-soviet states and the parliament is locally elected.
on this issue of decentralization, just to say it is actually broadly popular across ukraine, not just in the east, you know, one of the ways that oligarchs in power in kiev manages things and moscow helped them manage things is because everything was centralized. there was broad support of decentralizing tax authority local policing, all these kinds of things and i think you'll see that. mr. sherman: and hopefully electing your own governor would be part of that because our friends in kiev need to help them, not just ask for our help and they could help themselves a lot by countering that russian propaganda. i yield back. mr. royce: we go to mr. chris smith of new jersey. chairman of the human rights committee. mr. smith: i believe delay is denial and i believe we have a de facto defensive weapons arms embargo on ukraine. and it's reminiscent to me to
the balkans war when we totally misguided fashion ensured that bosnia and the croatians did not have the ability to defend themselves against milosevic's aggression and now we see that aggression to our good friend and ally the ukraine. when you get to secretary of defense carter, james clapper and as one of my colleagues already mentioned and i read his speech and it's an excellent speech that was given by our top military commander, lieutenant general ben hodges, he has made a number of important points, i think, in his speech, perhaps chief of which is while ukraine's defense capability might not necessarily turn the tide overnight or soon when it comes to the military situation, it will make the diplomatic solution more probable probably and that's exactly what happened, as we all know, when the croatians broke the arms
embargo. it was not nato bombing. they were able to break the arms embargo and put milosevic to flight. i think the ukrainians are waiting for the kind of ability to defend itself. they're all saying, do it, mr. president, and he's refrained from doing it it's baffling. when you get two world leaders between september and yesterday publicly admonishing president obama in joint sessions of congress, it is time to wake up, i believe, respectfully, and take their views into much greater account. you know, as my colleagues have said, and i believe it as well delay is denial. people are dying over, over 6,000 are dead. many of those are children and women. you know, and i do think it may even be speaking to another issue, and that is the hollowness of our military increasingly. we are not there yet. thank god. we are on a slope of being
weakened. as general hodges pointed out, germany -- and we know angela merkel has not went with military capability. only 42 of germany's typhoon vehicles are available. 38 of its 39 tornado bombers. special force had to pull out of a joint exercise because there was no working helicopter. a hollow force is a great invitation for vladamir putin to continue his ways. i think the united states needs to step up and help ukraine. i was at a winter meeting and ukrainians -- and while they don't want to say this publicly, just like netanyahu was effusive in the opening speech part of his speech was praise for obama, they don't want to say publicly they need us so they have to thread lightly and on eggshells. they told me off the record how profoundly disappointed they are
in president obama, especially in light of people around him saying please, mr. president this is a time for american leadership. so when will that decision be made? you know, the pipeline took six years and then finally we found out where are the president really stood when he vetoed the bill for the keystone pipeline. what, is it next week, tomorrow? there are statements by portoshenko not to be premature, his word, in being optimistic about where minsk 2 is taking us. there are parallels -- i thank god for the 452 o.s.e. monitors on the ground doing the work but it's reminiscent in croatia and bosnia. i remember meeting them with their white suits on and saying, how many are being killed, how many were being raped? it was horrible stuff. they were brave.
no weapons. the o.s.e. need defensive weapons and need them now. i yield. tomorrow, maybe, are we going to find out from the president the -- delay is denial. ambassador nuland: thank you congressman. i think as you heard in our opening statement we are watching the implementation of minsk. we do have concerns about new firing on the ground in the last couple of days. i do think the environment and whether this is implemented will affect the calculates both on the sanctions side and on the security support side. mr. smith: thank you. hopefully soon. the pilot, member of the parliament is in her 11th day of hunger strike. what are we trying to do to help her release? ambassador nuland: we have grave concerns about her condition. we believe she was illegally abducted across the border. if russia wanted to give a humanitarian gesture there would
be more impactful they could do quickly than to release her today. we have concerns about her health. she was seen by a european doctor last week or two weeks ago. as you know, when are taking in no calories every day matters. so we in every meeting we have at every level, notably, including secretary kerry's meeting with the foreign minister over the weekend, we raised her condition and asked she be released immediately. mr. royce: thank you. we go to mr. gregory meeks, the ranking member of the subcommittee on europe. mr. meeks: thank you, mr. chairman. let me say for me it's complicated. i don't think it has one solution to it. whether it is giving weapons that's going to be the be all and end all that's going to resolve this problem or not, i'm not sure where i'm at on that. let me ask one question. i know we've been a lot on weapons. i think by now everybody's clear, i'm a multilateralist.
i think the world is different. we can't just do things on our own. i think it is leadership when you bring in countries together and you have them work and stick together. i think that's leadership. it's difficult. it's easy to do things by yourself. it is harder to do things in conjunction with others. and that's real leadership in my estimation. now, where is -- and i'm not sure, even on weapons -- i'm not sure where i'm at because you don't like to see this. have we had dialogue and where is our e.u. partners on giving defensive weapons to ukraine and in my mind i'm still unclear what is defensive weapons? what are offensive weapons? whether or not those weapons, if you're in battle, everyone says that ukraine cannot beat russia. can russia takes those weapons away from the ukrainians? but where is our e.u. partners on the issue of harm arming ukraine? ambassador nuland: thank you congressman. thank you for your support of europe as the new ranking member of the subcommittee.
