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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  March 4, 2015 6:00pm-8:01pm EST

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action or debate on the nominations in the order listed following disposition of the nominations the motions to reconsider be made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate, that no further motions be in order to any of the nominations, that any statements related to the nominations be printed in the record that following the disposition of the tom sessioner nomination, the president be notified of the senate's actions and the senate then resume legislative session. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of s. res. 98 which was submitted earlier today. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: senate resolution 98 supporting the goals and ideals of multiple sclerosis awareness week. the presiding officer: without objection the senate will proceed to the measure. mr. mcconnell: i further ask the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to and the motions to reconsider be made and laid on the table and laid upon the table with no
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intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: now, the president i ask unanimous consent when the senate completes its business today it adjourn until 9:30 a.m. friday march 6 for a pro forma session with no business being conducted. further, that when sentence adjourn on friday, march 6 it next convene at 2:00 p.m. monday march 9. following the prayer and pledge the morning business academy could expired the journal of proceedings be approved to date, and the time for the two leaders reserved for their use later in the day. following leader remarks, the senate be in a period of morning business until 5:00 p.m. and that senators be permitted speak therein up to 10 minutes each with the time equally divided in the usual form. finally, at 5:00 p.m. the senate proceed to executive session under the previous order. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: so, mr. president, senators should expect a roll call vote on the marti nomination on 5:30 on monday with other nominations in the stack but going by voice
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vote. if there's no further business to come before the senate i ask that it stand adjourned under the previous order. the presiding officer: the senate stands adjourned until 9:30 a.m. on friday, march 6.
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>> the house foreign affairs committee held a hearing today. whether the us will send military aid. they heard from the assistant secretary of state for european and eurasian affairs recently returned from a trip to that region. this this is about two hours. >> ambassador, welcome. this hearing we will come to order, and our topic today is ukraine under siege. ukraine is under siege by russia at this moment. unfortunately the response
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to russian aggression by the administration has been quite a bit. a a year ago russia invaded and seized crimea. some thought that vladimir putin would stop there. not so. last april there was a delegation led to ukraine. we travel to the russian speaking east with eight members of the delegation. we went in. i have to share with the members here that the many ukrainians -- and these are russian speaking ukrainians of the far east they wanted to be ukrainian. they did not want to be separatists. we spoke to the women's groups, to the lawyers groups civil society the jewish groups various
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ethnic minorities, the governor, the mayor. mr. angle spoke of the largest jewish community center in eastern europe. i can share with the members here what -- how we can attest to the attitude. one of the shots shared with -- one of the thoughts shared with us is it seems russia has recruited every skinhead and now content and malcontent and is trying to bring them into the east. we are holding them in the brig until hostilities are over because we can spot them, but they are coming in from russia in order to try to overthrow our government. and so we have seen the situation where moscow was moved to aggressively supporting militant
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separatists in eastern ukraine and bringing russian troops into the country. and russia may now try to secure a land bridge to crimea. that is the that is the great concern here, the worry that we heard. they might try to seize the strategic port. now, when we talk to the un they count over 6000 civilians who have been killed. there are 1.7 million ukrainians that have now been made refugees. today the. to date the actions taken by the us and our eu allies including economic sanctions of aid and diplomatic isolation have not checked. over the past year he has become bolder even menacing
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nato countries as he seeks to divide the alliance. the obama administration and our european allies up with hope and diplomatic and cease-fire arrangements, but it is not working. last week i met with the 1st a be speaker of the ukrainian parliament who he said that his country urgently needs antitank weapons such as the javelin radar to pinpoint enemy fire in order to do counter battery worked to suppress that artillery and he command he needs communications equipment to overcome russian jamming. ukrainian forces cannot match the advanced equipment that russia is pouring into eastern ukraine. by the way by the way calling you see tanks come into eastern ukraine those are not ukrainians. as a russians. there is no shortage. only a shortage of defensive weapons.
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at the committee hearing last week sec. kerry said that pres. obama has still not made a decision on whether to send defensive we go military aid to ukraine. six months after pres. boris shanker told a joint session of congress and his words one cannot when the wall with blankets it was not surprising but still discouraging to see him have to shop for defensive weapons and unfortunately it has been very difficult for the ukraine to find any defensive weapons. and i was just as discouraged to read in this weekend's "wall street journal" that us intelligence sharing with you crying keeps ukraine in the dark. satellite images are delayed and of skewered making them less useful. frustrated, ukraine is approaching other countries like canada to share such information. this is not us leadership.
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moscow is also undermining the ukrainian economy. today russia is using its natural gas and other energy sources for political coercion and to generate economic chaos in the country. ukraine is facing an economic precipice. it desperately needs help. russia is winning the battle on the airwaves and they are doing it by broadcasting out conspiracy theories and propaganda to anyone who has monitored what has been up on the air from a well aware that this propaganda offense of his anger sowing confusion and undermining opposition to its aggression in ukraine and elsewhere. we are barely in the game of countering this with the facts. as i told the secretary last week, i would like to see more administration support for the effort mr. angle and mr. angle and i have undertaken to reform our international broadcasting.
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the broadcasting board of governors is broken. if we can't begin to change minds and 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 passed this bill into the senate last year. we did not have the administration support. we have fêted this and have a great deal of support in this institution for getting back up on the air with radio free europe, radio liberty to broadcasting that we did years ago to great effect with a message that will get the truth effectively into eastern europe and into russia. it it is time for strong and unwavering support. it is time for this right now. many committee members on
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this committee are concerned us policy may soon become too little too late and i now turn i now turn to the ranking member for any opening remarks. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. thank you thank you for calling this timely and important hearing. i want to acknowledge the ukrainian participants in the audience today. today. we thank you for testifying today. we thank you for your decades of service. on a personal basis let me say that i have had the pleasure of working with you. i am a fan of your hard work knowledge, and tenacity. the events of the past year in the ongoing russian aggression threatens the security and stability of the entire region and undermine decades of american commitment to and investment in a a europe that is free and at peace.
