tv Senate Foreign Relations Hearing on Russia Ukraine CSPAN June 21, 2019 1:14pm-2:58pm EDT
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the stonewall riots this sunday on american history tv. >> a senate foreign relations subcommittee held a hearing on russia's activities in ukraine five years after russia annexed crimea from ukraine. we'll hear from former state department officials and researchers from two think tanks. wisconsin senator ron johnson chaired the hearing. senator johnson: good afternoon. this hearing will come to order. i want to thank our expert panel, your testimony was wonderful. i want to apologize for the late start. we had a number of votes. as a result i'll ask that my opening statement be entered into the record. i will have a very full conversation so i'll be able to make my points during questions
and answers. with that, i turn it over to senator shaheen. senator shaheen: thank you, mr. chairman. i'm happy to submit my opening commenters in record and look forward to the testimony of both our panels. senator johnson: ambassador volcker agreed to give his opening testimony and then slide over and let the other witnesses give their testimony and then we'll open up to questions. witness,with our first ambassador kurt volcker, executive director of the mccain institute for international leadership. ambassador volcker was a senior member of the foreign service. his postings include ambassador to nato and principal deputy assistant secretary for european and eurasian affairs. he served on the national security council, as depply ty director of the private office then-nato secretary general
robinson. ambassador? mr. volker: thank you for the pportunity to testify today. i have a statement to submit for the record and i'll try to speak candidly about the situation in ukraine. it's an honor to be here, thank you for that. i want to thank all of you, senators from both sides of the aisle, for your commitment and dedication to ukraine. it is critically important. and if i may, let me just say a few words about why that matters, where ukraine is today and a few suggestions looking forward. why ukraine matters. let's start with the people. ukrainians are people who seek and deserve freedom, democracy, market economy, root of law and security just like other people in europe. the united states has led the development of nato and a strong nato for decades, the european
union has also helped build a strong, prosperous, free, secure europe. there's no reason why ukraine or others in the region who are not part of that now should not be part of that. they have very much the same values and very much the same aspirations. so the first thing is the people. the second is that they are a country that is fighting a war of self-defense. they have been attacked, their territory has been seized, the fighting continues to go on and they are in need of support. and it's important that we support them on the merits of that alone and also because we want to make sure that we are not allowing a europe to be taken apart through the use of military force. we go become to the helsinki principles of 1975, which the soviet union supported at the time, we're talking about no changing of borders by force, no threat or use ofs for, no coercion, countries have the right to choose their own security orientations and so forth. those are principles we need to continue to uphold. if we don't do so in ukraine we run the risk that we will be
seeing them challenged across europe and that would be changes for all of us. if we don't invest in security today we will pay for the lack of security tomorrow. ewe crabe istoday, in the balance. they had a presidential election. their president was elected with 73% of the popular vote and came out of nowhere coming into this. he has zero seats in the parliament. so ukraine has gone to early parliamentary elections and his major task, the number one thing he has before him right now, is to take that 73% public support and convert it into actual votes for his program. that is his political challenge at the moment. in the course of his campaign, he promised substantial massive reform of everything from corruption to the economy, political systems judiciary, and that's what the ukrainian people voted for.
73% of the public voting for him, he also generated very high expectations of what policies he would pursue as president. let me take a minute and say that i believe that president por sean coe also did an excellent job in promote regular forms in ukraine over the past fur year, probably more accomplished in the last four years than the preceding 20. but what we saw in this election is the ukrainian people wanted even more. wanned to go faster, further, more aggressively. that's what the new president has promised. i believe it's important we support those policies and principles and as long as he is willing to continue to advance that agenda, he deserves as much of our support as we can give him. i believe that he has to do other important challenges ahead of him. one of them is amassing the political capital to carry out real reform. another is that a lot of the power structures in ukraine are behind the scenes in the form of oligarches who control a lot of economic assets, control the media, and it's going to be very
difficult for him to take on that system. but taking on that system is exactly what is essential for crew yain to break free of its past and take advantage of the natural resource the human capital, its position as a country of potential phenomenal growth within europe. it these do that. i'd also say that since he has become president, everyone is putting their oar in the water to try to influence the outcome in ukraine, whether it's the russians, whether it's the oligarches, whether it's reformers. we've seen increase in russian media propaganda and presence in the ukrainian media over the past few weeks. these are all areas of concern and another reason why it's important that we support the new president as much as we can. concerning u.s. policy. we have over the past few years engaged in a significant strengthening of u.s. policy. i would argue that we have gone from a period in which time
appeared to be on russia's side to a time in which time now appears to be on ukraine's side. as they are more unified, more of a strong national identity, more pro-western, more o-european, more pro-nato, that's giving ukraine a resilience as they go through this period that i think will serve them well in the long-term. in addition, we have worked hard to keep western policy unified and strong. we in the e.u. have maintained sanctions and increased sanctions, the u.s. has lifted the ban on lethal arm sales to ukraine and that's gone through with the acceptance of our european allies as well. we strengthened the armed forces. just today we are announcing how we are dealing with an additional $125 million in support for the ewe -- in support for ukraine's military so we're grateful for that. so we have maintained a much stronger position, i believe we have a sustainable position, if
what russia wants is a ukraine that is once again part of a russian sphere of influence, a greater russian empire. i believe that opportunity is lost. because the ukrainian people will never go back there. what we also have done is make sure that we have a hand out reached to work together with russia to thend conflict if russia wishes to do that. thus far we have not seen any indication from russia that they do want to do that. and in fact they remain in denial about their responsibility. they actually lead the military forces, they pay for the contract sole juniors that are there. they hand pick the civil administrations and pay for those civil administrations, provide the intelligence services. this is 100% russian controlled. yet russia denies their involvement and instead insists that this is an internal ukrainian matter which we know not to be the case. we have continued to insist that russia release the say alreadies that it seized in november in
international waters. we have urged them to pursue a longer term cease fire. i have reached out recently to my russian counterpart to ask whether they believe it is time to get together and see whether we can make any progress. certainly my consultations with you in ukraine, with the french and germans, we believe there is an opportunity to move ahead again or at least it's worth a try. but we need to know whether russia wants to take this seriously and see -- seize such an opportunity as well or not. thus far we don't see any indication of that. in terms of outreach to president zilinski, i stress this importance, i think the future of the ukraine over the next five years will be shaped in the next three months. how this election comes out, how the president assembles a government and whether he's able to operate independently and in charge as president of ukraine without undue influence of any individuals or oligarches in ukraine will be absolutely
