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tv   Hearing on Countering Russian Aggression  CSPAN  February 1, 2023 4:59am-7:04am EST

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department officials testify on
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countering russian aggression in ukraine. they are appearing before the senate foreign relations committee. live coverage, here on c-span 3. >> forces on the border with ukraine, mostly assume the russian military is one of the most powerful unearth. but, for nearly one year, brave ukrainians from army recruits to retired grandmothers have exposed just how weak the kremlin military really is. because a leader who senses soldiers into battle with almost no food is weak. an army that gives its recruits instructions to use their weapons, taken from wikipedia is weak. generals, using maps from the 1960s to fight a war in 2022 are weak. nothing underscores putin's weakness more than his reliance on the wagner group of mercenaries. this is a group that putin's former convict, a man
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sanctioned by the united states, leads like a paramilitary death squad. a group, recruiting violent criminals from russian prisons and sending them into battle as cannon fighter. human rights watch documented one incident at the central african republic, where wagner mercenaries stopped a group of unarmed men and it will block. as the witness began to pray out loud, the russians forced the men to neil, and one by one they shot them in the head. these are not just criminals, they are war criminals. they are leading the fight in ukraine today for putin, because putin is feeling spectacularly. in fact, and considering legislation to strengthen our tools to counter the wagner group, prohibiting transactions with those buying their natural resources, as well as restricting security assistance to countries supporting this mercenary army. their reach is growing as putin
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gets weaker. and the weaker he gets, the more dangerous he gets, the more suffering he causes. how many civilians will die from russian missile attacks in ukraine, because putin can't achieve his battlefield goals? what a putin do as he gets more desperate? more letter bombing campaigns in nato countries? threats of nuclear war? now, i have been supportive of the administration's response to putin's invasion of ukraine. i am supplying critical weapon systems, training, shoring up our allies in europe to supporting the millions of refugees who fled this war, including welcoming so many to the united states. but as i have said all along, the support should have come sooner. ukraine's embrace of good governance reforms in the years leading up to russia's invasion directly contributed to the success we are seeing today. and while we are still learning more details, i want to commend president zelenskyy and his cabinet for the serious
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oversight plans for the u.s. and international assistance. as i have said since the invasion, i will say it again to the accreting people, we will continue to support your heroic efforts to achieve victory. we will stand with you as you fight for your homeland against the dictator, trying to erase your nation by force. we will work with you, so that a free, democratic ukraine, which expects the will and rights of its people, survives and flourishes after this war comes to an end. we will continue to work with those countries that putin threatens, including energy diversification, shoring up of democratic institutions, to stop putin from spending his poisonous, autocratic savagery. we will support the russians who are in prison because they are brave enough to stand up against putin's war machine. now, i am disappointed with the administration, that has not met the statutory deadline to make a determination with
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respect to the men in ski sanctions in response to the arrest of vladimir karma. secretary yellen, i hope you will tell us when we can get a response to our letter on this matter. i look forward to getting a full picture today veteran's entire panel, the department of state, pentagon, or the usa is doing to support ukraine, and to counter future russian aggression. in the immediate term, i think there is a question that needs to be answered, which is what is our strategy, for helping ukraine achieve victory? how are we taking lessons from the ukrainian or to think about preparing ourselves, and our partners for potential aggression from russia in the future? because while ukrainians are on the front lines and fighting for rule of law now, we know
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that putin's ambitions not and at its borders. united states and democratic allies will show the regimes of the world, that the subjugation of free people is unacceptable, in the modern world. it is a violation of the international rule of law. but that is also at stake in ukraine. yes, it is about the freedom of the ukrainian people to decide their own future, but it is also to stand up for the universal proposition that you cannot, by force, take another country's territory. with that, i will turn to the outstanding ranking member for his remarks. >> thank you, mister chairman. let me say i concur in the remarks you have made, i will make some similar remarks on those lines. i look forward to having the concrete discussion on the biden administration's policy towards russia. i hope to hear how the united states is planning to do more, and faster to help defeat russia in ukraine, and countering russian aggression and influence around the world.
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indeed, we are not the only ones hungry for this. if you look around the room, you see the attendance today, see the gamut of media people in the hall, shouting questions at us, everyone is hungry for this discussion. i hope we have a robust discussion today. it's been almost one year ago now that russia's full scale invasion of ukraine turned the status quo of international relations on its head. in response to this bold escalation, the united states and her allies around the world quickly came to a consensus that we need to support ukraine's defense, is people, territory and way of life from russian aggression. whenever we have our discussion like this, it ought to start with a short, very short and brief discussion of how we got here. we all know ronald reagan spent eight years in his presidency, as his top priority, bringing down, breaking up the soviet union, and pulling those satellite countries away from russia. he was successful, he got that
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done. and we, as america adopted that as our policy. we promoted that, helped it in every way that we can. one of the things that happened, of course, all of the countries that were in the orbit of the ussr pulled away, and went on their own way. that breakup included for countries that had nuclear weapons at the time. one of course, was russia. one was kazakhstan, one was belarus and one was ukraine. obviously, it's also the policy of the united states to contain nuclear weapons, and be against proliferation, wherever possible. under summer fifth of 1995, the united states sat down in budapest, hungary with the ukrainians, with the brits at the table, with the russians at the table and entered into an agreement, whereby they, that is all of us, asked the ukrainians to give up their nuclear weapons, in return for,
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which ukraine would get security for their borders, and against invasion by any country. all four of us signed that. the ukrainians did what they agreed to do. they gave up the nuclear weapons. where can they find themselves in 2022, facing an invasion by one of the countries that actually signed that agreement. we have not only a moral obligation, but a legal obligation to do what we said we would do, on december 5th, 1995. and we are doing that. over the past year, extensive discussions have taken place over how the u.s. and our allies can support ukraine. that is the conversation, about every conversation you here in d.c.. however, these discussions get bogged down in fears of giving ukraine too much equipment, to quickly, to the fear of upsetting moscow. i'm tired of hearing that. everyone talks about the need to hand russia is to teach it defeat ukraine, but the administration's policy stops short of fully supporting ukraine. what is missing is a full
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robust discussion about u.s. policy towards russia now, and just as importantly, beyond the current conflict. any notion, we can't interact with russia like we did one year ago, that was shattered by the invasion. also, by russia's noncompliance with the new start treaty, and many other blind actions it has taken around the world. it has not only soured its relationship with us, but with virtually the rest of the planet, with the exception of a half dozen, of what i call no good nick countries, that are in league with them. i expect our witnesses to help us better understand the administration's plan to confront all of russia's malign influence. it is critical that u.s. foreign policy be informed by a long term vision for a future where russia coexists with its neighbors, and does not threaten to destabilize the international community. unfortunately, the biden administration has so far not made clear, concrete policy on how the united states will directly confront russia as a strategic adversary, putin has
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irreversibly tied the fate of his regime to the outgoing or in ukraine. there is so much more to confronting russia then the united states must consider. it is essential that the biden administration's russian policy be characterized by leadership and initiative. i hope your testimony and response will be given with the focus on that, overreaching russian policy. >> thank you, senator risch for that. let me turn to our witnesses, a longtime participant with this committee undersecretary for political affairs, victoria lynn, has been a diplomat for more than 30 years. she started very young. among her many allocates, she previously led the europe and eurasia pirro, and served as ambassador to the nato state department spokesperson. what also drummer usa it minister -- assistant administrator, erin mckee, former ambassador to papua new guinea, to the salman islands and to the republic of
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than a two, who began her career working in the post soviet space. finally, we welcome assistant secretary wallander, who has worked on russia tabernash an security council and pentagon for many years, and has published extensively on russia and europe while outside of government. so welcome to you all. your full statements will be included in the record without objection. i ask you try to summarize your statements in about five minutes or so, so that members of the committee can have a conversation with you. with that, madam secretary, you are recognized. >> thank you, mister chairman. thank you ranking member risch, distinguished members of the committee. it is an honor for all of us to join you for this first hearing of the new congress. it's also appropriate we are meeting on ukraine as we approach the one year anniversary, as you both said. first, let me thank this committee, the entire congress for a continued, strong, bipartisan support for
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ukraine's battle for its sovereignty. indeed, it is very right to exist. the more than 45 billion dollars of supplemental funding for security, economic, humanitarian support that you approved in december, for fy 23 confirms for every ukrainian fighter, medic, teacher and electricity technician, that america stands with them. and we stand with them saying, no to a vicious autocrat, trying to redraw the maps of the country by force. and we say no to any others around the world with similar ambitions. because ukraine's fight, as you have both said is about so much more than ukraine. it is about the world, our children and our grandchildren will inherit. when i last sat before this committee in september, ukraine has regained control of large swaths of its territory in kherson and in kharkiv, with
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strong u.s. and international support. it has held the line so far in bakhmut, albeit at very high costs, but has taken losses in the surrounding towns of soledar. it has violently withstood putin's latest barbaric tactic, waves of drone and missile attacks on its heating electricity and water infrastructure. with your help, they have begun to build back and modernize its systems. have you you know, there was another vicious attack in four cities last night, taking get heat and electricity for millions of ukrainians. ukraine is already building that back. and ukraine has also put forward a set of principles for a just and sustainable peace, and challenged russia to engage meaningfully around that framework. in just the last two weeks, in addition to last night, they have grieved the losses of so many more innocents. russian missiles destroyed an
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apartment in dnipro, and as you know, ukraine lost senior members of this government in a tragic helicopter crash. ukraine's fight must and will continue, because as my boss, secretary blinken has said so often, if russia stopped fighting,'s war ends today. but if ukraine stops fighting, ukraine ends. >> that is the message all you heard from president zelenskyy when he made his historic visit to the oval office on december 21st and also addressed the joint session of congress. as putin continues to pour pain on ukraine, ukraine is fighting back. with our support. as assistant secretary and assistant secretary wall and we'll aligned more detail, we and our allies are working with ukraine now to get them the training, the equipment, and the support they need to defend themselves and to make another concerted effort this spring to
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push back russian forces. this includes providing patriot air defenses, counter jones distance, abram's main battle tanks, the bradley infantry fighting vehicles, striker, artillery and ammunition. we and our partners are speeding equipment and spare parts to ukraine to rebuild and harden's critical infrastructure. including a gastric and provided that is the size of a tennis court. we are providing budget support and supporting those collecting evidence of russia's atrocities and crimes so there can be full accountability. throughout this, the administration remains laser focused on ensuring that no aid or weapons is devoted. we have pumped up our -- we are working with the will bank, with deloitte, and with a team of u.s. government auditors who are in kyiv this week in fact.