i'm a multilateralist too. with regard to managing our response on ukraine spend almost as much time working with nato and e.u. partners as we do work with ukrainians because the unity is so important and makes it impossible for the kremlin to divide us. all 28 allies have provided -- nato allies have provided some form of security assistance to ukraine. it can take take the form of training. it can take the form of support for the medical needs of the military. the u.k. and poland have announced, as you've probably seen in the press, to start training ukrainians on the lines of the notifications that we have sent up to you all. where the divide happens and where the debate is happening, and there are allies and partners on both sides as there
are folks in washington, is on the question of the lethality of the weapons. so nonlethal defensive weapons everyone has been supportive what have -- what we have done. on the question of legal, the debate is similar. different allies on different sides, the president, obviously, has discussed this with all of his partners. most notably with chancellor merkel when she was here. the vice president talked to a lot of partners at few nick as -- at munich well as secretary kerry so that conversation continues. mr. meeks: even as we can deal with what's taking place militarily, you know, a few folks i have spoken with, they are really concerned with the dire straits of the economics, of the economy of the ukraine. some have said to me that economy and corruption could cause the ukrainian -- this government to fold even before we get further down the road. and that even the money that we
give, some question whether or not it's going to where it's supposed to go, is it getting into corrupt hands? my question is, what is new in this government and its legislation that changes our calculation on this front and gives encouragement because many -- i'm told politically -- all politics are local. that many of the individuals in ukraine are more concerned about the economy and corruption right now, that's their first concern before we move on for that, so where are we there? ambassador nuland: thank you congressman, for raising this point. this is the other major line of vulnerability for ukraine and where we have to shore her up and we thank you for your support and generosity on this committee for last year's $1 billion loan guarantee and then our request for the second $1 billion loan guarantee which is the u.s. contribution to the multilateral effort that the
i.m.f. is leading. as you've seen in the last few weeks, as the ukrainians have started the very hard legislative work and implementation work to attack the problems in the economy, it has been extremely intense. i gave a long list in my opening statement. you'll see a fuller list in my long statement of all the legislation that they passed to establish an anti-corruption bureau to clean up public procurement, to open the banking system to scrutiny, to get oligarchs and others to start paying their taxes, to break up public and private energy monopolies, all these kinds of things but it will require implementation. and most of the economic support funds we asked you all for ukraine for 2015 and again for 2016 go to the u.s. mentors and advisors, our ability to work with them on implementing legislation, help them be public in these things. but it is a long, long road, but they are seizing it by the horns. that's why we've structured our support to ask you for the
second billion-dollar loan guarantee now but not to come back to you for the third one until the fall when we see how they implement because our assistance, like everyone's assistance, is tied to performance. the ukrainian people expect no less. that's what they stood in the snow for and that's what we expect as well. mr. meeks: thank you. mr. royce: we go to mr. dana rohrabacher of california, chairman of the europe, european and emerging threats subcommittee. congressman rohrabacher: thank you very much, mr. chairman. let me agree with mr. meeks that this is a very complicated issue and perhaps a lot more complicated than the black and white alternatives that we have been hearing about today. at one point we've heard that the ukraine desperately needs
economic help. and i would hope that our goal is to do what's right by ukraine and bring peace to ukraine and not our goal being to basically defeat and humiliate russia for actions that it has taken. because if that's our goal, the people of ukraine will continue to suffer and suffer and suffer. back to the ukraine desperately needs economic help, this whole incident in history started when the government of what you call the rotten regime that preceded the current government of ukraine went to our european allies to ask for help that it desperately needed for its economy and the deal that was offered by our european allies was not sufficient and in fact
much less than what the russians offered them instead. and when that deal was taken by the rotten regime that you mentioned, all of a sudden that's when it became so rotten that we no longer are the people -- or the people could no longer put up with it. the pivotal moment wags when it accepted the deal that was -- moment was when it accepted the deal that was offered by russia which our european allies were not willing to do. that ignited this situation. that's what turned the policy type of situation and perhaps the and perhaps the overturn of rotten government through a electoral process into instead the overturn of the rotten regime by violent demonstrations and nondemocratic means of
overthrowing that regime. they could two years later could have kicked that guy out with a free election. they didn't wait. let me ask you about -- ok. let's hope what we're doing now is aimed at trying to end the conflict that started in that more complicated way than black and white. what people are advocating that we send weapons -- and -- to ukraine, the defensive weapons would any of these weapons be under -- do we see any of these weapons becoming part of the arsenal of that part of the ukrainian army that is financed which i believe the third of the ukrainian army that is in conflict is financed by an oligarch, a private citizen who
happened to be a multibillionaire? ambassador nuland: first of all, congressman, thank you. i'll especially take issue with some of the facts you presented here. mr. rohrabacher: go right ahead. that's fine. ambassador nuland: first of all, in the fall of 2013, the reason that folks went to the maidan was not because money was taken from russia. it was because former president yanakovich that he was promising his people. mr. rohrabacher: have you read that agreement? ambassador nuland: i have. mr. rohrabacher: do you believe that agreement was superior to what the russians were offering? ambassador nuland: let me speak to that. so in the same period in the fall of 2013 when yanakovich was talking to the association, he was working on an i.m.f. package similar to what is offered later and what we have now. i was working, as the u.s.