critical and it is important that we know that he has the full support of the united states and europe in doing. so we have reached out significantly. secretary pompeo called candidate zilinski and then-president poroshenko on the eve of the elections. president trump called the congratulate the new president on the night of the election. senator, you took part in a presidential tell gation along with secretary perry and myself and our e. rumplet -- our e.u. ambassador to be there for the inauguration. we had a lengthy meeting with the new president then. since then president trump has written to the new president, indicated he's welcoming him for a visit to the white house at a time yet to be agreed. we hope that is soon. we have remained engaged in a number of ways, our e.u. ambassador hosted president zilinski for a kinner in -- dinner in brussels. he's made the rounds in europe, he was in berlin today and paris yesterday. we are reaching out in a variety
of ways, i hope we're able to assemble another trip to ukraine in the next several weeks. i do want to put one point out there. it's important we don't forget about the people the dombas. they are livering thru a war on their territory. of a prewar population of about four million it's down to about 1.5 million to 2 million. they are dealing with all kinds of privateations, whether it is threats to water supply, a collapsed economy, environmental degradation, pressure on the health care system, lack of freedom of movement, and difficulty in crossing boundy ry crossings between the occupied area and the rest of ukraine. outages of electricity, outages of cell phone service which is a vital means of commune keags. it is a grinding, awful situation for the people in the dombas. they need as much support as the ukrainian government can give them and we can give them and ultimately that's why we need to keep a spotlight on this issue
as you are doing with this hearing. because we can't forget about those people even though we see a very difficult situation in terms of resolving this conflict going ahead. ultimately, what we seek and this has been u.s. policy for as long as i've been involved is the restoration of ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity and the safety and security of all ukrainian citizens regardless of ethnicity, nationality or religion. with that, senator, i look forward to the question and answer. thank you. senator johnson: thank you for your past service and future service as it relates to ukraine. we'll call up the other witnesses right now. while that's happening, a couple of comments. i do believe that ukraine is ground zero in this geopolitical conflict between russia and the united states. and we are really here in support of the ukrainian people. this has been i think a real demonstration of bipartisan
support. i keep pointing out to our european partners the extraordinary nature of the fact that on a unanimous basis we approve lethal defensive weaponry. that's a big deal. demonstrates that that support. and final comment before we go to opening statements, i did meet with a delegation from the foreign affairs committee and i expressed to them my concern that if there is conflict between the legislative branch and the new president, that's not good from a standpoint of maintaining strong, unanimous support here in congress. they have it now. they can main tate as long as they work together as patriots for the benefit of ukraine. so that's -- i think we all need to encourage that. it's kind of the support we need to give. i want to welcome our next witnesses, our first witness will go with -- we'll go to ambassador john herself, -- ewer of the ewe rashe
ray shah center. he retired with the rank of crer minister. he was am bass tore of ukraine from 2003 to 2006 and ambassador to uzbekistan from 2000 to 2003. he is recipient of the presidential distinguished service award, secretary of state's career achievement award. mbassador herself. >> thank you, it is an honor to be here today. i'm tempted to say, you heard hat kurt said and i agree. ukraine is transforming itself to a rule of law society close he aligned with europe and the broader democratic world. we are in a period of conflict that pits the democratic world against authoritarians. unfortunately, president putin is challenging the worlded or order he claims the right to a
sphere of influence in russia's neighborhood, seek it is weaken nay to and the u.s. he launched two wars, against yea in 2008 and against ukraine ince 2014. within the limbs of moscow's operations, they have fought the second most powerful military to a standstill. i just came back from five days in ukraine with general david petraeus. he was imprissed by what we saw. we visited the commanders on the front and the troops that are in contact with russians. there are 2,500 russian military officers leading the war and they have at their disposal over 450 tanks and 700 pieces of artillery. hat's very serious hardware. there's not been a day of peace since moscow's aggression began in spring of 2014.
less than 18 hours after we left the front, russian artillery hit a residential building and wounded 14 citizen. over 14,000 ukrainians have died in this war. moscow hopes its constant pressure on ukraine will force the government to stop building a democratic and open sort oriented to the west. so far the kremlin is not succeeding. an important reason for moscow's failure is it has two vulnerabilities a weak economy based on hydrocarbon export and also the russian people have stated that they do not want russian forces fighting in ukraine. the first means that moskau is susceptible to economic pressure. the second means putin must hide his casualties and keep them to a minimum. the russian people don't want russian soldiers fighting. this makes it possible for the west to help ewe yain at low coast especially compared to the cost of defending or deterring russian aggression against our baltic sgral lies. sanctions imposed a real cost on
russia's economy, 1.5% of g.d.p. growth a year is last due to sanctions. western military support especially advanced weapons like nullify moss cu's tarning advantage. i absolute president trump for his courage in sending those weapons to ukraine. we should consider send manager to them and more counterbattery radar for missiles. these radar reduce ukrainian casual'2"s. the u.s. should also provide shore radar, mark 5 speedboats and anti-ship harpoon missile which is will help ukraine to deter kremlin provocations at sea which we have seen increasingly over the past 18 months. western support for ukraine has been substantial and essential but has not been as agile and effective as it could be. part of that is due to reluctance on the part of some members of the e.u. chancellor merkel gives credit for maintaining sanctions but moscow is conditions tantly seeking ways to increase pressure on ukraine.
it's found a new mechanism. starting spring of 2018 it began an inspection regime of ships heading to ukraine ports. as a rule of this inspection regime, shipping from dunbas, ukraine dropped 33% to 50%, imposing major new economic costs on ukraine. in november of last year, russian ships attack and seized three ukrainian ships. they have imprisoned 24 sailors. no sanction were imposed for the inspection system on ukrainian ships an u.s. sanctions for the incident in the straits of kirkst came late and were weak. congress may played a major role in sanction policy. it should consider sanctioning a major russian bank. the senate has introduced legislation, the defending american security from aggression act of 2019 this could be a vehicle for strengthening our sanctions policy. the u.s. should be able to persuade germany and the e.u. to
drop the norst rembings am project, that will allow them oexert geopolitical leverage over eastern europe. chance ler merkel asked the kremlin to guarantee substanceable flow of gas through pipelines even as this one is built. numerous statements by russian officials as high as prime minister medvedev have cast this problem into doubt. with this in mind congress and what's should consider necessary to pleat the project. this needs to be managed carefully since u.s. and german cooperation has been important. it's hard to imagine them succeeding if it permits moscow to shut out ukraine as a gas transporter. moscow has also been trying to influence political developments in ukraine, especially the ecent presidential election.