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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 united states the united states is providing substantial assistance to the government ukraine including billions of dollars in loan guarantees and nonlethal military aid. we have impose significant sanctions in russia was sanctioned official supporting russia's aggression in ukraine and targeted key sectors of the russian economy and have seen results. russia's economy has been taking on water, and this has only been magnified by the recent dip in oil prices his his policies are good but only up to a. russia's military gains of slowed but putin continues to grab land along the line of contact in violation of the cease-fire agreement
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which mandates russian supported rebels pull back the forces. the government is committed to reform but leaders struggle every day to preserve ukrainian sovereignty. while our financial assistance has kept ukraine economy afloat they still confront a bleak economic outlook and the risks of a financial meltdown loom large. when ukraine gave when ukraine give up its nuclear arsenal in 1994 the united states made a commitment a commitment to help protect ukrainian territorial integrity. that that commitment was also made by russia uk , china, other countries, but our commitment is being tested. let me also say i think nato made a grave mistake in 2,008 when it we refuse to admit ukraine and georgia into nato. germany and france resisted the united states command we are paying the price today.
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so last month i met with president plushenko in europe. his request was simple. provide ukraine with key weapons and military technology to defend itself. specifically light antitank missiles to protect itself against rebels attacking with heavy russian supplied armor not to evict the thousands of russian troops inside ukrainian borders. ukrainians long arranged counter battery radars to pinpoint the attacking artillery and tanks not tanks, not to win a protracted war against russia's military. ukraine needs better communication technology to deal with russian efforts to jam the signals, not to advance on moscow. laughing when -- at that conference in munich madam secretary. to hear the russian foreign minister denying that russian troops were in
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ukraine saying it was just
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it is time to ask the hard question, are we willing to stand up to his aggression before he kills more people does economic damage destabilizes europe and threatens nato allies or are the risks so great we we will simply cut our losses? as time passes our options grow fewer and less effective.
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that is why that is why i am announcing my plan to introduce knew legislation that will offer ukraine greater assistance on a variety of fronts. distracted and destabilized powers. the united states stands with the people of ukraine against russian aggression. i look forward to working with the chairman and other colleagues. finally our european allies need to confront these same issues of strategy. wealthy countries have a lot more skin in the game economically and strategically. they should be doing more as they seem even less willing than we are to provide military assistance. they assistance. they should double down dig deep, and ensure ukraine does not endure a financial meltdown.
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the people of ukraine are watching. the government and kevin is watching and the whole world is watching. we we cannot sit idly by and allow the continued aggression. thank you for appearing here today. >> this morning we are pleased to be joined by ambassador victoria newland. amb. served as the department of state spokesperson. she served as the united states permanent representative to the nato and focused heavily on nato russia issues.
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without objection the witnesses pokémon prepared statement we will be made part of the record. members we will have five calendar days to submit any statements to the community which we as the ambassador to respond to in writing. please summarize your remarks in the middle go to questions. >> thank you for having me back today and for your personal investment in that country's future. let me take this opportunity to say we share this committee's sadness and outraged over the murder. the outpouring of concern demonstrates bipartisan us respect for those in russia and across the region who are working for reform
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clean government justice and dignity. ukraine is central to our effort. with your permission with your permission i would like to focus on three areas. first on the hard work that ukraine is doing to build a more democratic, independent country. secondly opportunity that russia has to implement the february and september missed agreements as well as the further cost to the united states and our european allies. finally, i we will touch briefly on three other knew threats to european security we are working on energy vulnerability, corruption and propaganda. the ukraine conflict brings into high relief. a quick reminder of why we are here. fourteen months ago ukraine
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erupted in peaceful protest by ordinary ukrainians fed up with the sleazy corrupt regime bent on cheating its people. they braved frigid temperatures, brutal beatings beatings, and sniper bullets. ultimately the leader fled the country and was voted out by parliament and ukraine began to forge a knew nation. i want to take a small opportunity to highlight the hard work that you are counterparts have undertaken as they were seated in november. a beehive of activity passing laws to tackle corruption in the public and private sector to reduce government inefficiency to strengthen the viking system clean up the energy sector to improve the climate for business and
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attract knew investment. giving the ukrainian regions more authority in advance of local elections. these have been politically difficult but will also stabilize the economy and we are seeing them start to stabilize even today. i can ask you to imagine what it would have been like if you would be asked to pass that much legislation that quickly. as ukraine has developed the developed, the united states and european allies and partners and stood with her. this past year the united states provided almost $355 million in foreign assistance to strengthen energy assistance to aid ukraine's poor citizens as gas costs rise and fight corruption to strengthen the ukrainian border guard and its military. and to support political reforms, elections, and clean government.
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the president's budget includes and fy 16 16 request of 513.5 million six times more. we are working we are working with europe ukrainians, and the imf to strengthen the country's economy and reform plan particularly in a plummeting legislation including a new $1 billion law guarantee and up to another $1 billion later in 2015 if we agree this brings me to my 2nd. even as ukraine has begun building suffering a reign of terror.
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it remains under illegal annexation and human rights abuses of the norm. in eastern ukraine russia and the separatist puppets have unleashed unspeakable violence and pillage, hundreds and hundreds of russian heavy weapons and troops have poured across the border. then the city outside the fire line sell to separatists six days after the agreement was signed. overall 1.7 million have been forced out of there homes command over 6,000 have lost there lives.
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they have worked in lockstep to impose sanctions on russia as the costs are biting deeply on the russian economy. our unity with europe remains the cornerstone of policy and the fundamental element of our strength. in that spirit we salute the efforts of the german chancellor and french president to try again to end the fighting. the package of agreement offered the promise of
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peace piece, disarmament, political mobilization and decentralization and the return of ukraine's state sovereignty and border control. for some conditions of already begun to improve. in parts of in parts of the east the guns of been silenced. the picture is very, very mixed. today we have today we have reports of knew heavy shelling. in the towns outside and we have reports of a new 17th russian convoy going over the border from russia into ukraine with know opportunity. so in the coming days hear is what we and our international partners have
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to see a complete cease-fire all along the line full, unfettered access to the whole zone and a and a full pullback of all heavy weapons if fully implemented these steps will bring piece to eastern ukraine and allow for the implementation of the follow on steps mainly access for ukraine to its citizens in the east so they can begin a political dialogue. as we have long said the united states we will start to roll back sanctions on russia when the agreements are fully implemented, and implemented, and so will our european partners.