government's representatives to him to try to get him to meet i.m.f. conditions. i had more than 30 hours of meetings with him. and he declined to meet me. mr. rohrabacher: i only have 25 seconds before they cut me off. ambassador nuland: let me speak to the weapons issues. congressman rohrabacher: it's not your time. they'll cut me off in 15 seconds. i hope that what we're doing is try to bring peace to the ukrainians and not to humiliate the russians and there's a lot of people -- and i understand -- i was a big cold warrior as well. our goal is to try to have peace in that part of the world, not to try to humiliate russia again and again and again. there's too many people being killed out there. and i would hope that we have -- that with decentralize, which seems to be accepted by both sides, that that strength of those -- that area of eastern ukraine can remain part of
ukraine, even though you have the separatist violence going on, with promise of decentralization and respect for everybody's rights and an end to the violence, that we can end this situation and that -- that should be our goal and i would hope that we don't get caught up in trying to re-establish a cold war with russia because we have so many people who have grudges and should, by the way, i understand that. russians during the cold war human ukrainians but our goal shouldn't be right now them pay for that during the stalin era. i'm sorry but they're going to cut me off right now. mr. royce: we'll go to gerry connolly. ambassador nuland: mr. chairman, can i? i think it's important for the record to say that only thing that united states and our european partners want from
russia with regard to ukraine is to leave ukrainian territory. leave ukrainian territory with their military, with their advisors to allow the border to close, to allow sovereignty to be restored. and as we said, these sanctions will be eased when minsk is fully implemented. my concern it is the policies of the kremlin that are hurting the russian people now, hurting them economically, having their sons come home in body bags. that's what i worry about. i've spent 25 years of my life trying to integrate russia into europe and into the international system and i worry about the fate of russia citizens as much as ukraine's. mr. royce: we'll go to mr. gerry connolly of fairfax, virginia. mr. connelly: thank you, mr. chairman. i heard my friend from california. ukrainian government made bad decisions and therefore russia
had to respond is a pretty killing message to others in europe, including the baltics and former soviet satellite states. sovereign nations get to make decisions, even decisions that may be unpopular in the kremlin and they can do so without the fear of being invaded and their territory annexed illegally and i would hope that all of us would keep that in mind. madam secretary, minsk agreement, does the agreement include inter alia, the deoccupation and deannexation, illegal annexation of the crimea? ambassador nuland: congressman it does not. the problem in crimea will continue. mr. connelly: then i have a problem with you and your policy. you say the united states will start rolling back sanctions on
russia only when the agreements are fully implemented. well, that means you've conceded crimea. is that u.s. policy? ambassador nuland: it is not sir. mr. connelly: why would you roll back -- why would you roll back -- i swear i'm not playing with the audience. this is a passion with me. it started with crimea. why would you make a statement like that? you're saying as long as you clean it up in the eastern part of the ukraine, we will roll back sanctions. that's what you say on page 3 of your testimony. ambassador nuland: i do indeed. let me explain, if i may. thank you for the opportunity to do so. over the course of 2014 we put in place four, five rounds of sanctions with the europeans. the first two were a direct response to crimea and then in december we add sanctions on crimea which effectively make it impossible for any u.s. firms to invest there. those sanctions will not be rolled back unless there is a return of crimea to ukraine.
so the sanctions that we're talking about rolling back are other sanctions that were applied in smons to actions in eastern ukraine but crimea sanctions will stay in place and the point here is to demonstrate that if you bite off a piece of another person's country it dries up in your mouth. congressman connelly: well, you got kind of two categories of sanctions, crimea sanctions and non-crimea sanctions. ambassador nuland: yes, sir. mr. connelly: if you're vladimir putin, how seriously do you take that? ambassador nuland: well, you take it seriously because there's no u.s. investment going into crimea now and it's incredibly expensive for them to maintain. mr. connelly: i would respectfully suggest, madam ambassador, we need to re-examine that policy because it is not deterring behavior by putin in the eastern part of the ukraine. people are dying.
you yourself in your opening statement documented illegal movement of military equipment across the border with impunity. and it seems to me that you've unwittingly sent a message to the kim lynn, wink, blink, get out of the eastern ukraine and maybe it can be ok. that may not be your message but if you're a k.g.b. thug, the aggressor, in this case, that's the message he's hearing. the evidence on the ground would suggest that's the case. ambassador nuland: first of all, if i may -- and i think it might be helpful if we sent our sanctions team up to show you the breakdown between what we hold for crimea and what we hold for eastern ukraine. i think that might not be -- mr. connelly: state and -- ambassador nuland: state and --
mr. connelly: that would be great if they brief congress. ambassador nuland: when at the come back from europe. in my statement, we have begun consultations this week with our european partners on deepening sanctions if we do not see -- mr. connelly: how many violations has there been on the agreement? we have counted there have been over 300. ambassador nuland: they have been more than 100. mr. connolly: isn't there a -- there isn't much teeth? with the best of intentions, merkel and olum is trying to negotiate with nothing backing it up. wouldn't it be useful to have the united states and its nato partners at least threatening to provide defensive equipment and defensive weapons and training for the ukrainian military so
that's a piece of what's behind the agreements? ambassador nuland: well, as you know, it was in the week leading up to the agreement that the conversation between us and our allies went public so it's very much in the ether here but i think equally importantly is to be in line with europe on the additional sanctions if the agreements are further violated or there is land grab and that's what we're working on now. mr. connolly: thank you. mr. chairman, my time is up but i want to echo, i think, your opening comments. mr. royce:i mr. connolly, yes. mr. connolly: when one wonders when the united states government at the state department decides a policy is not working and rethinks it because people are dying despite the best of intentions and i hope we come to some point where we rethink our policy with
respect to the ukraine and crimea. thank you, mr. chairman. mr. royce: thank you, mr. connolly. we go to mr. salmon of arizona chairman of the subcommittee on asia. mr. salmon: thank you, mr. chairman. thank you so much for being here today, ambassador. to date the sanctions that have been imposed on russia have had really little impact on putin's decisionmaking. the administration has stated that additional sanctions are being considered but without the commitment of some of our allies, some of our european allies oto enforce those sanctions or impose sanctions as a body, the likelihood of those sanctions having much effect are not real great. are there other sanctions that the administration is considering and do you believe it will impact putin's decisionmaking in the near ferm? -- term?