they council on election integrity set up a task force to monitor kremlin disinformation. our task force found substantial russian disinformation and cyber tai act -- attacks but there was little success. moscow was pleased that poroshenko lost the election but they are skeptical about the new president, whose response to the passport actions put them on the defense. congress should can't to d its part in providing assistance. thank you. senator johnson: thank you, ambassador herbst. paliak; witness is dr. va. she's an adjunct professor of
european studies at johns hopkins. previously she was a director of research and senior fellow for europe and eurasia at the atlantic council. dr. polyakova. dr. polyakova: it is an honor and privilege to address you today in this important issue. thank you for inviting me to speak. i could shorten out my comments by saying i agree with everything the previous two witnesses have said. but i won't do that. an unstable ukraine means a europe that's less secure and less able to defend itself from future threats. for these reasons, the united states must continue to support ukraine's democratic past, its
future, and its ability to defend itself. the terms -- deterrence of an increasingly aggressive russia must start in ukraine. the kremlin starts to -- seeks to keep ukraine in a so-called permanent gray zone. they continue to destabilize ukraine through conventional and nonconventional means. today i focus on the nonconventional warfare against ukraine, and what the u.s. should do to ensure ukraine's continued progress. one comment on the conventional threat. russia continues to occupy and militarize the crimian peninsula. it's important to know that over the last 18 months we have seen a steady and significant buildup in russian military capabilities in crimea and the surrounding waters. beginning january, 2017, russia began deploying s-400 surface to air missiles to crimea. since then there have been at least five known s-400 armed
battalions positioned in crimea. this means that the s-400 present in addition to other capabilities on land and surrounding water, russia de facto has military dominance over the black sea region and this is something we must pay attention to from our national security interests. ukraine has long been a test mount for russia's growing arsenal of political warfare. this includes information warfare, cyber attacks and the use of energy supplies to exert political pressure. while russian interference in western election may have surprised many, russia has a very long track record of intervening in ukraine's elections since at least 2004, the orange revolution. ukraine's experience is a bellwether for assessing russian tactics that may be deployed here in the united states or against our allies. for example, ahead of ukraine's most recent presidential election the russian media spread disinformation claiming
ukraine's candidates were u.s. puppets and the election systems were controlled by ukraine's intelligence agencies among other colorful disinformation campaigns. in a new and worrying tactic, a russian operationor -- operator confessed to being tasked with identifying ukrainians who would be open to, quote, rent out, their nation -- facebook accounts for disinformation. why ukraine remains the top tagget -- target, russian disinformation is an ongoing threat to democracies including the depocksthoif united states. on the cyber front, there have been at least 15 known russian cyber attacks against ukraine since 2014. a 2015 cyber attack caused a blackout affecting 230,000 ukraine abs. the mall wear used in that attack has been identified by the f.b.i. and department of homeland security as president present in the electrical ewity
tillities in the united states. what happens in ukraine doesn't stay in ukraine. further, russia has continued to aggressively use natural gas as a tool of political warfare. the current gas transit contract between ewe yain and russia expires at the end of this calendar year. this raises concern that with the negotiations stalled, a potential gas cries se -- crisis this coming january that could affect supplies to europe. nordstream 2 is part of russia's warfare against ukraine. once completed it will allow russia to circumvent ukraine. it's important to know that in addition to what the ambassador laid out, nordstream 2 has other purposes. it tracks almost perfectly with the gas transit pipelines in ukraine. this means you crane's gas pipelines are de facto acting as a deterrent on further russian
military aggression. without gas flowing through those pipelines the deterrent will disappear. despite russia's continued aggression against ukraine they have made significant strides on reform. significantly, ukraine reformed its energy sector, set up anti-corruption infrastructure and cleaned up the banking sector. taken together it's estimated these reforms are returned up to $6 billion in annual revenue to ukraine. still, it's important to know that ukraine's new president inherits an embattled anti-corruption structure. e national anti-corruption bureau is meant to investigate corruption but quicks remain elusive. this must be the priority for this new administration and the incoming parliament. until the ukrainian government makes a serious effort to tackle corruption it will remain a vulnerability the kremlin will
continue to exploit. while ukrainian have closed the door to the east they must work to keep the door to the west open. the united states has led the international effort to help ukraine defend itself. this legislative body has consistently authorized hundreds of millions in military aid to ukraine. these funds and related programs have gone a long way to secure ukraine's sovereignty. on sanctions, since 2014, the u.s. government has sanctioned approximately -- at least 762 individual entities around the combined authorities afforded to the administration. this is a significant number. sanctions against russian entities and individuals should continue to be a core tool of u.s. strategy to deter further russian aggression. it's critical that future sngses, especially those against russian energy companies, be coordinated with our european allies an sanctions should only be one part of a broader u.s.
strategy. in addition the united states should continue to institute judicial anti-corruption reform, remain steadfast in the conditionality of our system, together with the e.u. and international partners, should continue high level bilateral engagement with the ukrainian government. i hope to see a visit from the new president in washington in the near future. we should continue investment in countering corruption and support independent media and civil society in doing. so russia's invasion of ukraine has assured ukraine's western orientation. the kremlin has lost the ukrainian people. as ukraine's new government form, kiev will need continued international support led by the united states and will also need commitment to integrity and results to impose additional costs on russia for itsest callaer to behavior. ukraine cannot be permanently
relegated to the gray zone. t sees it as a threat to the regime. it is in russia's interests to see ukraine's democratic reforms fail and it should be our mission to ensure they do not. thank you. senator johnson: thank you. our final witness is james arafino, the director of institute. a 25-year army veteran, dr. carafano served in europe and south south korea, retiring with rank of lieutenant colonel. he's an adjunct at georgetown university and visiting professor at the national defense university. is research focused on preserving civil liberties. >> so this is unusual. i have two thank yous. first i want to thank the zphe for holding an incredible -- the
subcommittee for holding an incredibly important hearing but i think we should thank kurt volker for his continued service. senator johnson: agreed. made five ; o: i point -- dr. carafano: i made five points . one is to stress that the problem is putin. his policies are the chief destabilizing threat in the rejond and we should never lose focus on that and the third is to emphasize what everyone on the panel has mentioned, the importance of early and interactive engagement with the new presidency. to focus on the broader regional engagement in the united states on how many of these things going on outside the ukraine are spornt ott -- important to the success of the ukraine and finally to mention something i think is important, not just to keep the door for nato membership open but that the united states should lead