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we we will judge russia by its actions nods words. they've already begun this week intensive consultations with our european partners on further sanctions pressures should russia continue fueling the fire in the eastern ukraine and other parts of the country. there are others including energy dependence the cancer of corruption, and the kremlin's pervasive propaganda pervasive propaganda campaign for truth is no obstacle or working across all those fronts to hard and european resistance to these new threats. just briefly we are working with the eu in key countries to change the energy
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landscape and to make it more secure resilient, and diverse. particularly across central and eastern europe and the balkans to close the space for dirty money to go in and undercut democratic institutions. on russia's propaganda we are working with the broadcast board of governors to ramp up efforts to counter lies with truth and are requesting more than $20 million in foreign assistance for state department programs. mr. chairman, ranking member members of this committee america's investment is about far more than protecting the choice of a single democratic european country, protecting the rules -based system across europe and globally and about saying no to borders changed by force.
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>> i do have concerns that our intelligence sharing. i no we can't get into great detail see her but do you believe our intelligence sharing is robust enough for them to protect themselves? we get information. at the end of the day they have got to prevail against russian backed rebel forces and prussian forces on there territory. >> mr. chairman and this
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unclassified setting let me simply say our intelligence cooperation with ukraine as well as with the ukrainian intelligence services armed forces have been improving over time. there are certain constraints but we are continuing to look at what more we can do. >> let me ask you another question. it seems like nearly every us official supports providing defensive weapons to the ukrainians. indeed a letter from many members of congress they will soon go to the present on this subject. where are we?
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>> thank you mr. chairman. as i mentioned in my testimony we have provided a hundred $18 million in security border assistance some of it is on the high-end of defenses including the very important counter radar batteries that were able to provide which ukrainians report to us have saved lives particularly in the intensive conflicts with regard to the question of providing more lethal assistance as was testified last week. that question is still under discussion. >> i want to get back to
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this issue of russian tanks firing on cities and ukrainian positions. if they can't get precision antitank missiles or weapons to use on the ground there is not the capability to stop those tanks. and. and we're not talking about transferring offense of weaponry. will 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. a request is not for more blankets our meals. i saw the inventory. what they what they are requesting is quite precise, defense of weaponry that will allow them to hold the positions.
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>> mr. chairman, these issues are still under review including the types of equipment that you note which would respond directly to some of the russian supply just to state for the record. we have since december seen russia transfer hundreds of pieces of military equipment >> and part of the.i am making is that this is not all being transferred. there is no way separatists are in those tanks. those are russian soldiers. i would make not decide is to decide. that is the.we would make. lastly per your observation on the broadcasting i wanted to make terms of the dysfunction.
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of the agency is resigning his post after six weeks on the job. we no the problems that staff and others have had. we have heard from former secretary of state that the agency is defunct. myself and other members of this committee put a lot of time and effort working with those who have a very real interest in reforming this getting a consensus. that legislation is necessary to get this agency back up to the business that it did very well. in the 1980s in terms of disseminating information and to russia and into eastern europe. that legislation that legislation needs to have support from the administration no matter what.
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>> may i just quickly respond? as you know we join you in supporting reform. we are working with you on that. we have some differences with your proposed legislation, but i want to do a shout out for the work that has been done over the past year to counter russian propaganda and particularly to support broadcasting in ukraine. they have devoted money to russian language programming a 104 percent increase. they have now launched a half hour knew russian language program which helps fill the gap. it is being pulled down by broadcasters all across the periphery.
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and they and they are now reaching about 6.6 million viewers. they have been good partners >> we follow that closely. we also are in consultation with those in theater. trust us when we say reforming is necessary at this time. we have to we have to be able to take decisive action to get this back up and running the way it worked effectively. >> thank you. let me also put my weight behind what our chairman has said. i want to read you the 1st part of a report by radio free europe and radio liberty. i would like you to comment on it.
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12,000 russian soldiers are supporting pro- moscow separatists in eastern ukraine. the russian forces are made up of military advisers weapons operators and combat troops. 29000 russian troops are in crimea. in berlin on march 3 they would increase the stakes for russian president vladimir putin at home. when that price goes up and that domestic support begins to shrink what ukraine wants is intelligence, counter fire capability and something that can stop the russian tank. hodges reiterated washington wants the diplomatic solution.
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they also said they also said us plans to train three ukrainian italians of -- battalions have been put on hold the see of the cease-fire deal we will be fully implemented. chairman of the us joint chiefs of staff voiced support for arming ukraine. speaking before the senate armed services committee he should absolutely consider providing arms through nato. his ultimate goal was to fracture nato and to destabilize ukraine. us. us president barack obama has agreed that action would be necessary. it is almost like when i was a little boy. his mother would tell him to do something. she would say, i'm going to count to three and you better have this done.
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one two, two and a quarter two and three quarters. that seems what we are doing we are so waiting and hoping that things happen. in my opinion he looks at this as a sign of weakness. the strongest thing that we can do now is to provide a defensive lethal weapon. >> thank you. this hearing gives us an opportunity to register your views. i would say that we are watching intensively whether or not the february 12 agreements are implemented. i cited concerns following on the vicious taking. as i said we have other tools in our arsenal include deepening of the sanctions.
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>> in your written statement you mentioned in the coming days we need to see full, unfettered access. does this include territorial along the border? will repress for the ability to inspect the humanitarian convoys? >> we have been. they have been able to monitor on the border. unfortunately they seem to find roads north or south of where the monitors are. but the implementation agreement calls in the 1st
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instance for monitoring and verification of cease-fire as well as pullbacks.
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we will not be
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the head of our defense department agree that just last week secretary kerry testified before our committee as you heard from the chairman and ranking member. no decision has been made yet. we ask what is the holdup? enough with the excuses. and what part of the process is the decision currently stalled? does the state department believe the united states should send legal aid?