you stated in your opening comments that what's really impacted them is the price of oil. and that it's really brought their economy to their knees. so i'm wondering if maybe it's time also for us to consider our policy in selling natural gas to our european allies. the process just hasn't moved very quickly and one of the reasons i know germany has been so red sent to allow us -- reticent to allows us to provide arms to the ukrainian is their heavy reliance on natural gas from russia. same thing has been true on support of sanctions. isn't it time for us to start pulling out the stops and start selling l.n.g. to our allies in europe? ambassador nuland: thank you congressman. as you know most l.n.g. goes to asia because the price is higher. under the trans-atlantic partnership if we have a trade
between the europeans and the united states then they would go to the top of the queue in terms of acquiring l.n.g. it's a fair point where we could or should do more. with regard to sanctions, we have not yet changed his decisionmaking decisively but we are having a profound effect on the russian economy and we do think it is the trifecta of sanctions, low oil prices and 15-plus years of economic mismanagement in russia. i can go through some of the statistics but i think you know them. foreign currency reserves down 130 billion just over the last year. credit at junk, inflation running 15% and 40% in food prices. so, you know, he's -- he's -- kremlin policy is under stress here which is why it is important to keep these sanctions in place. and to consider deepening them. we have, as i said, working with
the europeans on what more we would do sectarilly if we do not see minsk implemented, if we don't have an end to the cease-fire violations, if we do not have a heavy weapons pullback, on and on, but also even deeper sanctions if we have a further land grab. and we are, as i said, watching these at-risk villages and our sanctions team is in europe this week. mr. salmon: the chairman mentioned in his opening statement that we made a pretty ironclad promise to ukraine when they agreed to get rid of their nuclear arms and to date the u.s. and nato response to the russian aggression has been pretty muted at best. in fact out of the 118 million nonlethal assistance the u.s. pledged last year my understanding is only about half
of it or about half of it was delivered by year end. don't you believe that there will be long-term consequences for the u.s. and nato if we fail to live up to our commitments to defend our allies? when are we going to make that decision as far as whether or not provide at least defensive weapons to ukraine? i know that question has been asked and hopefully you carry that back to your boss because as far as we're concerned nothing's going to get better unless we step up our commitment to honor the promises that we made and my feeling is nobody's going to trust us in the region if we don't honor those commitments. ambassador nuland: thank you congressman. mr. salmon: i yield back. mr. royce: i thank the gentleman for yielding back. we now go to brian higgins of new york. mr. higgins: thank you, mr. chairman. secretary, how many russian soldiers are in ukraine today? ambassador nuland: congressman i am not in a position to give
you a definitive number in this unclassified setting. you've seen ben hodges make a calculation from u.s. army europe. i would say it's in the thousands and thousands. mr. higgings: nato -- ambassador nuland: sorry, let me also just while i have you here say that what we can say in this unclassified setting is since december, russia's transferred hundreds of pieces of military equipment, including tanks armored vehicles, raw systems, heavy artillery. the russian military has its own robust command structure in eastern ukraine ranging from general officers to junior officers, as the president said not too long ago. they are funding this war, they are fueling it and commanding and controlling it. mr. higgins: in practical terms, does that constitute invasion? ambassador nuland: we have made career that russia is responsible for fueling this war in eastern ukraine. mr. higgins: yes or no constitutes invasion?
ambassador nuland: we have used that word in the past, yes. mr. higgins: if ukraine was a member of nato, under the collective defense posture of article 5, what would the consequence of russia's invasion of ukraine be? ambassador nuland: well, article 5 would give all of the 28 allies a responsibility to defend ukraine from aggression. just to make clear that even in 2008 when ukraine was discussing with nato an improvement in its relationship, at that stage we were only at the membership action plan, which is the preparatory phase. mr. higgins: isn't in reality putin's concern about america encroachment and nato encroachment on what was formerly the soviet union? ambassador nuland: i can't speak
to what's in president putin's head. that's a place i don't think i can go. what i can say is there's no justification for being concerned about countries peacefully associating with a defensive alliance. we've said for 25 years that nato is not a threat to a russia that does not threaten us. mr. higgins: russia's defense spending has tripled since 2007. today it's involved in about a $300 billion program to modernize its weapons. new types of missiles, bombers and submarines are being readied for deployment over the next five years. spending on defense and security this year will increase by 30% in russia, representing 1/3 of its federal budget. putin has said very clearly that nobody should try to shove
russia around when it has one of the world's biggest nuclear arsenals. last count russia had 8,000 nuclear weapons. he has threatened to use nuclear weapons on a limited basis -- if that's possible -- to force opponents, specifically the united states and nato, to withdraw from a conflict in which russia has a stake such as in georgia and ukraine. that is pretty ominous. that's a pretty ominous statement. your thoughts. ambassador nuland: well, we obviously have grave concerns about the massive increases in russian defense budgeting over the recent years. it's particularly concerning given what's happening to the russian economy and to the russian people. as i said before, inflation across the country now running 15%, 17%.
food prices rampantly increasing, including 40% in some areas. credit at zero. the inability of russians now to travel because they can't get homes because they can't get loans. this is a kremlin that is prioritizing foreign adventures over the needs of its own people and that's worrying. mr. higgins: i yield back, thank you. mr. royce: we go now to mr. randy weber of texas. mr. weber: thank you, mr. chairman. madam ambassador, you mentioned earlier the body bags, the boys going back to russia, that it had to be tough on them. do you know what the body bag is, the number of soldiers they're losing? ambassador nuland: it's not possible, congressman, to have a final count because of what russia has done to mask these numbers. as you know, they have criminalized discussion of it inside russia.