through that door. if i can just briefly emphasize two of those points. one, the u.s.-ukraine relationship is so important and one on the importance of nato. the united states is a global power with global interests and global responsibilities. to exercise that we have to connect to the rest of the twhomplede three most important pieces of the world that do that are europe, the middle east and the indo-pacific. it is our vital interest that those parts of the world are at peace and prosperous. our reliance -- our alliances, our relationships are key to doing that. often overlooked in that, particularly in regard to western europe is the role of small states. not ukraine is small but small in comparison in population and power to some of the bigger states in europe. but small states are critical for three reasons. one is they often it's not how big they are but where they are. and their geopolitical position is crucial. i think that's definitely true for ukraine which is part of this vital backbone between
europe and russia that has to be stable and coherent both politically and economically but also geographically. the second is, our alliances in western europe are built on the principle of collective defense. collective defense is the choice of countries to decide their future and who they choose to partner with in their future to secure that. keeping the door open for countries that want to join that alliance is i think incredibly important, certainly in the case of ukraine. the third is at the end of the day small nations can actually be net contributors to collective defense. we have that in a number of countries within nato and there's no doubt in my mind that a successful, peaceful, prosperous ukraine will be a positive net contributor to collect i security in the west. the larger regional engagement of the united states in europe and pow hornet -- how important that is. e mentioned the concerns about
nortdstream 2, there are other issues that are important, an important series of energy projects, the fruition of which will improve the entire region not just in energy but in terms of regional -- reegal economic growth, it's important for the united states to strongly support that. i mentioned in my testimony the importance of better u.s. -- pardon me. better ukrainian-hungarian relations and how the united states plays an important role there. also implide the broader issue of black sea security. that's a regional challenge. having that successful also has an impact on the ukraine. finally, i want to mention briefly, the importance of not just keeping the door open for ukrainian membership to nato but that the united states leads toward that door. i think now that north macedonia is essentially off the table, it's time for discussion about the next round of nay ta enlargement. i think north macedonia not only
clears the table but taught us an important lesson. country can figure out complex, difficult problems for their own collective security figure out a path forward. i think that should make us optimistic about the future of nato enlargement. i also think in the case of georgia we have a case study in how you can move forward on nato membership despite the fact that a portion of your country is occupied by another country. this has been written on ex-tense lively -- extensively how under the original charter, membership for georgia is possible, that sets precedent for ukraine. the most important point is, vladimir putin cannot have a veto on who gets to join nato by occupying a piece of someone else's country. i look forward to your questions. thank you again. senator johnson: thank you for your testimony. as we work our way through this, one thing i would like to have as a conclusion of this hearing
is a list of priorties. literally prioritize, these -- the first thing we need to focus on, second, third, fourth, fifth. i just want a quick -- i was heartened by, i should probably get up on my news report, merkel will only lift russian sanctions if ukraine sovereignty is restored. i mentioned crimea as well. i thought that was a good sign. can one -- in one of your testimonies you talked about how nordstream 2 was not economic but all about geopolitics. can you explain what jeremy is doing there? why you would give that kind of economic pow, geopolitical power to russia? can someone walk through the rationale from the german perspective? what we can co-and the harm it ill create to ukraine? >> the argument by those in
germany who want nordstream 2 is they want to build pipeline capacity because more pipeline capacity means more energy security. the argument against nordstream 2 is that first of all it's economically expensive. you're building a whole new capacity, the first pipeline is not fully used, you have this large ukrainian pipeline system. a russian vetting had a report on its website for a week or so which argued that this project was not in the economic interests of russia for the reasons i have just described. it did say it was in the economic interest of putin's cronies who were building it and getting russian contracts. but more importantly from our point of view, it gives moscow
the ability to deliver all the gas it has to europe bypassing not just ukraine but all the countries of central and eastern europe. which means they can play coercive gas diplomacy with ukraine from belarus, with poland as they have a number of times over the past 10 years. and the leader mentioned another very good point which is that the current ukrainian pop pipeline system which shifts russian gas is vulnerable to russian military erpgs operations in east and central ukraine. this is another ke de-- deterrent on kremlin military activity. senator johnson: i think you mentioned, am bsdor, how crucial it is to keep this coalition together and make sure sanctions are maintained, how do we do this? why is germany doing this? what can we do to stop it? i know you have some suggestions on sanctions. >> for starters, the social
democrats in germany traditionally have been rather soft in their i approach to moscow. and they are 100% in favor of this project. of course there's the peculiar circumstances of former chancellor of germany working for mr. putin on precisely this project and other gas matters. that's point one. point two, there are german businessmen who will benefit from this project. but it's also true and this is something which doesn't come up in conversation that much, that there are serious -- there is serious opposition to the project, first in the green party in germany and also in chancellor merkel's own party. mr. herbst: there's also serious opposition to this in the e.u. toward. is notties posed this project. at least three e.u. nations have written against this project. they believe it's working through the e.u. has been imposed by germany. completely inconsistent with the
third energy package of the e.u. and inconsistent with the concept of consensus within the e.u. i in my testimony focused on the specific, i would say, kind of condition that chancellor merkel herself has advocated that the kremlin as part of the deal should guarantee that a large flow of gas will continue through ukraine's pipelines but senior kremlin officials, led by medvedev himself, the prime minister, cast doubt on it. numerous time over the past several months, russian officials and russian gas -- people in the gas industry have warned central and western european powers that gas flow through ukraine will cease on december 31 of this year. so they are in effect sticking their fingers in chancellor merkel's eyes but we have not seen a response yet from german leadership. senator johnson: so bam bass --
so ambassador velker, there's a bill here that would impose sanctions on the countries building the pipeline. what do you think we should do? mr. mr. volker: i have been advised that we don't comment on pending legislation in the senate so i'll avoid from commenting on the specific legislation. however, let me join you and ambassador herbst and alina in saying that the clear motivation behind the nordstream project is to increase russia's influence over europe and division of europe and there are many countries in europe that ares a as concerned about this as we are. so you can look in central and eastern europe, some west european countries, this is not a uniformly welcomed development. for the past decade or so, maybe even a little more, europe has been on a trajectory of increasing its independence.
decreasing its reliance on russian gas as part of the mix in europe. this project actually reverses that trend. so the motivation behind the legislation is clearly to try to top that development, stop the reincrease of dependence on russian gas from both the source and the hard means of supply and i think we agree with that -- with the thrust of that legislation. senator johnson: if sanctions were imposed on those companies building the pipeline would that complicate your job? mr. volker: not at all. in that respect i think everyone knows that there are many issues out here but the fundamental issue is one of russia knowing exactly what it's doing in fighting in yeern ukraine and trying to use that -- in eastern ukraine and trying to use that to gain enflunes.