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he said that the president has not made a decision. i would like to hear that. also that list the tragic murder a few days ago of the russian opposition leader came just days as he was about to publish evidence. have his murders been sanctioned as human rights violators? can you give us an update on the progress or lack thereof of adding names so that we can sanction those violators? russian foreign minister like to his face about russian involvement. what is the extent of
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russian involvement or russian soldiers? are we prepared to say that? on the one, two, three agreement i ask you to give me written responses. i have been advocating for the administration to withdraw to prevent the potential future use of us nuclear technology and assistance against our own interest. given the continued aggression, will the administration suspend the russia 123 agreement? lastly i have been critical of how the administration plans on using funds especially after 2012 when putin kicked out usaid from russia. please update the committee and what the administration plans to do with that money that has been left over?
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>> that is a lot. let me go through them quickly. with regard to the process the president did ask for recommendations and advice. they have gone forward. we we will provide that advice confidentially and all declined to speak to in an open hearing. with regard to the brutal murder i think you know that before this we had met our annual statutory requirement to provide more names but that was before this event. as we look at our lists at the end of this year we will
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see what we can learn about who the perpetrators are. we have made absolutely clear publicly and privately that the international community expects an investigation that meets international standards and that finds not only the shooter but the order of the murder. >> i no that my time is expiring, but if we were to add aggressively more names to that list of human rights violators i think that we would see a change. i would love to get the answers to my questions in writing. writing. we go to bed chairman of california. >> one thing i noticed so much substantive legislation
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i would note for the record maybe it wasn't a comparison but it came close. every day someone in the administration urges me to work hard to block legislation they don't like. 99 percent of the bills that the administration does not want are not there due to the hard work of your allies in congress. if you want lots of legislation passed, be sure that is consistent. many many of my colleagues talked about how we need a strong policy. we need to put this ukrainian situation in context. america has limited power that we face unlimited challenges. the afghanistan difficulties in pakistan.
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we have to go with those strengths and nuance although i think we move a little bit more strength than less nuance. there is talk about building a land bridge to crimea. my concern is building a land bridge smoldered over and taking all of ukraine's coastal territory and access to the black sea. a lot a lot of discussion of whether we should provide lethal weapons to ukraine. such lethal aid would have an effect on the battlefield but also a political effect. these these are not weapons they are getting their hands on from paraguay. these are weapons from the world's superpowers. we can give money, weapons.
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if they have money they could buy weapons. if the ukrainian government had sufficient money is there anything in the way looking at the defensive weapons being discussed that they could not buy from some source? can we have the battlefield the fact suggested by my colleagues but providing money? >> first of all, i did not mean comparison. >> i understand. >> with regard to your concern about the race along the southern rim of ukrainian territory not only a land bridge but onward we worry about that and is why we are paying such close attention to the villages.
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>> if you could focus on the question. >> exactly. >> 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 us would license onward export, and we have a number of countries including our allies. >> we are talking antitank weapons. >> they have been out shopping on the world market and have had a lot of difficulty getting countries to provide. >> and yet our enemies turn money into weapons grade -- weapons with great ease. you mentioned the importance if we could have order in the community you mentioned the regions and
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evolving power. that is controversial. yet if powers devolved to the regions that undercuts russian propaganda and creates more support. is it true that under the present constitution the governor of each state is appointed by key have? i no we have gentleman here from taxes were wondering whether president obama we will appoint there governor. i don't think that would be popular. have the ukrainians change their system so that each region can elect its own government? >> congressman that is one of the issues that will be debated. their system is similar to the system in russia and other post-soviet states where the executive is appointed in the parliament locally. on this issue of
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decentralization to say that it is broadly popular one of the ways the oligarchs manage things and that moscow is able to help them manage things was because everything was centralized. there is broad support for decentralizing budget authority and i think you will see that. >> and hopefully electing your own governor governor would be part of that. our friends need to help themselves, not just asked for our help. >> we go now to mr. chris smith of new jersey. >> welcome, ambassador. a a couple of points, i do believe delay is denial and we have a de facto defensive arms embargo on ukraine reminiscent to the balkans war when we insured they did
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not have the ability to defend themselves. now we see our replies of that happening to our good friend and ally of ukraine. the sec. secretary of defense, and as one of my colleagues mentioned and i read his speech given by a top military commander he has made a number of important points perhaps chief of which is that while ukrainian defensive capability might not necessarily turn the tide overnight when it comes to the military situation, it will make the diplomatic solutions more probable which is exactly what happened when the croats broke the arms embargo. was not nato bombing.
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there is and i think the ukrainians are waiting for the kind of ability to defend themselves. the president's advisers are all saying do it. it is baffling. to world leaders between september and yesterday admonishing president obama isn't it time to wake up and take there views into much greater account? delay is denial. i do think the hollowness of military. we are not there yet, but we are on a glide slope to being weekend. as general hodges pointed out, germany and angela
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merkel has admonished not to go with the defensive capability. maintenance. thirty-eight of its 89 nato bombers special forces had to pull out of a joint exercise. a hollow force is an invitation to continue aggressive ways. they need to step up. i was in europe two weeks ago. while they don't want to say this publicly just like in the opening speech they don't want to say it publicly. they need us, they need us, so they have to tread lightly. they they told me off the record how profoundly disappointed they are
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especially in light of people around him saying, please saying, please, this is a time for american leadership. when we will that decision be made? we found out where the president stood when he vetoed the bill for the keystone pipeline. is it next week, tomorrow? there are statements today admonishing the european union not to be premature. and they're are also parallels. ..