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we continue support anti-corruption measures by the ukrainian government across the country. ukraine must not simply survive this war, it must emerge stronger, cleaner, more democratic, more european. that is what ukraine's patriots are fighting for. that is also central to the support that the united states and our international partners provide. president zelenskyy's decision this week to fire and accept the resignations of officials suspected of corruption sends a strong signal of ukraine's own resolve in this regard. in the meantime, our coalition of support for ukraine remains amazingly strong. in total, more than 58 partner nations have committed tens of billions of dollars in military economic humanitarian support and taken in millions of refugees. we have also worked as you know on the black sea grain deal, 17
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million metric tons liberated from the port of odessa. we have helped europe reduce its dependence on russian fossil fuels, more than doubling our own lng exports to the continent. we have imposed far-reaching sanctions and a global price gap on russian oil to reduce revenues for putin's vicious war machine without destabilizing energy markets. none of this, none of what we have seen would have been in ukraine over the past year, would've been possible without daily acts of heroism by tens of millions of ukrainians in all walks of life. but it is also true that much of it would have been impossible without the continued support of the congress and the american people. president biden has pledged that the u.s. will support ukraine for as long as it takes and we are grateful for the partnership that we have with you in meeting this commitment
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because it is in our own national interest. we look forward to taking your questions. >> all right, seems like the wagner group is trying to interfere with our hearing here. we will, seems like it may have stopped, that is good. all right, administrator mckee? >> thank you chairman, -- to support the people of ukraine and our water efforts to counter russian aggression throughout europe and eurasia. i also have to thank you for passing the for appropriation bills that allow the united states to present such a strong united front in assisting ukraine. today, as we've noted, marks 335 days of kremlin's, of the kremlin's senseless, brutal war on ukraine. close to 8 million ukrainians
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are now refugees. 5.9 million ukrainians are internally displaced. some 430 children have been killed. and usa partners have documented over 20,000 instances of alleged war crimes and human rights abuses. putin's unjustified war continues to cause catastrophic loss of life and has undermined the security of europe and the global economy. and yet, putin drastically underestimated the ukrainian people. the government of ukraine still stand strong and capable. the ukraine people demonstrate daily heroism and bravery. communities merging from occupation exemplify this resilience despite the horror that they have endured. that usaid, we are proud to stand beside the ukrainian people in the fight for freedom. foreign assistance is a critical tool to realize the
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united states goals of helping ukraine win its war for survival. and achieve a lasting victory as a free, prosperous, independent country with a path towards a session. ukraine will need a well functioning state a vibrant, inclusive economy. a free press and strong institutions free from corruption to secure this future when the war ends. the supplemental resources generously appropriated by congress allow usaid to address urgent needs immediately created by the conflict. who also remaining focused on what will be needed for recovery and reconstruction. with these funds, we are investing in ukraine's economy and helping resuscitate it after the kremlin's ruthless attacks on its civilian infrastructure. we are repairing the countries energy and heating systems to counter putin's attempts to wield the harsh winter as a weapon against the people of ukraine. we are protecting public health
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from the deadly consequences of russia's war. we support ukraine's health system to use restore services while at the same time advancing progress on critical reforms. and we continue to fight corruption at every level, to build public trust, maintain that trust, as well as don't support, attract critical private sector investment, safeguard the countries institutions, and speed its integration with the rest of europe. we have also delivered on the united states commitment to provide reliable support to the ukrainian government. ukraine can defend itself and uphold the democratic government society that is at the core of putin's aggression against ukraine. the 13 billion in direct budget support that u.s. i.d. has provided thus far to the governor of ukraine through generous congressional appropriations has kept government services such as health care, education, and basic utilities running.
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this is made possible for the great people to sustain their resolve even as putin recognizes winter with relentless attacks on the energy grid. we appreciate the fundamental responsibility of being interested, meeting critical needs of ukrainian citizens is their priority for all budget support provided for the uk government. the ukraine government stands as our partner in this accountability and knows that we will be exercising extraordinary measures to track these funds. beyond the region, russia's invasion of ukraine is harming the global economy and worsening global food insecurity due to disruptions to food, fuel, fertilizer supplies, and subsequent price volatility. as russia becomes more aggressive and energy policy, countries like moldova are facing much higher prices and consequently are accelerating
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the transition to other energy sources with u.s. government assistance. the countries in central asia are also facing serious disruptions to their economies and food security. they are seeking alternatives to moscow which usaid is working to support through regional cooperation. the consequences of putin's unprovoked, unjustified war in ukraine extend beyond the battlefield, beyond ukraine, and beyond europe. usaid will continue to stand with the ukrainian people, we are grateful for the support from congress. thank you for the opportunity to testify today, i look forward to answering questions. >> thank you, secretary? >> chairman menendez, ranking member, distinguished members of the committee, it is an honor to appear before you today. to express the unwavering support of the united states for ukraine sovereignty and security in the face of russia's unprovoked and brutal invasion. thank you for hearing --
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thank you for holding this pivotal hearing for the security of ukraine. as secretary austin said at the halifax ukraine form this last move november, our support for ukraine's self defense is an investment in our own security and prosperity. what happens in the coming months may prove decisive. we are focused on providing ukraine with the military capabilities it needs to defend its people and its territory. we are doing this in close cooperation with our allies and partners. first, we have focused on a layered, integrated approach to air defense to counter russia's devastating attacks on ukraine's population centers and civilian infrastructure. the patriot capability from the united states, germany, and the netherlands will give ukraine advanced long range capability. these are complemented by the medium and short range air defense capabilities such as nasams and avengers that we have provided.
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second, to enhance ukraine's ability to maneuver the united states will provide abrams main battle tanks, the best tanks in the world. the united states has also committed, the united kingdom has also committed challenger tanks and other european states will provide leopard tanks. these main battle tanks are complemented by other vital armor capabilities, such as bradley's and strikers from the united states, swedish cv 90s, french amex tens, and german martyrs. third, we have expanded u.s. -led collective training to enable the ukrainians to integrate fires and maneuver. our training will complement the specialist training conducted by the united states, the european union, and our allies. and finally, we continue to work with allies and partners to deliver a steady flow of artillery rounds and other ammunition so ukraine can
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sustain its fight. russia has discovered that the united states and our allies and partners are serious about supporting ukraine for the long haul. our assistance to ukraine's possible thanks to bipartisan support from congress. the department of defense appreciates the most recent additional supplemental appropriations act which provided presidential authority, funding for the military services to replace items sent to ukraine, and funding for the ukraine security assistance initiative or usa i. presidential drawdown allows us to get ukraine critical capabilities quickly. usa i allows us to contract with industry for new and innovative solutions while building ukraine's longer term defense. we are also ramping up the defense industrial base production of critical missions and equipment. doubling or in some cases tripling capacity.