we have differences of view over nordstream but fundamentally agree with where the issues lie with russia. >> thank you, mr. chairman, thank you all for being here today and your testimony. as has been pointed out one of the main tools the united states and e.u. have used against russia has been sanctions. so can you comment on how effective those sanctions have been in addressing russia's behavior and have they done anything to help resolve the ukraine conflict or restrin russian aggression? ms. polyakova: i can start with that. as all of us mentioned in our testimonies, i believe, it is estimated that the u.s. sanctions in combination with e.u. sangs have cost the russian economy between 1% and 1.5% annually however, the russians have adapted to this new
reality. in my view the greatest message sent by sanctions is one of unity and resolve against an increasingly aggressive russia. that's why i believe the sanctions should be coord nayed by european allies and also with our other allies, canada, australia, most notably, because that sends a message to the kremlin that there will be consequences for increased escalation. there's an argument to be made, however, which i believe many of my colleagues would disagree with that in terms of changing behavior on the ground, sanctions are have not acheed that yes, targeted sanctions against specific russian individuals which has been attacked, the u.s. has pursued, most recent sanctions round, i think have been very, very effective in sending a clear message that there are -- that there will be consequences for increasingest callaer to ehavior so i'll stop there >> i agree that sanctions have
notter is persuaded moscow to cease aggression in ukraine but they have been a reason for moscow not escalating and that's important. but there's a second, to my mind, very important reason for the sanctions, the economic cost is real. over time this will have a major impact on russian economic production. mr. herbst: they cannot sustain a world class military with a third world economy. and we are contributing to their economic problems. and if they're going to pursue a revisionist foreign policy it's in our interest that their economy not be able to sustain a world class military indeaf fitly. senator shaheen: i agree with that, that's why i'm sponsoring the sanctions, but do we have any estimates about how long they can continue to operate with this kind of a hit to the economy? >> i think the answer is forever
because that's the nature of authoritarian regimes. they have the capacity to redirect resources as they see fit. senator shaheen: let me rephrase. how long they can continue with this kind of a hit to support the military and the buildup in the way they have been? it's still >> understand the purpose of sanctions. very unlikely that sanctions are going to change behavior. the purpose of sanctions is to punish behavior and i think that has been extraordinarily effective. but a sanction is a tool just like a tank is a tool. a tank isn't a strategy but effective in driving across europe in world war ii. so when we look at sanctions, we should never have just a discussion are the sanctions achieving our end state but are
the sanctions contributing to the overall strategy? and the overall strategy is to d russia's destabilizing influence. the sanctions would punish and bring together solidarity and for g on energy security western europe. it makes perfect sense. in taking the sambingses away is expecting a table not to fall over. senator shaheen: this may be a question for you, as you look at where we are in the crisis with ukraine, the minsk agreement still away forward? do you think they have credibility at this point or should we abandon those and look for another way forward? >> thank you very much for that question.
let me add on the sanctions point, i agree what was just said. sanctions don't work until the day they do. you keep them in place for that reason. , you addition to that have -- i'm sorry, i lost my train of thought. let's turn to minsk, i would like it to stay in place because they are the most important means by which russia formally recognizes the territorial integrity of ukraine. it is the basis on which the european union keeps sanctions in place. in addition, it is the framework that has everything in the bag, everything on the table, if you will, ceasefire, humanitarian access, all of the things that are necessary for a solution. what's lacking in minsk of the
political will for russia -- they are denying they have a responsibility. i don't think it has outlasted its purpose but serves a very important purpose. and what we have to do, we have to get to the point where russia makes a different decision. sanctions is part of a stralt guy, one piece among many, that can add up to a decision in russia that says it's not worth it, it's not working. and we are striving for through the combination of sanctions, support for ukraine reform, anti-corruption, support for the military, all of these things add up to making it more and more clear to russia that their effort to resubordinate ukraine is not going to work. senator shaheen: one of the things that we have done since in place ve put
legislation that defines a strategy to include women at the table as we are looking at conflict goirks. as we look ahead to a time when we hope there will be negotiations to end this conflict in ukraine, how important is it to have women at the table in those negotiations? >> i would like to say something on that, when you visit the conflict area, you meet almost uniquely with women. the young men have all gone away because they don't want to be drafted into military forces of the russians. young women have gone away because it's not safe and the people that are there are elderly and mostly women and holding down the property. i don't think there is away to talk comb peace and restoration of normal life without women. ms. polyakova: in the context of
ukraine, there was a women's militia group. women organized the delivery of food and other supplies to the front in the early days when the military wasn't able to organize. and they continue to be incredibly helpful in resettling the i.d.p.'s. 1.5 million displaced people in ukraine. women play strong roles in those communities. and in a broader scope about women in conflict resolution, when there are more women at the table, you end up with better negotiated solutions at the end. so absolutely, i think it is absolutely critical. >> i was really pleased to see the administration to come up with a strategy to implement the act. when you look at that, where can this actually work and be effective. you have to have security and civil society and some capacity
for economic growth to implement those programs and make them happen. i think ukraine is the poster child where this strategy ought to work. senator shaheen: we are all in agreement. > senator portman. ms. porter: i heard you talk about -- senator: i was there last month d met with two of the strong women from the previous one was the and minister of finance. boy, two strong women who have taken on some heroic reforms. i'll leave it there. you are right, women play a key role in this. and mr. chairman, thank you for holding this hearing.
this is timely and wonderful to hear from a panel of experts, all of whom basically agree on the need for us to keep the pressure on and to help this fledgeling country trying to do the right thing. thanks to my constituents at home, we have a big ukranian community in ohio. i was over there and still could see the scorch marks and burning rubber. and i have been back several times. and meeting with the president. which for me was very refreshing. i worked well with the former president. but the president said something and i repeated this since in the media. i won't talk about our specific conversation but what i thought was telling, i congratulated for winning 47% of the vote except in the united states of america.
maybe i'm wrong, maybe some of my colleagues had votes like that, but probably not. his response wasn't yes, i ran a great campaign and had all the right things going on, he said it's not about me. it's about a hunger to reform. and that's really important right now. so as we talk about the importance of pushing back on the russian aggression, we have to talk about importance of reform, and corruption. no question in my mind he is personally committed to that and he needs our help to be able to accomplish what he would like to do in terms of truly making the transition, looking to the west, democratic country that's prosperous, free enterprise and pushes back on the corruption. i was encouraged today when the department of defense is to going to have security
assistance. and that is consistent with what we authorized. i raised that with the president and the general whom you met with. they appreciate it and get it. this is my taxpayers represented on this panel and around the senate who have been willing to say we are going to stand up besides this country that wants to move toward a more optimistic future and toward the west. and it is in many respects the example of what we all talk about in terms of the competition between us and russia and two different visions for the future. i am pleased to say that the aid that we authorized first in 2015 through legislation didn't actually happen until 2017, is now there and more is coming. ou will see in the ndaa, there
will be additional ideas expressed there. i won't talk about them in specifics, but all of this panel make sure we get the rite-aid there and ambassador volker you have been involved that we know what they want and what they need. so my hope is that we'll have some good news here shortly. i was on the contact line last year at a time when the snipers were pretty active and one of the things that i think most of my constituents don't realize he extent. when i placed the wreath at the memorial recently for the ukranians who lost their lives include 3,000 troops who continue to face artillery and the snipers. and ambassador, your testimony
was in many respects the most powerful for me because you are talking about what is going on in that contact line, the number of tanks and artillery. it's overwhelming. it's amazing that the ukranians have been able to push back. not because we want war but we want peace. what happened in november and these 24 sailors. do you recommend additional sanctions? maybe an additional company to be sanctioned? the president emphasized it a lot and he is focused like a laser on that issue, it was a attack. ntly illegal the united nations hasn't been aggressive in pushing back. i think we move too slowly and
nato moves too much slowly. what should the u.n. law of the sea tribunal came out and was very clear this is an illegal act. what more can we do? how can we make this happen? and shouldn't ambassador, be a pre-condition to negotiations with russia on any kind of a peaceful settlement? >> thank you very much for your comments and that question as well and address some of the things you said. i agree with you. i think the provision of security assistance to ukraine is vitally important. and it has had an impact on the profession lization and capacity of the ukranian forces. they need to reciprocate. in terms of priorities, anti-sniper systems that were provided through foreign
military financing and anti-tank javelin missiles were important. and we need to look at coastal defense and maritime defense, all of them are very important. second thing, i want to call attention to nato's decision at the ministerial meeting on the black sea strategy, because that was a u.s. initiative to talk about this. other countries picked it up and important that nato be present in the black sea and support freedom of navigation and provide port calls and engagement with ukraine and other states in the region. if you look around, you've got nato allies, three of them, two partner countries, georgia and raine that are all black sea littoral. it is not a russian lake. all of us have an interest in
the open access, the economic development in the region and the security of the region. in terms of the straits, we have raised at every juncture the importance of ukraine releaseing these sailors. in the letter two weeks ago, i mentioned it again. it's critical that russia do that. it was illegal seizure of the vessel and the sailors and no justification to continue to hold them. as far as engaging the russians, i think we have a balance sheet where there is nothing going well. if you look at syria and venezuela, north korea, iran, nuclear issues, you look at ukraine and georgia, there is nothing on the profit side on the ledger and that is a dangerous situation to have generally and more danger if we aren't going to talk with russia at all. we need to keep the pressure up
calling attention to the ukranian sailors and demanding their immediate release and talk to russia because of the seriousness because of all the roblems we have. senator murphy: i was one of the long time skeptics of providing additional aid to ukraine. because in the beginning, this appeared to be as much or more a political problem as it was a military problem. it is important to find what the russian objectives are so we can tailor a solution. my impression is that russia has never and does not to do this day want to militarily own all of ukraine.