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>> >> i think if i now love
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will bilateral list it and i think it is leadership would bring in this together to stick together in is easy to do things buyers of it is harder to do things in conjunction with others and that is what is my estimation. i am not sure even with the weapons but had we had dial-up to get defensive weapons to the ukraine and in my mind what is offensive weapons? , or whether not the you cannot beat russia or can they take them away? but where are the e.u. partners of the issue of ukraine? timothy congressman in the
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ranking member. i would say with regards to managing your response on ukraine to almost as much time has been spent with nato partners in end e.u. partners as well as ukrainians because the unity is so important making it impossible for the kremlin to divide up. all 28 allies have provided some form of security assistance to ukraine that is one of the commitments we made it to each other and that could take the form of trading or support for medical needs of the military in u.k. in poland has just announced to trade and ukrainians along what we have sent up to you. where the divide happens where the debate is happening there our allies
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hillsides as well as those in washington is of the question of the illegality of the weapons. with defensive weapons everyone is supportive of'' we have funded but on the question of legal the debate is very similar with different allies and different sides in the president has discussed this can also load chancellor merkle and the vice president talked with a lot of europeans along with secretary kerry so the conversation continues. >> i will ask this differently. before we can deal with what is taking place militarily, a few folks i have spoken with are concerned of the economy of the ukraine and some have said the economy and corruption could cause the ukrainian government to fall even before we get further down the road.
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even the money we give some question is in getting into corrupt hands? so what about this government and legislation that changes the calculations and encouragement because all politics are local maybe the individuals in ukraine are more concerned about the economy and corruption ring now? where are we there? period thanks for reading that point this is the other major line of vulnerability and where we have to shore up and thank you for your generosity on this committee for the $1 billion loan guarantee and the second witches' u.s. contribution to the multilateral effort
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the imf is leading. the issue has seen the last few weeks the ukrainian started that a hard legislative work to attack the problems in the economy economy, i gave a long list in my opening statement with the anti-corruption enduro to open the banking system to scrutiny. that will require implementation and with those economic support funds we have passed for to go to u.s. mentors and advisers to help them the public but it is a long road in that is why we have structured our
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support for the second loan guaranteed now but don't come back and tell the fall to see how the employment because that the ukrainians said to no less. is. >> now we go to the gentleman from california civic figure mr. chairman. this is a very complicated issue and perhaps a lot more complicated than the black-and-white alternatives we have been hearing about today. at one point with have heard
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ukraine desperately needs economic help and i would hope that our goal with his right to be occurring of thought to basically defeat or she really russia with factions has taken because of that is our goal the people of ukraine will continue to suffer and suffer and suffer. the fact ukraine desperately needs help the government of the russian regime to step proceeded to current government for those that were desperately needed for the economy is debt deal
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offered by the european allies was not sufficient and was much less than what the russians offered instead with the deal was taken by the russian regime then all a sudden rissole rotten that the people could no longer put up with it. , the pivotal moment is when they offered the deal by rush judge to help them with their desperate economic situation which the allies were not willing to do in that ignited this situation that is what turned policies in the overturn into the overturn of the russian regime by violent
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demonstrations by nine democratic and the -- means they could have kicked them out with the free election. so let us hope so we're doing now is aimed to try to end the conflict that started in that war complicated way to an black-and-white. people are advocating that we send weapons to ukraine, a defensive weapons would any of these comet do we see them becoming part of the arsenal of that part of the ukrainian army that is financed by a belief one-third is now so there is a conflict that it is conflict -- financed by the
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oligarch a private citizen and who happens to be a multimillionaire. >> first of all, congressmen thank you i will respectfully take issue with some of the fact. >> and go right ahead. >> first of all, the fall of 2013 the reason they fled was not because money was taken from russia but former president turned his back on the association agreement he had been promising his people. >> have you read that agreement? train wreck i have. >> you believe and i have as well, i do believe it is superior to what the russians were offering? finigan the same period of 2013 when monica alrich was talking about association he was also working on the imf package similar to what was
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offered later in similar to now. to meet imf conditions. >> dial they have to excuse me, i only have 25 seconds. before they cut me off. it is not your time. they will cut the off. i hope will be arguing is to bring peace to the ukrainians not to humiliate the russians. ion dash channel was a big cold warrior as well but it should be to have peace in the part of the world not to try to humiliate russia again and again and again. there is too many people being killed out there and i would hope that with decentralization that that
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area of eastern ukraine can remain part of ukraine even now there is separatist violence going on with the promise of decentralization and respect for everybody's rights and an end to the violence we can into this situation and that should be our goal and i hope we don't get caught up to reestablish a cold war with russia because we have so many people who have grudges. by the way i am understand russians during the cold war murdered, many ukrainians? but our goal should not make them pay for that what they did during the era of stolid but to bring peace to the region and i would hope we can work together on that. i'm sorry but they're going to cut me off right now. >> can i quickly? >> the only thing the united
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states and european partners was with regard to russia is to leave the ukrainian territory and to allow the border to close and sovereignty to be restored and the sanctions will be eased and this is fully implemented my concern is the policy of the kremlin that is hurting the russian people know economically economically, helen their sons come home in body bags that is why worry about. i spent 25 years of my life to integrate russia into the international system and i worry about the fate of russia as much as ukraine. >> we will go to the gentleman from virginia. >> think you're. highberger friend from california but the logic
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that the ukrainian government made bad decisions there for russia had to respond is a chilling message to others in europe including the baltics in former soviet satellite states. sovereign nations get to make decisions even if they're unpopular with the kremlin if they can do so without fear to be invaded and the territory annexed illegally her ever hope all of us keep that in mind. madam secretary, does the minsk agreement include the day occupation and illegal annexation of crimea? >> it does not it only addresses the eastern ukraine is of the problems will continue. >> so then the problem is with our policy you said the
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united states will start rolling backs inches in russia only when the minsk agreement is fully implemented so that means you have conceded crimea. is that u.s. policy? >> it is not. why would you pull back cop clap --. [applause] >> i swear it started with crimea. i am not playing the audience. is -- to clean it up we will roll back sanctions you say that on page three of your testimony. >> let me explain. over the course of 2014 we put in place for five rounds of sanctions with the europeans a first were in a direct response to crimea then be added sanctions which effectively make it impossible for any u.s. firms to invest there.