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even as we focus on getting ukraine what it needs, we have always prioritize accountability. and ukraine has to. we have adapted our accountability practices for the combat environment to address the risk of illicit diversion using mechanisms that go above and beyond our standard practices. the u.s. government has not seen credible evidence of any diversion of u.s. provided weapons outside of ukraine. instead, we see ukraine's front line units effectively employing security assistance every day on the battlefield. nearly a year ago, russia watched its brutal invasion to destroy ukraine as a free and sovereign nation. threatening european security and transatlantic unity. today, nato is stronger, europe is investing in its own security at record rates, and the incredible people and armed
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forces of ukraine remain unbought and unbroken. this war has demonstrated that aggression is not worth the price paid by the aggressor. that is the lesson that should reverberate around the world. including among autocratic leaders everywhere. as secretary austin has said, freed people always refused to replace and open order of rules and rights with one dictated by force and fear. we are determined to support ukraine's fight against tyranny and oppression and in doing so, to defend the american interests and values that are so clearly at stake. thank you again for the opportunity to testify and i look forward to your questions. >> well thank you all for your testimony. we will start around a five minute questions. let me make some prefatory remarks before i go to my questions here. i am all in and have been since
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2014 when i waved my saber and said we should be far more responsive to the invasion of crimea. it was the warning sign. the world, including the united states, was relatively mute in its response to the invasion and annexation of crimea. so, putin got the message that you can march on. that is part of what is at stake now, that he can marchand. there are those who have an insular view and others who have a legitimate question. as someone who, back home in new jersey when i'm asked by my constituents why are we spending so much money on ukraine, i make the point to them that in fact what is at stake is not only the ukrainians freedom, which in and of itself is important, but also the proposition that you cannot buy force take another country's territory. if that can become the rule of
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the day, there are many despots and authoritarians who will seek to do that. china in taiwan, north korea possibly against south korea, the list is endless. but, having retired that, i would commend to you to speak to the secretary and the administration. but i think it is important that we articulate what is our definition of victory. and what is the blueprint for victory. in order to continue to have the bipartisan support of congress for the resources that will be necessary to achieve that victory. i think that is critically important. i'm not saying that we don't have one, but it hasn't been well articulated if there is one. if there is not a full vision of what that blueprint is, we should be thinking about what it is and how we execute on it. with that, and we also, i'm a strong supporter of the
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ukrainians, going back to 2014. but we also have to tell our friends in ukraine, you can't sell white phosphorus to -- their responsibilities as well, not just the opportunity to receive resources. my first question is about sanctions. it is particularly about china. as you well know, president putin met with chinese president xi jinping in february of 22 where they counted their no limits pressure. just weeks before russia's invasion of ukraine. since that time, i understand that there's been evidence that chinese companies, including working through hong kong, have been exporting dual use technologies including semiconductor chips, which are critically important to fill in missile guidance systems that
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russia needs to continue its onslaught of ukraine. it seems to me that we should not forsake the potential sanctions against china if it is providing critical assistance and it shouldn't be able to hide behind some companies. have we raised these concerns at the highest levels of the chinese government? is this support from china to russia not a direct violation of u.s. sanctions? >> well thank you mister chairman. and for your strong personal support for ukraine and your perfect articulation of what is at stake here, which the president agrees with us. he said yesterday. with regard to china, yes. from well before this latest invasion began, in november and december even of 21, we began
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an intense conversation with china at every level. which the president himself has led. all of our senior leaders have been involved in. with regards to there relationship with russia and about their own interests in our view enough holding the u.n. charter and not allowing putin's style of rules of the road to dominate, we have made clear that we will bring to their attention when we see sanctions violations by the companies. and we've been very clear with regard to the impact on our relationship and our standing in the world. i just don't think that we have followed up those conversations with robust sanctions against companies that are providing dual use technology that is allowing russians to continue to have access to missile capabilities that we should not let them have. it seems to me that we need to, in addition to all the money
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that we have supplied, all the defense equipment that we are providing, we need to cut the head of the snake off in every way that we can. that means that sanctioning it directly, which i give the administration credit for, but it also means sanctioning those vigorously who are assisting russia in this unjust and a holy war. i think we will be for more robust in that department. i don't care if it's china, i don't care who it is. at the end of the, they cannot act with impunity and face no consequences. >> we agree with that, chairman. we have a new set of sanctions are today which i think we will see some of the things that you've been calling for. particularly with regard -- >> i don't know if you are familiar directly with what i mentioned in my opening statement about volodymyr carter moscow. it is past the time statutorily to get answers, i see no reason
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why in fact we cannot in essence have sanctions against someone who is one of russia's biggest critics. putin's biggest critic, not russians -- he was jailed as a result of it. we should make it clear that -- being the author of that law, this is an example of what it was meant to use. you get us an answer, please. >> we are not only gonna get your answer, we are going to get you magnitsky sanctions in very short order. >> bravo. now, lastly. what are we doing as it relates to to the need for -- some of us went to the hague earlier last year to press the case on sanctions and
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prosecutions against those who are committing war crimes. there must be accountability. accountability with a prosecution is not accountability. are we focus on that as well? >> we are, chairman. we have g7 working group of lawyers as well as the group of g7 political directors that i'm involved in looking at various models of accountability. there are three or four other considerations, we'll have more to say about that as we approach the anniversary in terms of the actual setting up of a judicial proceedings. but in the meantime, and aaron can speak to this in more detail, we are involved in supporting all kinds of accountability mechanisms on the ground in ukraine. everything from collecting evidence to supporting the catalog and playing with atrocities, et cetera. we are working with the ukrainians on some interim measures of registries of attack, et cetera that could be used for future accountability.
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i don't know if aaron has anything he wants to other. >> thank you, senator. we are working very closely on the ground through humans and access to justice centers that have a network throughout ukraine, over 22 locations to gather and document evidence for such time to be able to, as you said, prosecute and hold accountable those actions inside ukraine. we aren't waiting for the determination for that process to be set up, but preparing all we can so that when it is in place swift and appropriate due process can be made. the evidence is available. >> possible prosecutions and successfully dunn will send a chilling effect to those who think they can act with impunity. senator. >> thank you mister chairman. secretary, what you said there, they're gonna be no sanctions out today, who are those gonna be against? who the targets of the sanctions? >> ranking member, there are
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more than 47 sanctions coming out, they may actually have been published at about 10:30. the vast majority of them are against promotion and the wagner group in africa. there are also sanctions against putin's cronies, against those who provide material support to russia's military industrial complex. and then there is one in particular that addresses the chairman's question with regard to china. >> the chairman and i have both been anxious to see what is happening with china because china seems to be acting with impunity. we really need to ratchet up our sanctions in that regard. they may be big, but they are not too big to fail in that regard. we really need to ratchet the sanctions up there. also, secretary, first of all,
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i think most of this year are glad to see that finally the administration yesterday agreed to provide a room thanks. we've been calling for this for sometime. but we have been repeatedly told over the months that sending tanks to ukraine was not possible. or desirable, it's some how the escalatory. all of a sudden, the change yesterday. how -- this is embarrassing, how did that change, what happened? >> well, i'm going to let assistant secretary we'll or talk about the internal discussion inside the pentagon. but i will say to you, ranking member, abrams as you know are very sophisticated tanks. they require significant training. even as we approved them yesterday, it is going to take some time to get them to the battlefield. this is not something that is going to appear in time for the spring offensive.
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>> which underscores what i said. we've been asking for this for six months. east if you started six months ago, they would be ready for the spring offensive. what happened here? who is to blame for this? >> at every stage of this we have looked at what the ukrainians have needed, what they've been requesting. there was a period in the fall where they were capturing huge numbers of russian tanks on the battlefield which they were able to use successfully in the kherson and kharkiv offensive, but now they need more. we were responding. >> it did answer the question. but i guess we are not going to get an answer to that question. i have to tell you, all through this thing we have been pressing the administration to do things and usually they do the right thing. but takes forever to get there. as a result of that, there is a great loss on the battlefield and lives lost in the meantime. i want to underscore that the administration truly needs to act more rapidly.