they want to destabilize the country to appoint where they can re-install a client government or friendly theirment to be back into umbrellas as was the case prior. that doesn't mean that military assistance isn't vital. but if their ultimate goal is the political conquest of ukraine rather than the military conquest of ukraine, it should inform the way we are spending money. is my assumption wrong? >> no. four assumption is not wrong, but i do have a different perspective of addressing russia's policies. i gee with you russia has a political objective of dominance. it is using military force as a means of putting pressure on ukraine toward that objective. i think it's very important that
we provide military assistance to ukraine to make sure that russian strategy does not work and not able to increase their military pressure in any effective way. this gives ukraine, time, confidence, space and resilience so they can withstand that pressure and not succumb to the political pressures. there is a political point, economic point, anti-corruption point, there is a military situation. senator murphy: i think my questionery is whether we have the allocation between the military spending which is not simply only in the nd arch a but the $4 billion per year we are spending on a broader defense initiative that arises this versus other support for the ukranian regime. i'll give this question to the
doctor because you thought of these other means which ukraine has to develop capacities to fight back against political interference, cyberattacks or disinformation or the ways american help can ease the transition into economic reform. we could talk about using our inancial largesse instead of just focusing primarily on military aid. are we doing enough in those sectors and what more can we be doing? ms. polyakova: i fully believe that military support for ukraine should be one part of a much broader spectrum strategy to ensure the democratic progress. i will note one thing, if you look back at georgia, what we see there today, there is no
steady quote, unquote border between the occupied territories. we see the slow creep on a daily basis of that contact line. and that is what we are seeing in ukraine if we pull back some of our support and russian activities in the sea that focus on these economically strangeling the ports there, is a desire to achieve with the russians are not able to achieve which is to take over the southeastern ukraine line and have a direct line to crimea. they failed because ukranians took their line with u.s. military support. on the political side, i mentioned in my testimony we should continue to impossible condition atlanta on any further assistance programs and the reason why ukraine has been able to achieve in terms of economic
reforms, anti-corruption reforms, energy reforms is because of the sandwich model. you have pressure from the top, united states and other institutions and pressure from civil society actors. they need to remain to put the pressure on and we continue to impose condition atlanta on top. this is the model we should follow and it is critical to invest through the european deterrence initiative. senator murphy: my question is whether this is an effective enough tool moving forward. if we are going to spend billions of dollars why aren't we having a conversation about spending some of that money other than through loans.
i want to squeeze in one additional question and back to you, ambassador, i thought chairman johnson raised an important point about the need for patriotismism especially in a moment today where there is a difficult transition of power. nd obviously, we don't require regular agreements in this body as a measure of the health of our democracy. we fight in democracies and that's ok. there are powerful members of the opposition in ukraine today and very new inexperienced president. what are our expectations of the opposition? what are the ways in which we expect them to cooperate and what are the ways in which we expect they would exercise legitimate opposition? what are the ways they might cross that boundary that we
? ould be watchful for >> democracy as you know as an elected official is a competitive process rather than consensus process. and what we expect from the opposition is to stand for principles and policies that will advance the interests of the ukranian people and hold the government and the president to account. to be competitive in a way. that has not always been the case in ukraine. we have seen people acting on behalf of private interests and great deal of corruption in the country and not really changing the country to advance the interests of the people. there is a fresh opportunity with this election that we are going through right now that will produce a very different members of the parallelment that has been the case up to this
point. i do hope they play a different kind of role than we have seen historically of holding the government to account. if i may two additional points. one is on u.s. assistance and the broader package there. we provide great deal of assistance as well, including through a.i.d. and anti-corruption reform and economic reform. the real big ticket is coming from the i.m.f. and european union in helping ukraine with a fundamentally difficult budgetary problem. and this gives leverage as well. and important we work with the i.m.f. and european union to establish the parameters which that assistance is doing so ukraine is advancing the right kinds of reform. the specked point if i could take the opportunity to bring it up. to be sure, it is a problem, but
corruption is a symptom of a bigger problem which is the system itself. a handful of people have disproportionate control in difflet levers of the country. there is an opportunity with the new president and parliament to pursue efforts to implement antitrust legislation, break up holdings and create competition and this might be something that is done in coordination in in the u.s., e.u. and i.m.f. and make the resources in that kind of that contingent than has been the case to date. senator murphy: that is about the legitimate role -- >> absolutely. senator menendez: men i have a statement to put in the record.
head of last december's g-20 meeting, president trump said he would not meet with putin. russia still holds. yet president trump said last week that he will meet with putin at the upcoming g-20 summit. now that is not necessarily a ad thing in and of itself. if the president is clear and unequivocal about the remarks he makes to putin including our elections, ambassador, what should president trump -- i'm , butoing to ask ambassador what should president trump be saying to president putin about
the sailors and the ongoing occupation of crimea, the conflict, what is the statement that he should be making to him both privately as well as publicly? >> i think that the policies of the administration russia and ukraine have been sound policies, meaning on the sanctions on the kremlin for its ggression.