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they will not be rolled back unless there is a return of crimea to ukraine. the sanctions we talk about are others that were applied in response to actions of eastern ukraine and crimea sanctions are in place the plaintiffs to demonstrate if you bite of a person of another person's country, it dries up in your mouth. >> behalf crimea's sanctions in non crimea's sanctions. >> yes sir. >> so how seriously to take that? been a quite seriously because there is no u.s. or european investment going into crimea and it is expensive to maintain the psyche page in the house started. >> i would respectfully suggest madame ambassador we need to reexamine our policy because it clearly is not deterring behavior by putin
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rain now on the eastern part of the ukraine people are dying in yourself document to this illegal movement with impunity and it seems to me the you sent a message get out of the ukraine and things can return to normalcy that may not be your intended message but when you are a kgb thug who was the head of another state or the aggressor, that is the message he hears. the evidence on the ground suggest that is the case. >> first of all, may be helpful if we send our sanctions team to look at the breakdown between what we hold for crimea and
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troubled for eastern ukraine's been lacking in the state department sentience team? to make state and treasury spirit that is the novel thought. >> we will make that happen as soon as they come back. >> but i want to make clear we have begun consultations already this week with european partners to deepen sanctions stemming come a violations from minsk? >> we have over 300 we have counted is that roughly the ballpark? bin lecter not in front of me but they have more than 100. >> isn't that part of the problem? now with the best of intentions the time to negotiate with time to back it up isn't useful to have united states and the nato partners at least threatening to provide
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defensive weapons and create - - trading for the military for that is what is behind the minsk agreements? america was the week leading up to minsk that the conversation between us endure pella not -- european allies but equally important is to be aligned with europe with the additional sanctions imposed if the terms are violated that is what we are working on hour. >> mr. chairman. i want to echo your opening comments when you wonder when the is states government policy is not working we fix it because people are dying because of lack of efficacy despite
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best of intentions and i hope we come to some point where we can rethink our policy with respect to the ukraine and crimea. simic now go to the gentleman from arizona. >> thanks for being here today ambassador. the sanctions closed on russia had little impact on britain's decision making the administration has stated additional sanctions are being considered but without the commitment of some of the european allies to enforce those sanctions as the body the likelihood of those having much effect on not great. are there other sanctions the administration is considering and will that impact prunes decision making in the near term? you stated in opening
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comments powerful the impact of them was the price of oil it brought the economy to its knees. i am wondering maybe it is time to consider our policy to sell natural gas and one of the reasons that germany was so reticent with the heavy reliance with natural gas from russia. the same thing is true isn't it time to pull out the stops to start selling lng to our allies in europe? >> the price is higher and
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under the edge transatlantic trade partnership between the europeans in the united states to acquire lng but with regard to sanctions have not change the decision making decisively but we have a profound effect on the economy and reduce think it is the trifectas sanctions and low oil prices in 15 years of economic mismanagement in russia. i could go through the statistics but the foreign currency reserves down over the last year inflation running at 15% so the kremlin policy is under stress which is why it is important to cave the
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sanctions in place. we're working with europeans on more grave would do if we do not see in minsk implemented to have a ceasefire violations and even deeper sanctions even with the further land grab. and the team is an europe this week. >> with that ironclad promise and they agree to get rid of nuclear arms but today the nato response has been muted in fact that of the 180 million is half of
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it or about half of it. don't you believe there are long-term consequences? when will we make that decision i think that question has been asked this something you carry back to your boss because nothing will get better without the commitment with the promise is that we made. so to honor that commitment. >> we now go to the gentleman from new york. >> of the soldiers are in
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ukraine today? but together they definitive number to make the calculation i would say it is this the thousands and sorry what we can say is since december reszkes transferred equipment like heavy artillery they're russian military has is so robust command structure ranging from general officers to junior officers and their commanding and controlling it we have made clear that russia is responsible for fuelling this war in eastern ukraine.
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>> constitutes an invasion? >> yes. >> of ukraine was a member of nato under the collective defense posture what is the consequence of the russian invasion of ukraine and what would that be? >> it would give all 28 allocated -- allies kj is to make clear even in 2008 when ukraine was discussing with nato we read the membership action plan. >> is that in reality pollutants concern about to encroachment?
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and what was formerly the soviet union? >> i cannot speak to president threatens head. that is a place i don't fake i can go but there is no justification for being concerned about countries peacefully associating with ada since the alliance that does not threaten us. >> spending has tripled since 2007 with a program to modernize its weapons. the submarines are ready for deployment over the next five-year spending on defense and security it will increase by 30 percent representing one-third of
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the federal budget and has said very clearly no one should try to shove for shut around with the nuclear arsenals but alas count russia had 8,000 nuclear weapons. to use on a limited basis to force opponents to withdrawal from a conflict that russia has a stake such as georgia and ukraine. that is pretty obvious statement. >> obviously we have grave concerns of massive increases the defense budgeting over the years bennett it is particularly concerning what is happening to the russian economy and the russian people.
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running 15 or 17% food prices randomly increasing in some areas credit the ability aversions to travel because they cannot get loans. but at the same time he pours money into the military. so this is a kremlin putting its needs over its own people. >> madame ambassador you mentioned a body bag going back to russia. that had to be teflon them what is the count of the numbers of soldiers near losing? to make it is not possible to have a final count because of what russia has done to mask the numbers they have crystallized it
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inside of russia is in print members and wives. >> so you don't know spending between 400 and 500 people. what about ukrainians? >> s.a. said in a statement about 6,000 over 6,000. >> how long do you think we have before ukraine becomes another crimea and next into russia? >> as i said the entire thrust is where it is. so suffering as a result with increasing amounts. >> but the sanctions have not stopped the body bags. >> they have not this is
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what we try to seek as a full implementation from mid. >> you trust him? >> i do now use that word with that connection. >> i take your why is without regard. is said it is difficult for russia to sustain their occupation of crimea? >> i did not say it was difficult to sustain but we are hemorrhaging money and it is extremely expensive. >> lee b. that is part of the problem is congress is to be viewed as a difficulty. so you don't think that makes it difficult? debate they still have more than $300 billion of sovereign growth to what they're doing now to use the money of the russian people to prop up his annexation.