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that brings us, the secretary, to the striker combat vehicles. as we all know, there's different versions of the striker vehicles. one of the things that ukraine has been asking for is the strikers that are equipped with the candidates that are comparable to those frontline tanks. but the administration's declining to give them those. they are giving them something with only machine guns and no heavy weapons. there are not much more than an armored taxicab. what is going on there? can we expect the reversal in the near future? >> senator, i do not have information on those specific variance of striker vehicles, a pcs, as you referred to. what i will say -- >> you do know they're telling us that they're not gonna give them the ones with the cannons that are found on the tanks. >> how did you validate that, senator. but i will speak to the value of the striker capability and
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the volume of the strike a capability. >> we know the value of the strike capability, we know how much it is enhanced if it has a cannon on instead of a machine gun. i'm not really interested in that part of the answer. but, again, i would urge you and i suppose the way things go, eventually they will do it. but they need to do it and they really need to do it rapidly. well, my time is almost up. at some point in time, when you have a really good discussion about what is going to happen when this is over. it will be over at some point in time. either the russians will quit fighting, the cranes will quit fighting. neither one of them are near that point at this point. what is gonna happen in the future? look, we are not going to go back to doing business with russia as we have before. so as a result of that, we need to talk about how we are going to interact with russia. the europeans are already doing that. when they come to see me, we have already got blueprints as far as how they're going to change directions. i like how here are how we are
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going to change directions. with that, my time is up, thank you mister chairman. >> thank you senator. thank you mister chairman. let me thank our three witnesses, not just for the testimony but their service to our country. i want to follow up on the chairman's last point first. that is accountability. tomorrow's holocaust remembrance day, 77th anniversary of the liberation of auschwitz. i appreciate believe that we are making substantial progress in maintaining the evidence to pursue were crimes, or crimes against humanity for those that are responsible at the highest levels. early actions current are important. is there any hope that we could move forward with some recognize international mechanism that could start the process so that there is -- so it's known internationally that accountability is going to be part of the resolution of
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this conflict? >> senator, as i said we are working hard on this with our g7 partners and with ukraine. >> i understand you are working on getting the evidence. >> also on which of the various models for pursuing justice. >> what is the progress on that? >> i would like to see us come to conclusions before the anniversary, around february. but it may take another few months. but certainly, before the summer i would hope. i would also note that when i was with the secretary in kyiv in september, we went to see one of the towns that have been decimated by russian missiles. we met with some of the non governmental organizations that a ideas porting who were minutely gathering evidence and plotting it. >> i appreciate that. i was briefed on some of the evidence that was obtained.
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my concern is, what we have a mechanism that will allow international community to observe that accountability is actually being pursued? such as like the nuremberg trials. but we don't have some mechanism like that? if i understand your answer, we should know that in the next couple of months. >> that is our aspiration and in another setting i can brief you on the various options for consideration. >> i appreciate that, i will pursue that. you have mentioned the wagner group several times. as i understand, they'll be some additional sanctions in regards to those involved in the wagner group. you have taken certain steps to designate them as an international criminal group, you haven't done -- you haven't designated them as a foreign terrorist organization. why not and what else can we do? this is not only a threat to what's going on the ukraine, this is a global threat. what else can we do to show that we are doing everything we can to protect against the
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growth of this type of an organization? >> we went, senator, with the transnational criminal organization designation because it better suits the way that your operates, particularly what it is doing in africa. they are in this for their own material gain and for power, and for ripping off the wealth of states particularly in africa. in addition to sanctioning the main entities we are now working on the sanctions today that go to some of those supporting entities of wagner, those they do business with. we are also looking at gold and other main sources of revenue for the wagner team as you know. they have access to gold mines in mali and the central african republic. they are seeking more of that and that directly follows the combat that they are engaged in in ukraine.
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we are working on some of those measures. we are working with african governments and encouraging those who have gotten in bed with wagner to rethink and try to strengthen those who are under threat of wagner now. >> do you need any further guidance, support from my congressional action? >> not at this moment, but as we pursue the drawing up of the financial network of wagner, we may come back to you if we may. as you know, in other settings, we can just talk about some of the other activities that we are involved with. >> thank you. i want to just mention one point in regard to the u.s. a i.d.. i understand you are not using some of the u.s. russia funded dollars that have been successfully re-dedicated to help ukraine. can you give us a quick status on the use of those funds? >> thank you senator, yes it was i think with your help and
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bipartisan support will able to unlock those funds that have been frozen frankly for 15 years. we are providing the vast majority of those be flows that have been frozen to the western newly independent states enterprise fun to stimulate and support small and medium enterprise growth and activity, access the funds and credit in ukraine and moldova, which is part of the mandate. the conclusion of the modifications to the various instruments was done right before the holidays. we are rolling ahead now with identifying those opportunities. i need to note that they did not stop working inside ukraine at the start of the war, the second invasion. immediately, they mobilize their team, their network, and our clients to relocate and stay in business which was
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vital to continue to help provide both livelihoods and income as well as revenue to the government of ukraine. >> please keep us informed as to how those funds are being utilized, we appreciate it. >> senator poll. >> it is been argued that all we need is more sanctions and there is an argument that sanctions have value, but it's the on winding and leverage of removing sanctions luncheons that actually accomplish is something, not adding more sanctions. in fact, when you went to moscow on october 2021, you are only allowed to go because there was a negotiation in advance of that where we agreed to take sanctions off of a russian individual and russia agreed in tandem to take sanctions off of you. i've had this discussion for quite awhile, we have sanctions on 25 members of the dumont, mostly for political reasons because they have publicly spoken out against the u.s. interest. they are of course russians. they also intern sanctioned us as well. 25, 30 members of congress were sanctioned as well.
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do you favor or oppose some sort of an arrangement similar to your arrangement where sanction removal was traded to diplomacy. do you favor that for legislative sanctions? on individuals? >> senator poll, in the context of a russian decision to negotiate seriously and withdraw its forces from ukraine and return territory, i would certainly favorite. i believe senator blinken would as well. >> i don't think taking off sanctions on duma is going to be traded for the end of the war. i wish you were that easy, but i'm talking about members of them, many who be favorable to our country and vice versa. i'm talking about diplomatic legislative exchange. i'm not talking about training for peace. i'm sure that would be great, but i think that's really on the table, removing sanctions on senator rich for peace. i wish that were important
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enough, but i don't know that's going to happen. that is what i'm talking about, i'm talking about very small incremental removal of sanctions on legislative members in exchange for the doing the same. >> senator, all of the members of the duma on whom we have sanctions are people who have supported russia's war, the annexation of crimea, et cetera. >> that would be about 90% of the people of russia. it probably would be 90% of duma, we all have sanctions on 25 or 30, but i would venture to say everybody into my probably supports crimea. i'm not saying it's right, under saying this is their perspective. if we were going to sanction people for their belief, their sort of nationalist version of the world, then we won't have any discussion between people or any legislative exchange. >> i would say if it isn't u.s. interest for there to be conversations with the russians, we should look hard at what can be done to facilitate that.