senator menendez: the response to the attacks were weak and infect tive. the sailors are still in detention. it is clear that president putin will interfere with sovereign states such as ukraine unless the rest of the world strongly pushes back. i appreciate, ambassador, you talked about the legislation that senator graham and i ntroduced. and in response to its activities in ukraine and around the world. the provisions including
sanctions on the 24 f.s.b. ailors deemed and sanctions on russia's ship building sector if they violate freedom of and-a-half vacation in the straits. sanction.hard-hitting and i came in at the tail end talking about sanctions. my view is that we only have a handful of peaceful diplomacy tools at our disposal, the use of our aid and trade to induce countries and leaders to act in a certain way. international opinion to the extent that a country and/or leader is subjective to that and denial of aid, trade and access to our financial institutions as a consequence to move them in a different direction. ther than that, i can't figure
figure out whatever diplomacy tools. so in light of that, shouldn't be passing something like gaska, keeping the elements of the stool together, the energy side, the diplomacy side and all of that, i think putin only understands strength at the end of the day and at the end of the day having real concxds con sense i think it would be significant. what are your views? >> congress has played an essential positive role overall in our policy towards russia and ukraine but particularly in the sanctions area. what you folks did in the summer of 2017 was absolutely critical and i salute you for. i spoke positively of legislation you and senator graham introduced and it would
have a positive impact now. , think for whatever reasons congressional encouragement is necessary both to move washington and for that matter in a less direct way but a real way brussels in the right direction. senator menendez: ambassador, why are we doing this? whether it be by legislative act, i don't hold you responsible but some of these could be pursued by the administration. >> that is what i was going to say. i think the administration has increased sanctions throughout the course of the administration. we are in a stronger position now with more pieces of the puzzle referenced. we have crimea, the straits, we . ve the elections speaking just from my experience, i have always seen a
difference of view between various administrations, not only this one and the congress as to who should be on the driver seat. there is a question of how much leeway the administration has in implementation various -- senator menendez: shouldn't we be doing more? you listed all of the reasons that russia deserves an affirmative response. shouldn't we be doing more? >> we have been doing more. senator menendez: let me ask you this, when i was the chairman of this committee i offered the crimea freedom support act and i advocated to help the ukranians and now in response to russia's assistance including providing lethal maritime assistance to assist ukraine's
efforts to improve its maritime awareness. have we taken any steps to increase its support for ukraine security? >> we have. the pentagon is moving forward with that. there was an announcement today of how we are going to deal with $25 million of that. and the maritime awareness, coastal and air defense. senator menendez: they are in units and u.s. armed forces have older mash units. have we considered transferring some of those unused mash units to the government of ukraine? >> there's no reason why we wouldn't. senator menendez: one of the
things they have to be taken care of at the end of the day. mr. chairman, if i have one more moment. i heard your answer about the president. i hope that's where we're headed. i know he came into office on a strong anti-corruption platform, but there are concerns about his connection to ukranian oligarches. who is accused of stealing money from a bank he co-owned. he aired a comedy show, is that the view of the state department? >> the president has said all of the right things. he doesn't have the power in his hands right now to do what he said he will do. he has zero votes in the
parliament. he deserves the benefit of the doubt and stand by the principles and policies of reform and fighting the domination of ukranian political system by oligarches. we hope that he is able to execute what he says he will do. it's our intention to be both helpful and hold him accountable. ms. barragan: ukraine's minister or -- senator sflor it was stated, ukraine is aware of russia's scheme for smuggling coal from a part of the country. it is being transported across the border to russia where it is repack acknowledged. 'm concerned about the reports
from the ukranian breakaway regions using russian businessmen as proxies. is the administration investigating this trade in coal and mechanisms to introduce it into the international market and individuals involved in this illicit trade? >> i would like to get back to you on on any specifics on that. but i did share the assessment this is happening. russia has occupied the areas and then a number of people with connections are given access to resources, repack acknowledging and relabeling trying to make a profit of this. russia are not fixing mines. but to the extent they are able to extract, they are doing so. talk about germany's
efforts and northward stream a ch is putin's pipeline and trap. a year ago when meeting with ukranian president, chancellor merkel said that the project is not possible without future role from the ukraine. at is germany seeking that they export gas through ukraine. could you talk about that and your thoughts on that? >> you are right, senator. that chancellor merkel has said russia should guarantee a flow of gas even as northwardstream. moscow has been flouting this requirement to the chancellor in a public way the last several months.
both the russian prime minister and the energy minister have said they are happy to do this to send gas to ukraine first if the economic conditions are viable. pro so if ukraine -- gas in russia, have no more issues on their bilateral agenda. that is unacceptable. they want the ukranian firm to give up the court settlements it has won which will cost them millions of dollars. and ukraine must be stable for this to happen. and we know that the kremlin characterizes unfairly ukraine is unstable. moscow has shown it has no interest in meeting the chancellor's conditions. multiple times over the past
several months, russian officials have told eastern european governments that the gas flow will end on december 31 this year. so the point is zero progress. and i would say regression on this issue. and we see no reaction from germany. senator: anything you would like to agree on that? >> germany has recognized in some ways that its pursuit of northwardstream 2 puts them in a difficult position. it has tried negotiating with russia a guaranteed amount of gas transit. russia has no interest in this. and germany wants to pursue the project for their own reasons and they know the consequences of it. it is appropriate we put pressure on it because it is not just us but many countries are
concerned about this development especially those in central and eastern europe if it goes forward. mr. norcross: we need to put and re in the escape act the president does have concerns. the escape act directs the u.s. permanent representative to encourage nato member states to work together to achieve energy security and transatlantic strategy focused on our nato allies and partners and increasing energy exports. and requires the secretary to improve the exports and authorizes mandatory u.s. sanctions on the development of russian pipelines such as northwardstream 2. and we have talked about this on this whole topic.
do you support efforts to reduce natohreat that is posed to countries and we would appreciate your efforts? >> i can't comment on the specifics of the legislation but the principles are where the administration is. you may have seen president trump's meeting with president duda in which he was outspoken on this issue. he is very concerned about europe increasing its dependence on russian gas and looking for ways to work with europe to open that up more whether that is through u.s. l.n.g. and secretary perry was the lead in our delegation or generally. doesn't have to be american gas its king sure europe has own freedom of decisions so it is not a political compromise.
>> one of the things i'm concerned dealing with so many central european countries that aren't part of the e.u. or nato, i think we have all seen the ositive influence of their attempting to. senator johnson: we saw it with macedonia. if we don't have that capability, i think you all agree with the fact that ukraine should move toward eventual nato membership? >> that is correct. and that is the policy of the administration. senator johnson: there are some voices in america that are concerned about that, why would we want to obligate to come to the defense of these smaller countries. we were in munich for the
security conference and met with the secretary general and one of e members raised that issue, the secretary general said we want to enlarge nato because a larger nato is good. it literally threatens no one. i want you on the record we should be moving forward and cooperate with these nations that want to join the european union and join nato. it's a good thing and positive thing. it helps them provide reforms. >> i will be more expansive. but the great thing about nato is that it is an alliance of free countries that are banning together to provide collective defense and deters attacks against them and that is a secure space in which people are
able to govern themselves as democracies from threats from outside. no reason that should apply to only some people in europe. if everybody shares the same values and everybody faces security threats, why should it not be the same case that people have the same opportunity? hat is the basis of nato since the first time it became possible. nato has insisted and u.s. insisted that countries meet the standards of doing so. we went through a long period of time, 10 years from the collapse of the berlin wall until poland object taped nato membership. others still have work to do but the direction on this and the principles behind it have to be crystal clear. senator johnson: nato is a peaceful alliance. 'm bothered by the response.
i have read two resolutions, one we lasted last congress and the foreign relations, we have 60 senate sponsors, calling for the united states leading a strong multinational freedom of navigation operation to pre-position assets in the black sea. i know a number of you mentioned in your testimony, some of you want to comment on what we should do, how strong should our response be? a military show of strength to keep the black sea open to navigation because putin's strategy is squeezing out those ports and taking control of the black sea. >> i would say from a military perspective and i listed several reasons in my prepared remarks that the number one objective particularly in military
assistance and how they are upholding their assistance. senator johnson: how many ships do they lose when russia illegally acts? >> they have virtually no capacity to either have awareness of their own maritime domain or conduct any law enforcement or operations in that domain. and i don't think that's a big stretch. and their capacity is near zero. building up that capacity and taking that open space off the table and making a competitive space we have seen the impact it has had in the sea domain. as bad a problem they have in air defense, that is a bigger problem. but in the maritime domain, there is a gap that can be closed relatively quickly. in conjunction with that, it's not about capacity building but
nato and partner operations in the plaque sea area and having a sustained -- it doesn't have to be permanent but a sustained naval presence that the russians have to take account in the context of what can be done in the nato environment and with region. ers in the senator johnson: senator shaheen has a couple of questions. senator shaheen: i wanted to follow up on senator johnson's question of what might have been a more aggressive response in the black sea, more rebus response in the black sea and that is what kind of a message does it send to other adversaries of the united states who are watching our response on an issue like this to, for example, what is happening with hormuz the straits of
and whether there is a connection and whether it is mportant to have a policy in response? >> i think the great sin was not the response, the great sin was we knew this was coming, we knew the russians were prepping for this. and we were a deer in the headlights. that was a sin. the administration actually knew what was coming and pre-positioned assets and capabilities to deal with it before it happened. in the ukraine where we stopped putin in one place, he will look for something. the real challenge is we need to be stantly having situational awareness so we know where the next poke in the eye is coming from.
ms. polyakova: the russians make it easy where the next poke is coming because the incident in november in the straits was preceded by harassment, detentions by the russians and we knew and we know that russians are testing the waters and when they see no response and know they can move forward and a that's what happened in november and the fact that we waited three months to impose any sanctions that the u.s. coordinated with our allies on march 15 sends a clear message and not a priority to the united states or western alliance. in terms of setting a precedent, there is absolutely the right way to think about this. certainly authoritarian regimes who have grander aspirations for
.erritory are oak the response >> the longer term danger is china. in fact so we were very weak with the straits' incident. i think we have not been as strong as we could be as island building in the south china sea. so i suspect looking at this as chinese policy maker might, they look in the straits.
they went after iran. they have been weak in coming after us. the chinese in the south china sea. it is a very bad precedent. senator shaheen: do you want to end defend our lack of action? >> it is very important that we have activity. end of to ukraine february and we had a visit and i wanted to go and make sure that this attracted some visibility. we have increased the tempo of u.s. presence in the plaque sea and significantly we have gone to nato and nato establish a strategy for a greater presence in the plaque sea. more can and should be done. this should be the sense of the beginning, but no means be the end of what we see is possible. senator shaheen: thank you very much for your important
testimony today and continued action in ukraine. we very much appreciate what you are doing. and mr. chairman, thank you for holding this important hearing. senator johnson: i don't have time to ask all these questions. i may submit some for the record. one of the things we will probably a hearing on, evaluation of sanctions, what are the most effective, what are not effective. i would like to explore a little more of the economy of ukraine and oligarch control and what they have to do to move pass the oligarches and let me end the hearing on a positive note. the improvement in terms of the ukranian military. that came through in your testimony. that is a pretty good thing because they have been able to
hold off russian aggression. and ukraine's economic potential. it is enormous if they can shed the corruption and abide by the rule of law. ukraine -- the bread basket of europe and has great potential. so it is about america supporting the ukranian people. the courage that they showed and votes with the presidents. during the president's inauguration, the comment i made to him, you have the opportunity to be ukraine's george washington. his reaction was, wow! he hadn't thought of that. and i meant it from being the father of his country to enact those very important reforms. you play it forward, the way he behaved in the transition of power and that might have been the most important thing george
washington did for this nation but the important thing the president did, peaceful transition of power. and again, i'll reaffirm what i told those legislators from the ukranian parliament, it is so important they act as patriots and they come together to really rid their country of the corruption and enact that rule of law. i thank you for your testimony, written and oral. this will be continued. because it is so important for america. the hearing will remain until the close of business on thursday, june 20. this hearing is adjourned. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2019] captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org
president trump tweeted this morning about news reports he ordered an attack on iran, then reversed the decision, quote, on monday, they shot down an unmanned drone flying in international waters -- >> in 1979, small network with an unusual name rolled out a big idea. let viewers make up their own minds. c-span opened the doors of washington policy making,
bringing you unfillered content from congress and beyond. a lot has changed in 40 years, but today that big idea is more relevant on television and online c-span unfillered view of government so you can make up your own mind. >> tonight on crmp span, south carolina congressman and house majority whip jim clyburn hosts his annual fish fry and will be joined by 20 presidential democratic candidates. >> saturday on book tv at 7:p.m. eastern we are at the massachusetts historical society in boston to talk to historians contributors to c-span "the president's book." >> john adams is not a democrat. that is the truth.
in the spectrum of the founders between those who -- let's say what they really believe what they say was that all men are created equal. and jefferson, who i don't believe believed that, really said that. we see him as our pole of democracy in the sense of our pole of equality. adams had a fear of the mob. and that's why he came the of all of advocate the founders. >> then at 9:00, "the myth of russian collusion," roger stone offers his account of the mueller investigation and the 2016 election. >> 2016 was the year in which the mainstream media, abc, nbc, cbs, cnn and to a l