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>> so we made it difficult? you read them space and -- spend money? mimicry are declining to invest in the territory that is the occupied. >> how would we make it that difficult or more so for them to be in the ukraine? >> as we continue to watch this implementation of minsk will look at the next range of section and sanctions either to deepen were really ready have sanctions on the defense side or energy side too bad sectors to make you agree to have then had raised money if we destroy their tanks as they enter the country? deny they already have been hemorrhaging money. >> but is not my question. if a knockout their tanks does that cost them money? wreckage certainly would.
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>> we would rather have body bags going to russia than on this side of the border. >> we want peace and in into body bags in any direction. >> do you think he understands force? >> will not get inside his head. >> karen f.. if you are married like i.m. it is difficult to get into your spouse's head. so lets put you into the president's head. do want to do that? >> you are welcome to try. [laughter] >> no the comment is you are welcome to try. is the president disengaged? america absolutely not he has been though leader of this policy and the enormously engaged i have been in meetings with him. >> 21 months left how many more body bags have to take place before we send them
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lethal? of will to save the full weapons i hate the word defensive weapons. a weapon is a weapon in so-called loan or how many more body bags before we get in gear to make this decision? what you think the president is thinking? >> there are his decisions to make we will convey your concerns. >> so what kind of pressure are you giving to the president that we need to act? >> dash i said earlier in the hearing will take the same position and my secretary took last week that the president has asked us for advice we have provided it but i will keep that advice called essential for purposes of this hearing. >> the gentleman forum rhode island stick things your testimony but i will begin by recognizing the tragic murder of the freedom
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fighter who was believed murdered in the streets of moscow will what -- last weekend in urging a cover mitt to do anything akin to be sure they're prepared -- perpetrators are brought to justice and of many are sending thoughts and prayers to his family and friends and colleagues but these tragic events are common for those who will criticize his cronies and it is important we acknowledge those extraordinary efforts of that freedom fighter. a want to focus on the corruption efforts under way ukraine has historically had the distinction to be one of the most corrupt countries in the world to do speak to how they're addressing this problem? would redoing to support those efforts and are we seeing those tough decisions
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that could be made or the prosecution's in the firings with the judiciary that was the source of so much and can you speak to those issues? >> corruption has been a country killer for ukraine and also an opening for alliance but not only because it has demanded that said democratic health has demanded and it is a major source of focus of collaboration with the ukrainian government. as i have said over the last three or as they passed an enormous amount of legislation much designed to tackle corruption. a new anti-corruption strategy, new public procurement system, the anti-corruption bureau bureau, prevention of direction in bureau
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bureau, strengthening money-laundering regulations is an disclosures for overseas assets partially judicial reform u.s. is providing $38 million in assistance money we have visors and traders to support civil society, other new positive developments that go to the corruption in past practices the have the new patrol police that have been subject to bribery the new general is issuing arrest warrants for those corrupt officials and a businessman has been appointed and has slashed the energy subsidy and cut payroll taxes to reduce incentives eliminated eight
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regulatory agencies and consolidated into one and increased transparency and a lot of this is legislation on the books but we have to see implemented and ever ready pay taxes to be immune from this we are deals we will watch like a hawk think the parties will be judged by this with the elections in october but they're on the path. >> great could you speak about what role the ukrainian reliance energy plays and what the u.s. and allies are doing to alleviate that ukrainian reliance on russia? for european allies able to separate themselves from the needs as the conflict continues? >> energy is an issue -- the
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noose around the necks the government is determined to break dash in the first offer was to help them get gas from parts of europe other than russia us we worked with them last year to reverse the gas flows into ukraine in the european union as a broker that castile the ukraine cut the was a better deal for the winter 2014 now we work with them to open up the energy sector to get more energy out of the ground to work on energy efficiency. one-third of the heat goes out the windows. we're trying to break the dependence but also helping the ukraine to get to the place to be a supplier.
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>> now we go to the gentleman from pennsylvania. >> ambassador great to see you. please don't take these comments personally but as an american quite honestly i am disappointed and disgusted with the effectual a empathetic response from this administration regarding the circumstances in ukraine. to start off does the administration agree? we have heard about legitimate grievances so do they agree with the justification from putin regarding the protection of ethnic russians? >> of there is nothing that justifies the kind of violence that we have seen russia at from the shin eastern ukraine. >> i agree but is it a legitimate grievance in this regard? progression speaking citizens in eastern ukraine
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have long wanted some of the things that russia champion for them like decentralization and language rights but they were on offer from the transitional government from march so there is no reason. >> digest one to make sure because sometimes history is lost but i want to make sure the administration is familiar and aware of this history of stalin and khrushchev in the starvation of the ukrainian people in the deportation in the reestablishment of russians in to the ukraine so in putin says he will protect the russian-speaking citizens with all due
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respect ever moved into kreme by killing them and it is important to know that history when we talk about legitimate grievances. i am concerned and i agree we should send defensive weapons i am an agreement camp song that. does the current posture or the strategic patience that i hear about how does that fit in with strategic patients are is that a part of its price. >> the ukrainians have been patient because they have no choice senate we have 118 million. >> defensive weapons. and defensive weapons. i imagine you have been to a war zone. diddles stop bullets or tanks you must defend
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yourself. harsh words and we will get back to in the year deciding does not help. i am talking about defensive weapons how to the fall together? gimmicks some of the things we have sent to fall under defensive nonlethal weapons to the enabled ukrainian forces to target where the firing was coming from to defend against it also to provide support segment with all due respect that is the minimum standard that is not effectual that is what the opening statement about being pathetic is valid in my opinion. can you explain the concerns about providing defensive weapons that the president requested hundreds of millions of dollars from this congress for training equipment for moderate fighters in syria?