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>> i would argue that it is. there has been a great discussion about prosecutions, let's drag people to the hague. let's have some prosecutions. would putin be one of those targets? >> senator, he is certainly guilty of prosecuting war crimes. he is certainly the leader of this illegal aggression. as i said -- >> sounds like the administration would favor take him to the egg? >> as i said to senator, we are now looking with our allies and the ukrainians at the appropriate judicial mechanism and that would indicate the scope of what we are looking for. >> if you're thinking ultimately that there might be a peaceful settlement that doesn't involve unconditional surrender, you might at least put some thought into the fact that saying he's guilty of war crimes and that it is a possibility that he is going to the hague. it may make any kind of
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settlement, peaceful settlement or someone who is fighting a war, less likely to prosecute for peace, or to engage in peace talks if he thinks if there is peace, we are going to the hague. there's gonna be prosecutions. i'm not saying one way or another on the facts of whether there are warrants, under saying that if you say the leader of someone in a war that you would like to ultimately resolve is guilty of these things, then i think it makes it very much less likely. i think it's a careless remark and it's a remark that doesn't really think fully through the ramifications of what he said. when you say that, i think you're basically saying, this war is going to go on forever. if you want to picture devastation, you see ukraine now, in five years, it will be worse. i don't imagine this getting better over the next five years. but if you preclude piece, i think inevitably will make it worse. >> senator, if i may. as for my life at the state department, we never assume piece, that is what we are about. i would cite the president of
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bosnia, of rwanda where we have successfully supported wars winding down through diplomatic means while also pursuing -- >> we almost just unconditionally 12, someone captured them given to us. that is what you have to imagine. i do think that you need to think through this because i don't think you or the administration have, or anybody who's calling for prosecution and saying this is genocide, and all of these things. saying it's the holocaust. once you say that, i think you make peace less likely. nothing of what i'm saying is to say anything putin has done is justified. i'm just saying, if you're going to say these things, you are very less likely to have any kind of peaceful settlement. >> senator booker. >> thank you very much mister, i want to thank our three witnesses today. really for the work that you are doing, your commitment and your leadership at the time of global crisis is extraordinary. i am just humbled and grateful
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for your professionalism and your focus, and obviously for you being here today. i want to mention how grateful i was in the bipartisan way that in the nda we were able to get some more reporting requirements on the activities of the wagner group. i'm very concerned, it is already been addressed in some of the question about the wagner's activities in africa, how this is all interrelated. we are in a moment where this idea that might makes right, we are going to invade your neighbor, this is not just the ukrainian issue, this is very much, as i think my senior senator and chairman said, an issue that all americans should be concerned with. if we don't face this russian aggression here we will see the crisis expand in ways that threaten the world order and stability that we have fought and invested generations to establish, not just in europe, but globally. i like to drill down if i can
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about my ongoing concerns about food insecurity and how this is affecting global issues. ukraine is approaching its planting season, is likely that their agricultural capacity will be reduced by the effects of this invasion. this could intern just have impacts on what we are seeing now, which is not just disruptions of global food chain, but a level of food insecurity globally that is some of the highest it is ever been. i'm wondering what the administration is doing to plan ahead on this and what the resources might be needed from congress to address the growing crisis of food insecurity globally. >> i'm going to start and then the administrator can jump in. senator, thank you for all of your support as well and your frequent travel. as i said in my opening,
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through the black sea grain initiative, brokered by the u.n. which we supported and helped, we have liberated about 17 million tons of ukraine's green. but as you said, their exports are still down about 30%. there are risks for planting. from that perspective, the money that the congress has provided, both last year and in fy 23, we are working at every level with the world food programme as you know to speed both food and fertilizers to countries that would normally be consumers of ukraine. russia's output to ensure that they can plant this year. senator blinken's particular focus on ensuring that we are working on this problem, not just for today but for tomorrow. particularly in africa, but in other parts the world we have over years of climate change so there are other issues like
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throughout, social degraded, seeing cops become vulnerable, et cetera. as we look at the preparation that you've just given us, we are focused in particular on a soil health, on new kinds of seeds, particularly on the continent of africa that can withstand climate change. on small farmers support, but also more systemic answers to these questions. we look forward to working with you. aaron, i don't know if you have anything to add to that? >> i do, thank you. i'd like to build under what the secretary mentioned with respect -- but not the only one, both getting the great output during the next planting season takes place. both through the green initiative as well as the solid lanes to ensure that all the liability to adhere to the agreement is something that we
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must take into account. as a least there were 121 ships waiting to leave the port of odessa. there is about 45 ships a day that went through inspections that are being slow ruled, it provided relief, but it is not the only solution. the solution to help ukraine continue its contributions to global security is obviously to end the conflict. i want to thank you though for your highlighting of this important topic because as you know, in 2022, just last year, over 205 million people were urgent need of humanitarian food assistance, which was in 8% increase over 2021. 89% increase compared to 2016. created by climate change, the
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impacts of supply chain issues, and compounded and exacerbated by putin's unjust war. they are resulting in a crisis that we haven't seen it about my lifetime. >> russia is doing a lot with this information to deflect responsibility, i think it's really important,. this is being caused by putin's war of choice, were progression. >> just to say, senator, i feel that that message is getting through as you saw at the summit, the solutions, -- that's why working creatively with him is so important. >> thank you mister chairman, under the secretary, i'm curious about how much
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information we have been able to share with the public. . many of us have the opportunity to get the classified. there's a lot of folks out there that have not had the opportunity that we've had so they will challenge whether we have been appropriate or reasonable in our support, continues fort for ukraine in this particular instance. would be fair to say that the administration policy is, the position is that ukraine can win this war against russian aggression? >> senator, i think a year ago
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none of us would have believed that we would be sitting here and ukraine would still be standing as she is. a third of our territory as you know is now held by russia illegally. if we didn't think that this investment could push back putin and turn back this tactic that is lawless and creates a world that none of us wants our children to live in, that you can just take a piece of your neighbor's property by force and that's okay, we would not be asking you, we would not be asking the american people for the support. we have seen the games that the ukrainians were able to make through september. they want to push again very hard as the spring comes. that is why you see these new forms of equipment that will help, we believe, to push russia back further the spring. >> so, in terms of the
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administration's position, our goal is one of on the ground, seeing ukraine regain lost land that russia has taken in previous offensive moves. is that a fair statement? >> that's the first event. >> so longer term, would be the position that we continue to fund ukraine as long as russia has those ill gotten gains in their possession? >> senator, i think we are going to have to ensure that ukraine has the defenses, not only to continue to try to push russia back, but to ensure that putin can't reconstitute it and come back. one scenario, what could see, and one that something that the russians favor is a pause in this war on these lines. because that would give putin
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time to rest and refit, rebuild his armed military. as we saw between 2014 and 2022, he will just be back. he will push further. he will come not just for ukraine, but for other territory, other countries around him. that is why it has to end here. >> it may be semantics, but what we are talking about is whether ukraine can win this episode, this war. part of what you're telling me is, within the administration, it is a matter of taking back land from russia. and putting them in a position to where they will not be able to come back and attack again. that suggests to me that we really do believe that ukraine can win this war. is that a fair statement? i'm trying to get you to either say yes, we believe ukraine can win the war, or we are not really making that statement. do we believe that ukraine can
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win the war? >> we believe that ukraine can regain the songwriter to survive and thrive and it can push russia back further yes. >> does that mean they win the war? >> ukraine will define what winning is. oh yes, i believe so. >> the administration has a belief that if we continue to fund their needs and those needs have yet to be defined, it is based upon what the current requests are. do we know what the next requests are that would give them the ability to retake this land? >> so senator, you any american people have been very generous, we are assuming that what you've given us for 2023 will what we will have through september. as we saw, a year's maternity. >> what i'm getting at is, and i don't mean to be argumentative, but it is one
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thing to say we're gonna put resources in and something to say that ukraine has made requests that we have either respond to and said no to, or ukraine is making requests that we are not going to respond to. we just did the abrams tanks after a lot of foot dragging. are there other items out there that are in the near future that we intend to expand on that we are simply not talked about yet? >> in a setting, i would simply say that we are working in particular now on speeding more air defenses, speeding more artillery, speeding more ammunition to the ukrainians. you have given us the ability in the financing that we already have to do more between now and september. and we are working with ukrainians as they proceed with a battle plans to ensure what we are giving meets the needs on the ground. >> miss german, i apologize for going over. i just simply think it is very
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important to american people understand this has not been a one step at a time without knowing the direction we are trying to go. there really is a plan in place, if not, there should be a plan in place with strategies in place to be ahead of the game. rather than simply waiting for the next request in line. >> absolutely. just understanding better what you're getting at, as you saw from august to the kherson offensive in october, we worked intensively with ukrainians on the kinds of equipment and other kinds of support and training that they needed to mount that offensive. they did that and now they have plans for a spring offensive, that is what we are focused on, both in terms of training and equipment. i don't know if the secretary wants to add. >> my time is expired. >> -- >> thank you mister. and >> thank you. i know members understand that we recognize, we cross back and forth and we recognize members who are present at the time of the beginning of the hearing.
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i know some members have waited to come back, i don't remind everybody. >> thank you mister chairman. i think all of you for your testimony and for your service. undersecretary newland, thank you and a team for all you've been doing for the people of ukraine, both on the military front, the political front, and the economic front. my question relates to sanctions because i think we put in place early on the important sanctions on the russian economy. those include both financial sanctions, but also export controls. i think, especially on the export control side, as time goes on we have seen that they have had teeth. russians are trying to cast structured military. we also mentioned the oil price cap. i do want to focus on that for a moment because despite our sanctions, the reality has been
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because of the russian oil exports, they continue to reap a lot of revenue to support the war machine. i think the price cap on oil is important. but i guess my question is, what impact have we seen because as i see it. i see some reduction in the price people are paying for russian oil, but i want to know if russians are making up for it on volume. india, as you know, has been importing a lot of russian oil. i saw a lot. pakistan decided to enter into a long-term oil purchasing agreement with russia. other countries around the world are looking for cheaper oil. are they making, in terms of russian revenue, from oil, what is your projection as to both the impact of our sanctions and what we can expect it to be over the remainder of the year? thank you senator. i think one of the success stories of this campaign with
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our allies is that europe, which was heavily dependent on russian oil, is now gone to zero. the u.s. is successful and of in able to support them in that as well as increasing our role exports to europe by 68%. the oil price crash which was a new total of financial diplomacy which some folks were skeptical of, has been extremely successful. as you probably know, the price of russian crude was over $100 a barrel before the price cap. it is now trading at around 40 as of january 9th. even if russian is pumping more to india and other countries, the profit margin that they are making on it is less. i frankly do not have in front of me the total numbers.
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but if we had not instituted the price cap along with our allies and partners, the revenues would've been off the charts. countries like india, that need the oil, but don't want to fund the fuel machine, the war machine, have a better option. >> sure. i'm going to go from this hearing to a meeting with the deputy secretary of the treasury, who has been involved on this. there is no doubt there is progress on the price of russian oil. i applaud the administration. it was an innovative approach. in terms of overall revenue coming into the russian coffers, i think we need to be very watchful of that. if the overall objective is to reduce the money coming into the war machine, less profit the russians, make good. so long as they're making some profit and making up for lost profit in volume and revenues,
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we have not achieved our overall objective. at least in my view. i know there have been some questions about the vaccine or group, including the central african republic reporting suggesting that wagner is also in the mining business these days in africa, and some of those proceeds kindle to help fund the war against ukraine. could you koch specifically about the situation in burkina faso. i think we are familiar on this committee with what happened in maui. but a lot of us are concerned about the whiteners penetration into burkina faso. >> senator, before you joined, i made reference to a new tranche of sanctions being announced today. which includes a large number of precocious and wagner targets, particularly wagner tactic it's enough rita and those who helped -- we are focused on burkina faso.
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-- i was there in october with an inter agency delegation, along with the assistant secondary wall under. at that time, and continuing in a phone call that i had with acting president, or president trey aurier, around christmas. he continued to say that he would not invite walked or. he was accepting russian equipment. but they cannot -- with strongly encourage them not to go in that direction and cited the example of the central african republic in mali, where they no longer controlled their own sovereignty, their own territory, their own minds. that's the property of wagner and directly fund the war in ukraine. we are continuing to work on that issue within the constraints that we have in a country that has a coup, section 7008. we are encouraging those allies who could provide equipment to do so.
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-- >> thank you. >> thank you mister chairman. >> i would like to stay that, i would like to see ukraine when this conflict. people of tennessee, people of america want to see that result also. -- having a blueprint and place, to understand the path to get there. i think that is responsible and the extent that you are able to share that with us in the setting or another, i would look forward to that. my real concern us, the magnitude of u.s. funding of this and the accountability associated with this. right now the united states is bearing the lion's share of the funding for the military assistance to ukraine. we are doing that despite real concerns about accountability, disruption, president zelenskyy recently dismissed senior officials over corruption
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concerns. many americans, many tennessee into of talk to me, are very concerned about the open-ended and quick commitment to ukraine. getting back to what the chairman was mentioning, having a clear picture of riverhead it would be useful. the other thing i'm concerned about, is where the united states is relative to other european nations. the countries that we are most of proximate to, the border, countries have really stepped up and punched above their weight when you compare their defense spending and their gdp. -- when you look at relative to the united states, you've got countries like germany, with the united states is paying double our gdp versus what the germans are doing. we're doing five x with francis spending as a percentage of gdp in terms of supporting this war. my first question is, what are we doing as a nation?
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what are you doing specifically to try to encourage these large european allies to step up and do more? >> thanks senator hagerty. we should compare our statistics because actually, we have throughout this war work very hard with our coalition of 50 partners, both on the security side and they cannot make side, to ensure burden sharing. our numbers indicate that our allies and partners around the world are carrying at least half of the burden, if not more in some categories, including some of the things that are hard to calculate, like the millions or more ukrainian refugees in some of their city's. their recent announcement by the germans -- will make a significant increase to their particular contribution. >> it was very painful getting the germans to that point, but i appreciate the efforts that went to making that happen.
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>> and we spoke about what's head for the ukrainians, which is the strong push in the spring. i think we will see the results of that. that will give us a sense. what they have made clear is they cannot pause now. that will only favor russia. we want to put them in the best possible position. whether this war ends on the battlefield, and with diplomacy, or some combination, that they are sitting on a map that is far more advantageous for their long term future. -- >> i would just encourage continued efforts working with the european allies to encourage them to step up. -- please do more in thought. so -- i've watched this administration transfer billions of dollars of military equipment -- but i watch what's happening in taiwan. this is the source of frustration you and i may have discussed before. right now, my understanding is
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we have a 19 billion dollar backlog, years long backlog of military equipment that is destined for taiwan that is not yet there. when i spent a fair amount of time on our foreign military sales program with our allies and the system does not work as well as it should. i would appreciate if you would have an immediate perspective. and later perhaps. >> senator, i'd like to come back on the specifics of the taiwan backlog and perhaps not in the setting. but we agree with you. even as we support ukraine pushed back russia, we have to strengthen taiwan's defenses, and we are engaged in that intensively with the pentagon. >> i look forward to further comments on that. >> no, it's simply to agree the pentagon is phil kissed on the acute fight. and the importance of supporting ukraine. but at the same time is learning lessons for the
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support and taiwan and shares concern about supply chain issues and fulfilling of contracts and us-focused working group. but by the acquisition a sustainment of the osce. >> all of my team reach out and arrange an update in an appropriate setting to follow up on this. thank. you >> senator -- >> thank you mister chairman. -- i will start with secretary well under. the biden administration has been very successful keeping allies unified in response to russian aggression. the last few days, has been anomalous. can you tell me why and why we should be reassured that this was a blip on the screen and we are gonna move forward in a more unified fashion. especially as i sin wrangling has to happen all the time. the fact that it happened in public was not insurmountable. just a little bit of a stumping of our show and we got through it. but i want to make sure this is
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not the new normal. and that we're gonna go back to what was extraordinary coordination unity. >> thank you senator. the history of nato, as undersecretary newland can attest, is one of bringing the alliance together, because there is always a common purpose, but there are different ideas on how to get to that common purpose. we are really grateful and admiring of the work of european allies over the last year in bringing different capabilities different niches of military can rehabilitate financing support to ukraine so it is a work in progress always. the specifics of the issue of how to move forward on armor there was a lot of success built over the previous weeks on -- into a fighting vehicles on all sorts of armored vehicles. there was intensive discussions
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about the right mix to get ukraine for the fight right away, as well as the long term. the urgency of the fight right now, combined with the same time, thinking about what we needed to provide ukraine for a longer term capability, did emerge in public. but underneath we were working with allies and partners all along, and we knew we would get to a resolution and solution that provide ukraine with the capability that it needs. >> thank you. secretary new london, want to talk to you about applying russia lessons to china. -- first, if you could elucidate briefly the differences. i think we've had extraordinary success and quickly and unifying, not just allies but almost the entire planet around the sanctions regime and economic isolation.
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that's a heck of a lot harder to do if we're talking about china. and an invasion of taiwan. that's number one. talk about the difference this place. number two, can you reassure me there is an inter agency process now on developing a sanctions regime? i get the balance you have to strike between signaling to china there will be consequences, but also technically speaking, not telling them exactly what they might be facing so that they can spend five years figuring out a plan to evade those sanctions. can you talk to me about where we are on that process? >> thanks senator. in this setting, i'm going to say the following and i look forward to following up on another studying if you are you'd like. just as china is intensely learning the lessons of putin's failure in the way the world responded, so are we thinking about applying the lessons to
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any future contingencies in taiwan. frankly, we're speaking very clearly to the chinese about, it but we're also speaking to the whole world about it. were there to be a conflict, as you, know in the taiwan straight, 50% of global commerce would be disrupted. if we had food insecurity as a result of the russian invasion of ukraine, we'd have massive economic global dislocation and china would be directly responsible. that's a talking point we're using, not just with china, but with other allies. we are also talking about the need to have with every partner, whether it's an ally or whether it is a hedging state or a state with deep relations with china, about the concern about having over reliance, whether it's in their supply chains, their strategic relationships, debt on china --
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>> so, but i do want to, maybe this is not appropriate for an open session, but we're having a discussion about how to configure sanctions bill or send the right signals. i'd like for us to get it right and not polarize this issue about are you tough on china or not. and make sure that we don't telegraph things that we don't want to telegraph. i think there should be clear this could be severe consequences, but i'm not sure they should know exactly what they are, because they may be capable of evading those consequences if we tell them five years in advance. thank. you >> i think we'd welcome another chance in another setting for those conversations. >> chairman -- >> thank you to each of you for being here in for the work that you are doing every day. master newland, i would like to begin with belarus. last year, along with three
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other colleagues, we sent a bipartisan letter to secretary blinken about plans to nominate a special envoy to belarus to succeed julie fisher. i did finally get a letter last night. in response to that. actually, mister chairman, can i ask that we enter this letter into the record? >> [inaudible] >> there was nothing in the letter that i was surprised her that i thought would not have known six months ago. so, i guess my question is, while i know that the bilirubin suffers unit continues to be very important and supporting pro democracy movements in belarus, can you tell me, are there plans to appoint a special envoy? who currently leads the administration's policy on belarus? >> thank you senator.