they have threatened mothers and wives and family members. mr. weber: so you don't know. ambassador nuland: the ukrainians assert at least 400 500 people. mr. weber: they check into it too deeply they lose benefits? ambassador nuland: absolutely. mr. weber: so what's the body count for ukrainians? ambassador nuland: as i said in my statement, close to 6,000 lives have been lost in this conflict or over 6,000, i believe. mr. weber: how long do you think we have before ukraine becomes another crimea? that's annexed into russia? ambassador nuland: well, as i said, congressman, the entire thrust of our policy is stop where it is and roll it back. that's why we've been imposing these increasingly tough sanctions and you see the russian economy suffering as a result, providing increasing amounts of security assistance albeit on the nonlethal side. mr. weber: but the sanctions haven't stopped the body bags from flowing both directions have they? ambassador nuland: they have not and this is what we continue to
try to seek is a full implementation of the commitments that vladamir putin himself just made less -- two weeks ago in minsk. mr. weber: do you trust him? ambassador nuland: i don't think that's a good word. mr. weber: i think you're wise in that regard. you said it's difficult for russia to sustain their occupation of crimea. in your comments i recall. ambassador nuland: i didn't say it was difficult for them to sustain it. i said they were hemorrhaging money. extremely expensive for them to sustain it. mr. weber: maybe that's our problem in congress. that should be viewed as a difficulty. so they're hemorrhaging money. so you don't think that that makes it difficult for them to sustain their occupation? ambassador nuland: well, they still have, as you know, more than $300 billion in sovereign wealth. what they're doing now is using the money of the russian people, the hard-earned money that should go for their long-term protection, to prop up this puppet annexation occupation. mr. weber: so we made it difficult for them to sustain their -- to --
you don't want to use the word difficult. you made them spend money to sustain their occupation? ambassador nuland: we are declining to invest in this territory that is now occupied yes. mr. weber: so they're spending a lot of money. how do we make it that difficult and more so for them for in the ukraine? ambassador nuland: well, as i said, as we continue to watch this implementation or nonimplementation of minsk we're looking at the next range of sectarial sanctions either to deepen the sanctions on the finance side, on the energy side, on the defense side or to add sectors of the russian economy. mr. weber: would you agree we could make them hemorrhage money in ukraine if we're destroying their tanks as they entered country? ambassador nuland: well, they have been hemorrhaging their money on weapons. mr. weber: that's not my question. if we're knocking out their tanks left and right, does that cost a lot of money? ambassador nuland: certainly money down the rathole, that's for sure. mr. weber: and we'd certainly rather have body bags going back to russia than our side of the
border? ambassador nuland: we want peace and an end to body bags in any direction. mr. weber: do you think putin understands peace or do you think he understands force? ambassador nuland: again, i'm not going to get inside his head. it's not a place to be. mr. weber: ok. well, fair enough. if you're married, like i am, sometimes it's difficult to get in your spouse's head. so let's put you over in the president's head then, can i do that? ambassador nuland: you're welcomed to try, sir. mr. weber: no, i think the comment is you're welcomed to try. is the president disengaged, not worried about this? ambassador nuland: absolutely not, the president has been the leader of this ukraine policy. he's been enormously engaged. i've been in meetings with him where he's passionate. mr. weber: he's got 21 months left. how many more body bags have to take place in ukraine before you -- before we send them lethal? and i'll just call them lethal
weapons. i hate the word defensive weapons. i mean, a weapon is a weapon. so how long is it going to take? how many more body bags before we get in gear to make this decision? what do you think the president's thinking? ambassador nuland: again, these are his decisions to make. we will certainly convey to him your concern. mr. weber: ok. your decision from my advantage point is, what kind of pressure, what kind of information are you giving fought president that says, mr. president, we need to act? ambassador nuland: congressman as i said a little bit earlier on in this hearing, i'm going to take the same position that my secretary took when he was here last week. the president has asked us for our advice. we have provided it to him. but i'm going to keep that advice confidential for purposes of this hearing. mr. royce: mr. david cicilline of rhode island. mr. cicilline: thank you, mr. chairman. and thank you, ambassador nuland, for your testimony. i want to begin by also recognizing the tragic murder of russian freedom fighter boris nepsov, who was brutally murdered in the streets of
moscow and to urge our government to do anything we can to ensure the perpetrators of this horrific crime are brought to! -- are brought to justice. i know many in this country are sending thoughts and prayers to his family and friends and colleagues. unfortunately, these so-called tragic events are quite common for those who dare to criticize mr. putin and his cronies and i think it's important that we acknowledge the extraordinary efforts of this freedom fighter. i thank you for your testimony. i want to just focus on the corruption efforts that are under way. as you well know, ukraine has historically had the distinction of being -- dubious distinction of being one of the most corrupt countries in the world. i wonder how the new government in kiev is doing. are there reforms on pace? are we going far enough? what are we doing to support those efforts? are we seeing the tough decisions that need to be made
and the kind of prosecutions and firings and the development of an independent judiciary to help advance the anti-corruption efforts that was a source of so much of what happened at the maidan? i just wonder if you'd speak to some of those issues. ambassador nuland: thank you congressman. corruption has been a country-killer for ukraine. it's also been an opening for malign influence from the outside in ukraine's business. not only because ukraine's own citizens demand it, because the democratic health of the country demands it. this has been a major focus of our collaboration with the ukrainian government. as i said at the outset, they have just over the last three months passed an enormous amount of legislation, much of it designed to tackle corruption, just to name a few things. a new anti-corruption strategy a new public procurement system, the creation of an anti-corruption bureau and national agency for prevention of corruption. strengthened anti-money laundering regulations disclosure of public officials
domestic and overseas assets for the first time, partial judicial reform including a prosecutor general. more to come. the u.s. is providing some $38 million in the assistance money that you've given us for that purpose. we have advisors and trainers in many of these entities. we're also supporting civil society for oversight and reform. other new positive developments that go to the corruption and past dirty money practices they're standing up a new patrol police. the police, as you know, have historically been subject to bribery. the new prosecutor general has issued arrest warrants, new arrest warrants for some of the corrupt officials. there's a new ombudsman appointed. they have cut payroll taxes to reduce incentives for unreported wages, eliminated eight regulatory agencies and consolidated them into one increased transparency of
state-owned companies, made banking recapitalization more transparent. a lot of this is legislation on the books. we now have to see it implemented. we have to see oligarchs and everybody pay their taxes, be immune to special and sweat heart deals. we will watch like a hawk. the ukrainian people will watch like a hawk. the people will be judged by this flokal elections in october. ukraine son the path. they have to stick it now. mr. cicilline: great. thank you. just turning to a new subject, could you speak a little bit what role the ukrainian reliance on russian energy is playing in this conflict and what the u.s. and our allies are doing to help alleviate ukrainian reliance on russia? are european allies able to separate themselves from their own energy needs as this sort of conflict continues? ambassador nuland: congressman as you know energy has long been a noose that kremlin has had around the neck of subsequent generations of leaders.