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so we will send them weapons in trading but somehow the people in ukraine can have those? how do we reconcile that? >> the request from syria is to defeat that isil threatened a work assyria policies lie will refrain. >> is a that incongruity? id and node with the syrian fighters are but today they fight isis' then they fight assad then retrain them to send the weapons? that ukrainian people ever said there were fights united states or kill us? have the ever said anything like that? direct certainly we will register your strong position on this issue but i will say 180 million but i hear your. >> at the end of my time we
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your sending defensive weapons will escalate the problem. not sending them will escalate because there will be no more ukraine. i yield back. [applause] smith know we go to the lady from florida. >> the ridges like to ask anyone to the ukraine last year, thank you for your testimony. to want to say i feel anxiety when i hear my colleagues with their unflattering remarks. i have three questions when we were in ukraine reheard time and time again have a correction of the ukrainian
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government would undermine the government to create an environment that they thank you alluded to of rushes aggression. but it wasn't just though lalas but it was cultural. so you could expand first of all, would do even have considered giving weapons to the previous government yanukovych? is the culture or corruption in that was visited ukraine ukraine, how does that affect if you're willing to turn arms over now? that is question number one. number two.
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could you tell the the sanctions on russia, what are the implications relative to the issues we're facing in syria and iran? anniversary if you can get to wit tellus in your opinion what are the implications of our allies and relative to the budapest agreement if we do not resist rushes aggression and price limits the last one is the big one. cover security relationship with ukraine is through ups and downs after independence in 1991 partly related to the quality of government under the yanukovych regime of the severely constrained the italy concerns of the of
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military but the human rights record so we we're doing very little. with current cooperation we are subject to units one of the major efforts we have going with our advisory effort is to root out corruption in infiltration. secretary kerrey has made clear when he is before you has worked hard to continue to be able to work with russia where al interests aligned with so with the p5 + 1 but that cooperation continues because they have no interest in a nuclear-armed iran purpose of space our work on
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afghanistan to try to come to terms with the violence in syria that has not been completely successful with those conversations continue that they do a better their own interests but not with respect to as. we did not talk today but we have about the intensive effort under way in the space of nato to ensure article five deterrents is visible we have americans in the baltic states to show presence isn't we're working on new headquarters elements to reinforce very quickly if needed but if violence sweeps across shagreen or ukraine breaks apart i personally don't think the effort between the countries will end their spin accuse
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said the president is taking consideration to give weapons to ukraine. what are those considerations? >> without getting into which to detailed, to say it again we are in giving a significant amount of nonlethal security support to the ukrainians but the issue is the kinds of systems. on the one hand echoes to the need and desire to defend against the selfie sell-off since russia has put in since june yuri on the other side that it serves to pardon or escalates and is considered provocative to make it worse
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>> i will yield the chair to the gentleman from minnesota. >> madam secretary, you have already answered quite a few questions but i want to run through some things you can clear this up. with the minsk agreement you referenced what russia had agreed to implement so could you quickly tell me what did they agree to implement and what have they implemented since the agreement? village just remind you that february 12th agreement was implementing agreement on prior commitments made by both russia and the separatist on september
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september 5th and a september 19th. the full package is obligations from ukrainian and russian separatist. first and foremost it is a full ceasefire on the fighting wino full pullback of heavy weapons to the range by both the ukrainians in the separatist with full access for monitors to inspect and verify a in done the ukrainian side there after. >> let's stop. can you tell me if any of those have been done in the last three weeks? >> we have seen some progress in some parts spin the guns are a but again the fighting has continued with no cease-fire the heavy equipment has not been pulled back and nobody is getting access in response
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to figure out what the death totals are in etcetera you just don't have access. funny how the fighting has continued even as recently as february 12th but you testified the president is engaged in that court environment would affect the calculus in the sanctions with the release i am tired of calling them defensive weapons, they are weapons that they need to protect themselves. russia continues to violate the agreement after agreement ukrainians continue to die. what about the current environment what needs to get worse before the president needs advisers to adjust your calculus? u.s. said the environment will determine if we need to adjust. what about the environment needs to get worse for the ukrainian people for the stability of the region for this administration to
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adjust its calculus? finigan again we are watching the implementation of the agreement. we are more concerned today than yesterday as serious violations but he is very engaged to five of the major european colleagues. >> madam secretary. that is wonderful and i am sure the ukrainians appreciate the facts and the is watching what is happening from this side of the world. but when will the be bad enough this administration will follow through on promises made to the ukrainian people. >> with regard to the promises made for strong economic support. >> no. go back. to our resolve to maintain stability in the region and we will be there. >> we will convey your
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concern about this. >> the chair will recognize the gentleman from massachusetts. >> a just want to thank you for the briefings that i have had including classified briefings with you in the ambassador that have been extraordinary and thank you for that. i will deviate from my question is because at least once we have to put this into perspective because it is reality. so many questions have been unilateral. u.s.. russia. the reality is that is not ever strength. the center of gravity icing from a military perspective is described rather general when he said our unity of ever with europeans is a
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strength and that is what putin did not think on. so i will give you the opportunity to discuss how important the coalition is to the success of ukraine. it is my feeling without that unity with the u.s. we will not be strong with our response in ukraine can move forward in itself. can you comment on that? it is lost in today's hearing. >> a think is said earlier we spend almost as much time working with europeans with ukraine as ukrainians on you crave because the unity is so is central and it is constantly tested and proved by the kremlin because that is the best line to imperil the ukraine. but where it has been the
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culmination of support are the transatlantic contributions that made the 17.5 package possible it would not been in the sanctions is done unilaterally we would have a situation where companies could have back felt if we had not matched what bull europe was willing to do to see ever is to drive a wedge between us. we do believe in september and december the kremlin underestimated both ever unity and ability to work together. and nod as quick as we like to coordinate 29 countries with nato but it does make us strong in defense of ukraine spin replica at minsk we would not prefer it
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with border issues and when we have these other discussions why can the west simply do this? isn't it important we do this in a unified manner with europe? what would happen if we didn't think just veer off like the questions have claimed today on our own? but with the prospect for success me diplomatically and militarily? >> . .
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>> thank you mr. chairman and thank you ambassador for being here today. i have a question. the journal has been reporting on a $5.7 billion deal this week between the german utility r. w. e. ag and it energy investment fund led by the russian billionaire mikhail friedman at which they purchased oil and gas. this deal gives mr. friedman that assets to launch a new oil company with assets throughout europe.


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