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i'm going to apologize on behalf of our department for taking six months to answer a letter from you. that is unacceptable frankly. we are looking for an appropriate candidate for this job. it's a complex job as you know. you have to work in -- at this moment, given the status. we have an excellent chargé who is doing most of the on the ground contact work, but our system secretary for european -- a karen dump free, has been meeting with belarusian,'s as her deputy, robin gonna can, and at regular intervals to a test whether there might be any openings there. i would not say we have had a lot of success, but we are also working intensively with the belarusian opposition and -- and the secretary is seeing her regularly. we are continuing to work on this. i hope we'll have somebody to talk to you about in the not too distant future. >> i would point out that
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congressional delve the case shown in halifax met with -- and she was also very concerned about the lack of special envoy to address belarus. this next question is probably both for you and for secretary wallander. it's really about turkey's continued failure to ratify sweden and finland succession agreement into nato. up their interest in getting a 16th and how we are addressing that issue with them, i would tell you that i for 1 am opposed to supporting, providing at sixteenths to turkey until they have ratified that agreement i think a number of my colleagues share my concern. i know there are other issues around the 16th but i want to put that on the table is one of the concerns that i have i
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think sweden has moved deliberately to distress the concerns that were discussed with turkey, in terms of their succession into nato and their president president erdogan is unfortunately using this, it appears for his domestic political interest as opposed to addressing what's in the interest of nato and the security agreement that we need as we support ukraine in their fight against russia. i don't know which of you would like to address that. >> once i start? we agree with you senator, finland and sweden are ready to join nato now. we were grateful for the speedy ratification here. almost all allies have now ratified with the exception of hungary and turkey. this comes up in every single conversation we have with turkey. we've tried the swedes of put forward a roadmap that they were through with turkey. they met many of those
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benchmarks and they continuing to try to do more there. we have made the same point to our turkish allies that you just me that we need this congress to support moving forward for the security enhancements that we think they need is a lie. -- that is congress is likely to look for more favorably on that after ratification. keep making your points and we will also. >> would you like to add to that? >> i would just add the defense department makes precisely the same points to our turkish allies that every opportunity. and reinforces that in the democratic processes that support american foreign policy, the congress plays an important role, and they need to take that seriously. >> thank you very much. thank you very much. i have lots of questions about russian influence in the balkans, but i will save that for another time.
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>> senator -- >> thank you mister chairman. welcome to all of you. i wanted to start by having you all, and particularly you secretary newland, to address both with india, with south africa, with the? i'm nations, the difficulty to get them to take a strong stance against russia. i think it particularly bothers you with democracy in south africa as democracies. we are strong partnerships with countries like the philippines. in our new governments there. we're not releasing them as robustly supportive of defending a republic against dictatorial regression. >> senator, let me start with the philippines in the new government. they have actually been strong supporters of ukraine, including voting with us and
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the united nations against the annexation of ukrainian territory's. including some of the work we're doing together on security support et cetera. with regard to south africa and india, as you, know these countries have long-standing historic intertwinings with russia, we have been making the case that we regularly with them dubbed these dependencies that they've created make them more vulnerable, and we will continue to do that in the case of the oil price cap, as you, know which india was quite skeptical of. they are now major beneficiaries because the older buying from russia is so much cheaper. we are now working with them on ways to diversify away from russian weapons. i'll be in india next week talking about that among other things. the south african situation is complex and tied to some of the politics inside south africa
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are look forward to talking to you about that. great and i'm glad to hear you are going to india. i would think that after the performance of russian weapons on the battlefield has been demonstrated, they might be somewhat less interested. and that's also a big interest in the -- country's. -- are you proceeding on to jakarta after india? >> this trip is south asia. it is indiana pal sri lanka and on to qatar to work on some of the -- issues. but we have deputy secretary sherman, secretary -- have all made the same points and all my last trip to india, that was one of the first things we said. look at how these weapons perform on the battlefield. but i think, they find themselves after 60 years of entanglement having to find entanglements having to find
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alternatives. and that's part of the job we have to do. >> i want to turn to the stories that have been raised about corruption and concerns. -- there's stories about the military paying up a lot more than market price, which applies corruption. -- we all have to work diligently in support of zelenskyy's government and taking on corruption. -- i would just like to get your insights and commentary on the. >> assistant secretary -- might have more to that. i said in my opening, what ukrainian patriots are fighting for, and what we in the international community are supporting, is a more democratic, cleaner more european ukraine. so on skis very conscious of the. we have been very clear that we need to see, even as they
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prosecute this war, the anti-corruption steps, including corporate governance and judicial measures move forward. we agree with you that a number of folks have been dismissed or forced to resign as their cases are being pursued. that sends a very strong signal to others who try to rub off this war effect and it's important for the future of ukraine. >> thank you. a last question. my colleagues was mentioning concern that europeans are not putting as much in supporting ukraine as we are. i wonder what that analysis looks like if one considers the much higher prices they are paying for energy or to host refugees? if you have any sense of how that all balances out in terms of our thinking of the sacrifices the european partners are making. >> well thank you for raising that. i didn't mention the refugee burden. some 10 million refugees hosted
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all over europe which impacts towns and communities all over the continent. you see that everywhere. but your point about the fact that most of my european friends reported a 300% increase in their energy bills over the winter if you just think about sticker shock that would create if it was happening here. you're absolutely right. but that speaks to the fact that they have now can up to the fact that the dependence they have on russian oil was back for their national interest there will be as hard as this will has been, there will be good structural changes coming up the other. and >> if there is any analysis that weighs those different financial factors to gather, to paint a more complete picture, i would be interested in seeing it. thank. you >> senator cruz. >> thank you mister chairman. welcome to the witnesses.
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miss newland, as you know, in january of last year, the senate voted on my legislation to impose sanctions on the nord stream 2 pipeline. it gets so before russia had invaded ukraine. when the senate voted on those sanctions, president zelenskyy publicly urged even bag to the united states senate to pass those sanctions. president zelenskyy said, passing those sanctions then was the last chance to prevent russia from invading ukraine. the last chance to prevent russian tanks rolling into ukraine. was president zelenskyy wrong? >> senator cruz, like you, i am, and i think the administration is very gratified to know that nord stream 2 is now, as you like to say, a hunk of metal at
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the bottom of the sea. i have personally, having been involved, along with secretary blinken, in all those negotiations with russia to try to prevent this were in december, do not believe that had that nord stream 2 been cut off in january, that would've been decisive for putin. it was important that the day the war began, the germans kept the pipeline, as did the rest of the europeans. but he was bound and determined to go into ukraine as you know. >> so you believe zelenskyy was wrong when he set stopping nord stream 2 was the last and best way to stop this war? >> i don't think it would've stopped putin. >> when the government of poland, similarly sat back the united states senate to pass the sanctions and said, this is the last and best opportunity to stop russia from invading ukraine, you believe poland was wrong to? >> i do not believe we would've prevented this war had the europeans acted faster and nord stream 2. i wish that were the case. but i don't think it was.
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>> let's talk about how the war is going. i know you and i both agree that it is important from russia to suffer a crushing defeat. putin is the kgb thug. he's committed to undermining our interests and our enemies across the globe, including in particular china are watching carefully what happens in ukraine. the iranian regime is watching as well. iran is committed to doing everything they can to ensure putin's victory. they're supplying putin with resources, especially drones, which are devastating ukrainian civilians and military assets. meanwhile, the biden administration, which waive the sanctions on north stream two, four last and best hope of preventing the war, right now
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today, continues to be obsessed with the new nuclear deal with the iran. iranian officials say talks remain ongoing, while administration officials say, they remain committed to diplomacy but not right now. i'm deeply concerned that this administration, even in the middle of the war, it's subordinating the need to counter the russian iranian alliance to its own partisan political preferences. for example, this administration has dropped the general yuan arms of argo against around. this administration has made russia our intermediary in nuclear talks with iran. this administration has issued sanctions waivers along the aisle latoya to become putin's nuclear clients. this administration has held weapons -- helping russia launched drones.
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this administration has avoided using relevance sanctions, authority against iranian banks facilitating the transfer of drones to iran. as a result, iran has been able to dramatically boost putin's war in ukraine. meanwhile, american taxpayers are shouldering the burden of assisting ukraine, while the biden administration is greasing both sides of this war. this talk about around supply of drones to russia. the biden administration made an immediate decision to go to the united nations and drop the u.n. general arms embargo on iran. -- biden officials say, part of the embargo dealing with drones is still in play, but that measure will expire this fall pursuant to the jcpoa.