this government is bound and determined to break them. our first effort was to help them get gas from parts of europe other than russia so we worked with hungary, slovakia and poland last year to start slowing gas flows into ukraine. -- to start reversing gas flows into ukraine. we worked with the european union as they have brokered the gas deal that ukraine wut cutt which was a much fairer deal for the winter of 2014-20 15. we are now working with them, as i said, to open up, demonopolize the energy sector to help them get more of their own energy out of the ground to work on energy efficiency. if you've ever been in kiev in the winter and had government windows open, you know how badly that is needed. about third of the heat is going out the windows that shouldn't. so we're working on all of those things to break the dependence but also to help ukraine get to that place where it can be an energy supplier for europe. mr. cicilline: thank you. i yield back. thank you, mr. chairman. mr. royce: thank you. we go now to mr. scott perry of
pennsylvania. mr. perry: thanks, mr. chairman. ambassador, great to see you. please don't take any of the comments personally but as an american quite honestly i am disappointed and disgusted with the ineffectual and pathetic response from this administration regarding this circumstance in ukraine. let me start by out by saying, does the administration agree -- because we heard in other forums about grievances, legitimate grievances, so does the administration agree with the justification from putin regarding the protection of ethnic russians in any way shape or form? ambassador nuland: there is nothing that justifies the kind of violence that we've seen russia unleash in eastern ukraine. mr. perry: i agree with you. but -- ambassador nuland: however -- mr. perry: they have legitimate grievances, does russians have legitimate grievances? ambassador nuland: russian speaking ukrainians have long wanted some of the things that
russia championed for them language, rights decentralization. but all of those things were on offer first from the transitional government of yatsenyuk onward and now with poroshenko. mr. perry: history sometimes gets lost on us as we go through our days. i just want to make sure that administration is familiar and aware of the history of stalin and khrushchev in the 1920's and the terror famine and starvation of the ukrainian people and deportations and the re-establishment of russians into the ukraine and so when putin says that he's going to protect these russian-speaking citizens, with all due respect they were moved into ukraine by killing the ukrainians and it's important to know that history when we talk about legitimate grievances.
so i'm concerned -- i, too, agree we should send defensive weapons to ukraine. i'm in the agreement camp on that. so does the current posture of -- the strategic patience that i hear about, how does that fit in? how does their decision not to send defensive weapons at this point, how does that fit into strategic patience or is it part of it? ambassador nuland: nobody's been patient what we've been seeing in eastern ukraine. mr. perry: the ukrainians have been patient because they have no choice. ambassador nuland: we have sent, as you know, $118 million in -- mr. perry: defensive weapons. forget all that other stuff. defensive weapons. i imagine you've been to a war zone. i have. ambassador nuland: yes. mr. perry: blankets and all that, they don't stop bullets and tanks. you have to defend yourself. harsh words.
we have to get back to you and we're deciding that doesn't help. i'm talking about defensive weapons and strategic patience where does that hinge on the other? ambassador nuland: i would note again the counterfire radar batteries we did send saved lives. it enabled the ukrainian forces to target where firings were coming from so they could defend support it. mr. perry: with all due respect, that is the absolute minimum standard. it is not going to be effectual. that's why i said pathetic and ineffectual is valid, in my opinion. let me ask this -- can you explain the concerns within the context, the concerns about providing defensive weapons within the context that president requested hundreds of millions of dollars from this congress for moderate fighters in syria? in that context where we'll send those folks weapons, weapons not defensive weapons, but weapons and training that
somehow ukraine and the people that have been there that are more like us than the other, they can't have those weapons? how do we -- how do we reconcile that? what's the calculation there? ambassador nuland: well, as you know, the train and equip request for syria goes to the need to defeat the isil threat which is an existential threat to the homeland. mr. perry: do you find that to be a little incongruent? we don't know the syrian fighters are. today they're fighting isis. the next day we're fighting assad. don't you find that a little incongruent? have the ukrainian people said they'll fight the united states kill us? have they ever said anything like that? ambassador nuland: well, certainly we will register your strong position on this issue, congressman. i would say that $118 million in security support is not nothing. i hear you want to hear more. mr. perry: at the end of my time here, we hear sending defensive weapons will escalate the
problem. not sending them, that will escalate the problem. there will not be a problem because there will be no more ukraine. thank you. i yield back. mr. royce: we go now to lois frankel. we go now to lois frankel of florida. ms. frankel: thank you, mr. chair. i was on that trip with you and mr. engel when we went to ukraine last year. thank you for your testimony. i want to say that there is -- i feel anxiety when i hear some of my colleagues, their unflattering remarks. i'll tell you why. when we were in -- i have three questions. when we were in ukraine, we heard -- i'm going to follow-up mr. cicilline's question, because he was with us. we heard time and time again how the corruption of the ukrainian government undermined the government, which you alluded
to, allowed russia's aggression to proceed. but it was not just the laws. it was cultural. and so i'd like you to, if you could, expound, number one first of all, would you have even considered giving weapons to the previous government yanakovich, would you consider that? and is the culture or the corruption that was in ukraine which you're waiting to see if reforms take place, how does that affect whether or not you're willing to turn arms over now? that's number one. number two, could you tell me the sanctions on russia, what are the implications relative to
the issues that we're facing in syria and iran? have there been any implications? and number three -- if you could get to it -- could you tell us in your opinion what are the implications on our allies and relative to the budapest agreement if we do not resist russia's aggression? ambassador nuland: well, the last one is a big one so let me just quickly go through the first ones. our security relationship with ukraine was -- has -- went through ups and downs after independence in 1991 related to the quality of government at the top. under the yanukovych regime, our concerns not only about the military but also our concerns the human rights record so we were doing very little.