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i believe the maidan administration to immediately go to the u.n., invoke restaurant back authority, and keep the embargo in place. do you agree? where do you believe we should allow the u.n. arms embargo on around to expire and allow iranian drones to continue to go to russia and be used against the people of ukraine? >> the time for the senator has expired, but please answer his question. >> thank you. senator cruz, you are absolutely right that iranian drones are fueling this war. that is why we have taken many, many increased sanctions, measures against iran over the last couple of months, including against the irgc, -- aerospace force, -- aviation industry, -- aviation industry, russian air force. this >> heavy stop the drones? >> we have not stopped the drones of this is part of the problem. but we know it around looks like. and we also know who russia's
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friends are. iran, north korea and hamas. we are not currently in active discussions with the wrong. it is not prepared to take these negotiations seriously right now. we have many of the same concerns that you have. i look forward to speaking with you in a separate setting about our larger strategy vis-à-vis iran. this is probably not the appropriate setting for that. >> thank you. >> senator -- >> thank you chairman menendez. thank you all three of you for your service, for your work to continue to help lead the efforts of our administration in combatting russia's aggression in ukraine. i thought the recent decision taken jointly by the united states -- and a number of other nato allies and european partners, soon to be nato allies, to send main battle tanks as well as to salisbury leads the strikers from our department of defense was the right one. i'm assuming it's on my, this was not factored into your
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supplemental requests last year. on behalf of the d.o.d., and if anyone else wants to speak fine, but what impact it has does it have on available resources, for this new and commitment to invade? and are there any additional resources or system required to meet the additional requirements both security and on security of deployment? >> thank you senator. the d.o.t. has a very focused process in preparing pga packages and you as a i packages in light of what the ukrainians prioritize, what our suspense is that they require as well, with the readiness impacts are, and what the costs are, and deliver ability of the capabilities are. while you are correct that the specific capabilities in the last couple of weeks were not previewed, necessarily, in the original supplemental, the scope of the supplemental for
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which we are grateful, does accommodate this planning and ongoing planning. that does not preclude that we need to come back to request decisional funding, but for now, we are in a very good place for that deliberate planning and constant deliver ability of -- to ukraine. >> -- i do think it's important for us to ensure that the assistance paid possible by the 45 billion dollar supplemental -- at the end of last year as used as attended. and that many misuses identified unaddressed, i've raised these issues with directly with president zelenskyy last week, when the deputy prime minister, the mayor of kyiv, even a number of legislators from ukraine, also with our team in kyiv when i visited in december. we provided significant additional resources through the state and foreign operations appropriations
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provisions for both you s o -- i think and has oversight is a good idea. i'd be interested in whether you might describe what the use might think the accountability and oversight mechanisms are currently in place have been effective? and what if anything we need to do to strengthen them? >> thank you senator for your attention and support for all of this. as i mentioned earlier, we have a layered approach on the civilian side as you know. we have extra staff thanks to you and the embassy who are focused on accountability. we have the budget support that is the bulk of the economic support funds go through the world bank so they actually pay the salaries that we are intending to support. and is double monitored by the law it. we also south, as you say, all of our oh igs, are very very
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active. all three of them, state a i.d. and the department of defense -- they are on the ground in kyiv now doing their first look at all of this. i won't speak for my colleagues, but when i was in kyiv in december, i got an intensive brief from the military about how they're accounting for every single artillery shell. it's quite impressive. >> so did i end november. i found a constructive. i think it's important for our colleagues to get as much of the select possibly can. i have a minute left. would either of you like to speak briefly to? it >> thank you senator. i want to add in addition to what the undersecretary has mentioned. vis-à-vis the -- verifying through third-party monitoring the arrears that we're covering our valid. we also entered into, just last month, an inch or inch urgency cream and with the g.a.o., that is gonna work with the financial systems in the ministry of finance in ukraine
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to strengthen their own audit capability. with their supreme on its authority, to make more robust or internal controls as well. we are moving and expanding our internal capacity building as well as third-party monitoring and oversight. thank you. i'm near the end of my time. i have another colleague waiting. on just comments that i'm glad to see is administrations decided to sanction the whitener group. i'm very concerned about their scope and impact during the leadership summit we posted a meeting -- about their stability and security. i think russia's top malign actions are not limited to ukraine by any extent. i'm concerned about a number of countries in africa which i would be happy to work with you further on. thank you mister chairman. >> senator -- >> let me go to another part of the world. i have questions about russians
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activities in the americas. in past june, president ortega in nicaragua authorized russian -- for purposes of training law enforcement and emergency response. russia called it a routine development. in september, ortega reached an agreement with putin to air russian media content. -- available to more than 20 nicaraguan state channels broadcasting to the country's nearly 7 million people. in venezuela, russia has supported the oil industry -- some observers think following russia's nations of ukraine, the fortunes improved, because in large part due to our campaign to limit people using russian oil revenues -- the venezuelan economy and energy situation has gotten
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better. i want to ask a couple of questions about the. first to secretary newland, russian state media conducts active disinformation campaigns and lots in america -- how is the department working with others to counter russian disinformation efforts in the region? >> senator, thanks for this and for your support of our efforts to beat back both russian in and malign influence and chinese malign influence in the americas. we have robust programs, both through our media hub for latin america, through all of our travel, and through our embassy platforms, to speak back ourselves, but also strengthen investigative journalism and government journalists understanding of how the russian disinformation networks work enviable to expose it as
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they see it in countries like nicaragua and iran as well who set their lot with russia, are not interested in hearing it. but we do what we can. -- >> to secretary wallander, what's the d.o.d. assessment of the level of russian military activity in nicaragua or more generally in the region? >> senator, the first most important duty of the department of the defenses to protect the american homeland. so the department is always devoting resources and tracking, monitoring, planning to deter and defend against any threat to the homeland. the department is not currently assess that there is a heightened threat to the american homeland because of russian presence, but it is something that is tracked unmonitored every day. russian presidents facilitated by countries like nicaragua is, of course, a major focus of
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tracking and watching, so i can reassure you that this has not been lost upon us. but also reassured that we don't see hike in the current circumstance. >> in recent visits to the region, and discussion with heads of state there, the chinese presidents is very dominant economically and more and more military activity,. . . . >>. . . . .
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the same as with china. we see -- that means challenging it in every dimension and every part of the globe. here in russia, we see the footprints in venezuela, the russia security services in the country, -- its ability to influence democratic institutions in neighboring countries. the fact that -- invited russia to attend negotiations in mexico city. media reports last year of the presence of russians invade are deployed along venezuela's border, utilized -- we need to be focused multidimensional, as it relates to russia and china in our own hemisphere. if you're going to beat someone
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who you consider your single visit sick geostrategic challenge, i.e. china, and continue to weaken russia in every dimension we can as relate to the war in ukraine, that means playing three dimensional chess, and that means also focusing in the hemisphere. i hope that the question senator cain raised in his comments helps create some focused. i would love to hear from our assistant secretary of the western hemisphere. -- >> just quickly senator to say, you mentioned, you alluded to, it one of the greatest risks is democratic backsliding across atmosphere. as too many countries follow putin and xi jinping's model of governance and control, you judiciaries of control, free press, six that, era that's part of the larger message. if i may just go back, senator hagerty asked me if ukraine can
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win, i believe and all of us busy that if, we define winning as ukraine surviving and thriving as a cleaner democratic state, it can, and it must, and it will with our help. thank you. >> i disagree with my colleague from texas this characterization of this administration. i think no one has been more insightful, decisive, and helpful to the ukrainians then the biden administration. to suggest something else is just a parallel, alternate universe. but some of us seem to love their. in any event, there is one thing though, that you want to echo on. that is iranian drones. iranian drones have been president on the ukrainian
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battlefield now for months. it's inflicting massive damage to military and civilian infrastructure across the country. we are reading troubling reports, that russia now intends to acquire iranian ballistic missiles, which could strike deep into even into europe, which would be a game-changer. how is the administration responding regarding the growing military alliance between iran and russia? -- understand it is in the european interest to be more robust as it relates to iran. if iran produces the missiles that it already has the capacity and breath and scope of reaching, greater sophistication, in terms of targeting, to russia, that can hit different targets in europe, it's a dramatically different world. they need to be able to engage
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two of us. -- even the iranians, are not interested, in the jcpoa. they need to now understand that the risk for them is greater. in the risk for all of us collectively as it relates to success in ukraine -- >> i couldn't agree more senator, including about the risk of russian missile technology helping the iranians get better at that themselves. we are engaged in intensive conversations with their key allies and partners about strengthening the sanctions regime. in response to, this we've done a number of sanctions ourselves. we are also engaged in a number of other things which i think we should talk about in another setting. >> i'll be happy to do. that i would simply suggest that the europeans have been reticent about multi lateral icing are sanctions as it
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relates to ukraine. the door has closed for my perspective on the jcpoa, because iran itself has not thought to accept, what i thought was a bad, deal with they're not willing to accept. -- it seems to me the europeans should think differently about joining us on sanctions on iran so they understand, the iranians understand there are consequences to their actions. because right now they don't. >> the record of this hearing will remain open to the close of business tomorrow. we thank all of you for your appearance and for your insights. this hearing is adjourned.
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