with regard to our current cooperation, we're subject to leahy standards and appropriate vetting of units. one of the major lines of effort that we have going in our advisory effort with the ukrainian military is to root out corruption and infiltration of that military. so that's something that we work on very hard. we have, as secretary kerry has made clear when he was up here and every time he's before you worked hard to continue to be able to work with russia on global fathers where our -- global interests where our interests align so that takes you to the work we do on the p-5 plus one, not as a favor to moscow to the united states but because they, too, have no interest in a nuclear armed iran. similarly, our work on afghanistan, our work to try to
come to terms with the violence in syria, which has not been completely successful, but those conversations continue. we judge they do it out of their own interest, not as a favor to us. with regard to the threat to allies, we have not talked today but have in the past about the intensive effort under way in the nato space to ensure that that article 5 deterrent is absolutely visible, land, sea and air. we have young americans, as you negotiation in the three baltic states and poland and soon to be in bulgaria and romania showing presence. we're working on new headquarters laments in other ways to be able to reinforce am them very quickly -- reinforce them very quickly if we need to. if the violent sweeps across ukraine, if ukraine breaks apart, falls, etc., i personally don't think the effort to gobble countries will end there. ms. frankel: and what -- you said before the president has -- is taking our considerations as to whether to give weapons to
ukraine. what are the considerations? ambassador nuland: without getting into it in too detailed a way in this setting, just to say, again, that we are giving a significant amount of nonlethal security support, defensive weapons to the ukrainians. the issue is whether to increase the lethality. the issue is the kinds of systems. on the one hand, it goes to the ukrainian need and desire to defend against the incredibly lethal offensive things that russia has put in since january, february on the other side -- on the other side it actually goes to whether it goes to harden or whether it escalates and is considered provocative and makes it worse. ms. frankel: thank you. thank you, mr. chair. mr. royce: thank you. let's see. i'm going to yield the chair
here to mr. tom emmer of minneapolis, minnesota. why don't you go ahead and chair this. i have a meeting i'm late for. mr. emmer: thank you, mr. chair. madam secretary, you've already answered quite a few questions but i want to run through something so you can clear this up for me. the minsk agreement, you referenced what russia had agreed to implement. could you please quickly tell me what have they agreed to implement and what have they implemented since the agreement? ambassador nuland: thanks, congressman. first a reminder that february 12 agreement was an implementing agreement on prior commitments made by both russia and the separatists on september 5 and september 19. so the full package includes
obligations both for the ukrainian side and for russia and the separatists. first and foremost in the february 12 package is a full cease-fire on the fighting line, a full pullback of heavy weapons to their ranges by both the ukrainians and the russians and the separatists. full access for osce monitors to that zone to inspect and verify to the rest of ukraine. then on the ukrainian side thereafter -- why don't we just stop on the ukrainian side. why don't you tell me if those three have actually been done in the last three weeks, four weeks. >> we have seen some progress in some parts of the fighting lines. >> we are limited on time. again, the fighting has continued. there has been no cease-fire. the heavy equipment has not been pulled back. nobody is getting access, as you
said in response to representative weber's questions to figure out what the death totals are etc., you just don't have access. fighting how the fighting has continued after the most recent of february 12. you testified that the president is engaged and that the environment will affect the calculus on the sanctions and release -- i am tired of calling them defensive weapons. they are weapons that the ukrainians need to protect themselves. russia continues to violate agreement after agreement. ukrainians continue to die. what about the environment needs to get worse before the president and his advisers adjust their calculus? you have said the environment will determine whether we need to adjust the calculus? what about the environment needs to get worse for the ukrainian people and for the environment
to adjust the calculus. ambassador nuland: i don't disagree with you that it is spotty and we are more concerned today than we were yesterday. the president is very engaged. we are watching this day on and a on. mr. emmer: madam secretary, that is wonderful and i am sure the ukrainians appreciate the fact that someone is watching. but when is it going to get bad enough that the president and this administration actually are going to follow through on promises made to the ukrainian people? ambassador nuland: again, with regard to the promises made for strong economic support and for strong security -- mr. emmer: i want to go back to disarm yourself to maintain security in the region and we will be there. ambassador nuland: we will certainly convey your concern
about this. mr. emmer: thank you. the chair will recognize mr. bill keating of massachusetts. mr. keating: i want to thank you -- i can only speak personally, but the briefings i have had including classified briefings with you and with the ambassador have been extraordinary. i am going to deviate from my question. at least once in this hearing, we have to put this perspective in because it is reality. so many of the questions have been unilateral. it is the u.s.. it's your russia. -- it's russia. the reality is that is not where our strength is. the center of gravity in all of this i think from a military perspective was described by general breedlove when he said our unity of effort with the europeans is that strength and
is what putin didn't bank on. i want to give you the opportunity to discuss how important the coalition is to the success of ukraine. it's my feeling that, without that unity with the u.s., we are not going to be strong in our response and ukraine will not have the opportunity to move forward itself. could you comment on that because it is lost somewhere in today's hearing? ambassador nuland: thank you for that, congressman. i said earlier that we in the european bureau spend as much time working with europeans on ukraine as we do working with ukrainians on ukraine because this unity is essential and because that unity is constantly being questioned and probed by the kremlin. if they can split us, that is their best line to imperil ukraine. first and foremost on the economic side, where it has been
a culmination of our strong transatlantic support for the fees, are strong transatlantic contributions that have made the $17.5 billion package that we have on offer for ukraine possible now without that it would not have been in the four to five rounds of sanctions we had done. if the u.s. had done those unilaterally, we would have a situation where european companies would have been able to back filled. if we did not match with the europeans were willing to do, the opposite would have been true. we do believe that particularly in september -- in december, the kremlin undermined it our unity and our ability to work together . it is not always as quick because it takes 29 countries to coordinate, but it does make us really strong in defense of ukraine. mr. keating: when you look at
minsk and the backend we would not have preferred it in terms of russia's border issues -- and when we are having these other discussions and other questions about why can't the u.s. just simply do this -- is it important that we do this in a unified manner with europe? what would happen if we didn't? what would happen if we just veered off the way some of these questions have been pointed today on our own and just did this? what would our prospects for success be diplomatically and militarily? ambassador nuland: again, it would have provided an opportunity for the kremlin to divide us from major allies like germany and france. one of the reasons we shout out merkel in hollande is they have hours with president clinton.
without that, he might have felt he could get away with it. mr. keating: i would like to see defensive weapons in place myself but i also can't have this hearing end without commenting on the fact that we have to do this with partners and it is a dynamic decision. and if we move away from that, we weaken ourselves. with that, i yield back. mr. emmer: the gentleman yields back. the chair now represent -- now recognizes representative mang from new york. miss mang: a fund purchased -- this deal gives him the assets
to launch a new oil company with assets throughout europe. it produces about 100,000 barrels of oil per day. this is disconcerting for two reasons. one, it is the sort of business that we are supposed to be deterring. and two, it provides for russian control over significant european energy supplies. mr. friedman is not currently subject to european subjects despite his close ties with the kremlin. do you know if he is or he might be a potential target for sanctions? ambassador nuland: thank you for that. i am going to get back to you on some of the details. but to make clear, u.s. and european sanctions have targeted russian public and government assets and entities. mr. friedman runs one of the few remaining private companies in russia and as such has had his own strong views as a private
citizen about appropriate russian-european relations. but let me get back to you on how we have evaluated that particular deal. but it is not a russian government deal. miss meng: thank you. my second question -- u.s. law currently allows for the vesting of frozen assets pursuant to i apa under certain circumstances. such circumstances include when the u.s. is directly engaged in conflict with another country or when we have been attacked by another country. in such cases, the president has the authority to make designations of the frozen assets. should we consider broadening the law to allow for vesting our frozen ukrainian assets? ukraine is in need of cash and this would be a good way to get cash into the country. ambassador nuland: i will admit
you have stumped the witness. i will take that with our treasury colleagues. miss meng: thank you. my last question, i would like to get your impression on russian influence in europe. russians own media properties in great written and russia has close ties with political parties in britain and france, mainly the u.k. independence party as well as a national fund in france -- national front in france. some of the ties, such as the energy relationships are clear. others are more in the shadows. can you shed some light on russian influence in the european media and finance sectors and give us a sense of who in the western european political landscape art process -- are close with the kremlin? ambassador nuland: this is something we are watching extremely closely. i think the russian investments in government top again to in
europe are clear for everybody to see the massive that their new life form sputnik has made in germany and france, etc. interestingly, there has been a public backlash in both germany and france to the kind of propaganda russia is trying to sell and the market share for that kind of effort has not been as big as they hoped. just as in the united states the market share is relatively small. because they want truth, not kremlin publication. the more nefarious money sloshing around, it that is what you highlight, funding candidates and potable campaigns out of kremlin coffers setting up false ngos to look like they are representatives of civil society but really they are representative to the four -- the foreign governments view.
we are working together to make sure that the public in those countries know where this money is coming from. mr. emmer: the gentleman yields back. the chair now recognizes mr. tadpole from texas. -- mr. ted poll from texas. mr. poe: like you, we are concerned. russian tanks are in that third and they are not going to leave. though west pontificated and said this is bad and meanwhile putin is still there. in the meantime, russia goes into crimea and take over crimea. now they are in western europe. when they successfully take over eastern ukraine, they will keep moving, maybe to the baltics.
last year, when you are here, in may, to be exact, i asked you the purpose of u.s. sanctions. and the question -- i have the con -- the transcript here if you want to see it -- is the purpose of our sanctions to stop the russians or is the purpose of our sanctions to make the russians leave crimea? and you answered that the purpose of our sanctions were to make the russians leave crimea. is that still the purpose of sanctions against russia regarding crimea? to make them leave? ambassador nuland: yes sir, we want crimea restored to ukraine. we have designated sanctions vis-a-vis crimea. we talked a little bit earlier in the hearing about the impact that that has had in crimea.
and we will continue to keep those in place. mr. poe: so the russians leaving crimea? ambassador nuland: they have not resulted in the russians leaving crimea but it has raise the price to russian coffers. mr. poe: it may be the sanctions and it may be also the world price and oil has dropped, which may be the main reason for the russian economy. are the russians building military installations and crimea? ambassador nuland: as you know, they have had bases historically and crimea. mr. poe: are they building more? ambassador nuland: there is significant evidence to indicate they are putting new improvements into those bases and new equipment. we can get you a classified briefing if you'd like. mr. poe: so the sanctions have not stopped russians building military installations and crimea. are any of those nuclear installations? ambassador nuland: i think we would like to speak to you about dubious capability in a different setting. mr. poe: