tv Politics Public Policy Today CSPAN April 1, 2015 1:00pm-3:01pm EDT
enough to attempt to export that police state abroad to georgia, to ukraine and moldova. shalikashvili said only the swift and immediate action of the u.s. government to train and equip the ukrainians can stop putin's strategy to deconstruct the post cold war order. secretary nuland, do you agree that's by and large what vladimir putin is trying to do? if you don't agree, what is he strategy, what is his overall goal? >> i certainly agree with the way admiral pandolfe described his motives earlier in this hearing. he's looking to keep countries in the former soviet space under his political and economic control. he's looking to roll back the gains of a europe whole free and
at peace. which is why all of the things that we're talking about here, whether it is allied reassurance and making sure that where we do have treaty commitments, which is to the nato allies, that every millimeter of space is defended, but also to help strengthen and provide more resilience, political security and economic to all of the countries in the periphery. >> earlier in vladimir putin's aggression against ukraine i heard a number of administration officials saying we were trying to offer an off-ramp to vladimir putin. does anybody on the panel here believe that vladimir putin is looking for an off-ramp? he's simply looking for on ramps strategically pausing and looking for the next on ramp. anybody want to dispute that? i didn't think -- >> i don't know they would call it an off-ramp. i think there was a point early in the crisis where he arguably
was. i think as admiral pandolfe said he's trying to keep ukraine out of the west and keep it in a destabilized situation. whether he seeks to go further in ukraine i can't say. >> certainly from my standpoint he's not looking for off ramps, he's looking for opportunities. dr. stephen blank testified and i want to see if this is pretty much the administration's evaluation of really what russia is doing. according to the ihs consultant firm, these units are well-equipped, armored personnel carrier and infantry fighting vehicles and hundreds of pieces of tube and rocket artillery. there are 29,400 russian troops in crimea and in ukraine.
is that pretty much this administration's assessment of what really what russian troop strength is, in crimea and ukraine? whoever is most qualified. >> senator johnson, without going into the specifics of the intelligence, the numbers on the number of russians in eastern ukraine i can't comment on. it changes from week to week, somewhat fluid. suffice it to say, there are many russian soldiers in eastern ukraine and there's no doubt they have transferred hundreds of pieces of equipment. >> you're not seeing this assessment as inaccurate? it's possible that this is accurate? >> i can't say that the number is exactly right in terms of 14,000. in terms of the numbers on the border, as i mentioned earlier, the latest information we have on the border, there are 11 russian tactical battalion tactical groups in the area off
of eastern ukraine. >> senator shaheen was talking about meeting with some of the ukrainian parliamentarians and i did the same thing. they were certainly concerned about a potential spring offensive by russia. secretary nuland, you talked about they're massing additional, moving additional heavy equipment into russia. isn't that a big concern? >> senator, that's exactly why we are seeking the greatest degree of fidelity on whether this minsk agreement is being implemented and strengthening the osc so it can give us an accurate picture. it's also why we're here calling out some of the specific concerns we have, whether it's about the rearming that we've seen in last couple of days, whether it's about the continued firing in the strategically important villages, et cetera. so again, if minsk is implemented before spring and things pull back. that would allow space for
politics to begin if eastern ukraine. if not, we have to be prepared to have more sanctions pressure on russia. >> that's a big if. i would argue that sanctions haven't worked particularly well. one of my meetings with the european allies, the comment was made that as russia becomes weaker economically they become more dangerous. and i kind of agree with that assessment. which is why i believe we have to provide a military response, lethal defensive weaponry. let me close with a quote by president shalikashvili, or his assessment, there is a couple of quotes in here, about changing putin's calculus, as senator menendez mentioned. he was there on the front lines when russia invaded georgia. and the bush administration sending in supplies without russia knowing what was on the cargo airplanes. that did, certainly one of the factors causing russia to stop
further expansion into georgia. so he said deployments from russia's far east are proof that the kremlin is sensitive to the rising cost of putin's invasion of eastern ukraine because russians have a thin layer of tolerance for casualties. that was his assessment, if we would show strength and resolve, respond to president pour poroshenko's plea that yes, they'll provide the courage, they'll provide the boots on the ground to fight vladimir putin's aggression, but they can't do it with blankets. thank you, mr. chairman. >> senator cardin. >> thank you very much. thank you for holding this important hearing. and i thank our witnesses. there's no question that there's strong consensus on this committee in the united states senate that the united states needs to do more to help the
ukraines defend themselves. i want to make that clear from the beginning. the ukrainians need defensive support so they can defend themselves as far as weapons are concerned. and this committee has spoken and many of us have voiced this and the hearing i think has been pretty clear about your position in that regard. it's also clear that we need to take stronger action against russia. the tragic assassination of boris nemtsov really points out just how extreme the putin regime has gotten. i think what we could do, madam secretary, and i would just urge you to look at mr. nemtsov exposed individuals of gross violation of russian rights. it would be appropriate for us to review as to whether we should be imposing the meninski type sanctions against those individuals that he worked on
within russia. let's not forget the man who is unlawfully imprisoned in russia today, taken by ukraine from russia. there is just continued efforts and the russia's violations of its agreements, including the minsk ii cease-fire. i'm pleased to see you're looking at additional sanctions. understand that it's going take u.s. leadership. if we wait for europe to act, it's not going to be effective. we have to be out there and with our european partners. but it's going to require the u.s. leadership. i want to change gears for one moment if i might. i think we've had a lot of questioning on the defensive issues. i want to get to the economic front. my assessment from visiting kiev was that what happened in the protests there were as much about basic rights and economic rights as it was about political
issues. so as we look to ukraine being able to defend its borders and being able to control its territory, we also at the same time have to make sure that they have an effective government with the institutions that protect the rights of all its citizens to express his view's be treated fairly as well as economic opportunities that that country could be able to provide for its citizens. i know the inf originally made a commitment in 2014, i think it was $17 billion, $4.5 billion was released. they have a new commitment they entered into that takes us up to $22 billion. i know the united states provided direct assistance. can you tell us how confident you are that the ukrainian government is moving towards the development of the institutions critical for a democracy to flourish and how successful we
are on their path for economic reforms. >> thank you very much for that question. i couldn't agree more that what we saw in may don and what we have seen since reflects the desire of the ukrainian people for a better life, including a better economic life. and i think that one reason that we have been successful in mobilizing such large international financial assistance for ukraine is because the actions that the ukrainian government has taken reflect a decisive break from the past. their willingness to address subsidies and inefficiencies and corruption in their government spending, in their state owned enterprises, establishing an anti-corruption bureau and addressing issues related to insider influence within financial institutions, all of these are actions that the ukrainian government has put forward, not that the
international financial institutions have imposed on ukraine. and when secretary lew or myself have visited ukraine in the last couple of months, the departure from the past practices of ukrainian governments couldn't be more evident. so our responsibility is to ensure that the international community and the united states as part of the international community is doing everything it can to support the reform agenda that the ukrainian government has embraced and has been embraced by, you know, huge legislative majorities in the recently elected ukrainian parliament. >> is there more that the united states should be doing? are we satisfied with the imf package? are other countries coming forward with appropriate aid also? >> we think that we have the right package right now. we're satisfied with the imf package.
as you know, the united states had provided a $1 billion loan guarantee for ukraine last year. we intend to provide another one in the first half of this year. and working with congress to consider another $1 billion loan guarantee at the end of this year. so we appreciate congressional support for that. in terms of other countries, we've had europe and other bilateral donors increase their assistance to ukraine in recent months. that's something that the senior within the treasury as well as the state department have worked on. and we're going to continue to work on. we think that this government merits continued support not only from the united states but from other countries in the
international financial institution. >> i support the packages. >> i support the packages. i think we're doing the right thing. but i just urge us, our support for ukraine must include accountability and progress being made in regards to governance issues and human rights issues. we have to make clear. we'll be patient but we don't have indefinite patience. they must demonstrate their ability to carry out their verbal commitment to their people and we have to be tough about that. an assessment of the ofce mission. one of the hats i wear is the ranking democrat on the mission. how effective has the ofc been in ukraine? >> senator, thank you for the work that you do with the ofce. this is a tool of foreign policy and of european policy that was underutilized until the ukraine crisis. without the eyes and ears of the osce, i would not have been able to give the rundown of where i gave about where things are going well and poorly in ukraine. that said, as you know, they're an unarmed force.
they can only operate in a permissive environment. that's been one of the challenges that they've had, whether it was to get in to secure the crash site of malaysian airlines 317 or whether it's been now working in separatist held areas to get the access that they need. that's what we have to continue to work on. we're trying to work now with european partners to make sure that every osc nation carries its weight in terms of paying the budget increases that this requires but also in terms of the specialized skills. we need monitors who know the difference between the military pieces. we're working on all of that. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> senator isakson. >> thank you, chairman corker. we were in a private meeting this morning, so i can't name the individual, but a well respected journalist who asked a question
about what's the greatest threat to the united states security. ironically, although acknowledging isil and what's going on in the middle east, directly cited the threat of putin to disrupt nato and destroy nato. so secretary mckeon and admiral pandolfe, i'd like your opinion on that statement. >> senator isakson, i would defer to the oic in terms of the terrorist threat. isil is certainly a threat to the united states, as are other branches of al qaeda and isil. we are certainly worried about the negative trend of russia and what it is doing not just in ukraine but along europe's borders and it's the core of the reason that we have taken a lot of the reassurance measures that we have and thinking hard about
making sure that the alliance commitment can be met, not just through the united states, but through all our nato partners. >> admiral? >> senator, traditionally degree of threat is defined as capability and intent. in terms of capability, you know, the russians are world class state with a world class military. in terms of intent, that makes it even more important that we do the kinds of initiatives that we've talked about this morning to try to shape the intent to minimize the risk. >> thank you for those answers. you know, one good benefit of older age, which i'm enjoying, is you have a long memory of experiences that you went through in your life. one of the ones went through was the cuban missile crisis in the 1960s. there are some comparisons. i'm not drawing a total comparison but some comparison to what khrushchev did and what kennedy did in response. and the potential of what's going on in ukraine.
finally president kennedy put a blockade around them and called khrushchev's bluff. and when he did, khrushchev pulled his missiles out and went home. i don't think we're at that place yet, by any stretch of the imagination. you spend a lot of your careers looking into the future saying what if. i think a lot of what senator johnson was saying, what if things get worse. we need to be prepared to have the same type of response to match the threat with the force necessary to thwart the threat. am i right or wrong on that? >> senator, in the department of defense we're always worrying about the threats right in front of us but also the threats in the future. we do a lot of planning to look out ahead. and the reason that military modernization of russia and the activities in central europe have no doubt got the mind focused on looking ahead at various permeatations of what russia might do.
it is an area of concern that we're giving a lot of thought and attention to in the department. >> i know you have to be careful in your answer and i respect that and understand that. but i think it's a fair enough comparison to underscore the need that i think the committee feels in its entirety for us to look down at possible calculations down the line and be prepared to confront power with power and threat with threat. admiral? >> i would just like to underline what mr. mckeon said. and to your point, readiness is key to deterrence. it's fundamental to what we do. and it's coupled, as secretary nuland said, align and solidarity. those elements together are the best way to buy down risk and ensure stability and security. >> secretary nuland, wasn't to ask you a question for my own edification. would you consider russia's use of its infinite supply of natural gas and oil soft power?
>> certainly its use of energy as a weapon. i don't know if i would call it soft. but it's certainly a tool of its influence and not always -- >> my question, i don't know the answer to this. this is not a loaded question. it's going to show my ignorance probably. but had there been a counter balance of the supply of petroleum and gas that russia could supply in the world, could that have thwarted what russia has done in ukraine and crimea? >> i think their interest of controlling supplies of energy to europe is a factor. there were many other factors in play. >> but an alternative supply would have made a difference in how far russia went early on? and i'm not trying to bait you. i'm just trying to understand your -- >> i think if ukraine had been able to be more emergency energy independent earlier in its period since independence from the soviet union, it would have had more resilience and it would
have had more ability to resist. that's one of the reasons we're putting so much effort in the bilateral program into energy diversification and security for ukraine as well as for the rest of europe. >> the reason i ask the question, it's important for us to understand the national defense interest of developing all of the petroleum resources we can in the united states so we have control to balance what the russians are able to do in russia. thank you for your time and interest. >> thank you. senator kaine. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you to the witnesses. i want to pick up on where senator isakson left off. i have some questions about the economy and energy. i've been a strong supporter of the economic sanctions against russia. i understand there's been earlier questions about the possibility of more sanctions in the energy sector. it does seem this is the economic tool that russia uses most. so whether it's sanctions in the energy sector or helping nations
that overrely on russia to have alternate sources of energy or to develop their own sources of energy, these are all strategies that i strongly support. senator johnson made a comment repeating some comments from a hearing last week. i'm interested in your theories about it, to the extent that we're more successful in economic sanctions, to the extent that an extended period of low oil prices for example puts economic pressure on russia, there was some testimony in a hearing last week that that makes russia more dangerous militarily. i would be curious as to your thoughts on that. i'm a supporter of sanctions and energy pressure. but does that raise the risk of, you know, unpredictable military behavior? >> senator kaine, i don't know that it raises the risks or makes russia more dangerous. it's hard to understate the
dangers of the actions that president putin has already taken. he's going to face hard economic choices if oil prices stay down and the ruble continues in the direction it's going. he's got a big investment in his military modernization. a big part of his budget. if the oil prices stay down he's going to have to make some hard choices if he continues to sustain those investments. there are going to be other costs i suspect in the social safety net in russia. so he's going to have to weigh that in terms of his internal politics. i know it's not exactly a democracy but he does have to pay attention to what's going on in the country and public attitudes. >> any different positions? so this is not something we should be overly concerned about if we decide to do more sanctions in the energy sector or take steps to help ukraine and other nations diversify their energy portfolio? then let me follow up and ask about the question or this issue of the internal russian dynamic. there's been a lot of question about how much are the sanctions
having an effect, how much are low oil prices having an effect. we've seen the statistics about capital outflow, the valuation of the ruble. other economic effects. what is the best that you can tell me now in an unclassified setting about the combined effects of sanctions on oil prices on the internal political dynamic in russia today? >> well, i think we've given you some of the facts and figures that this policy has wrought, not only russia's vulnerability to low oil prices because of their lack of economic diversify over the last 15 years, but also as the result of sanctions. i think, you know, we've yet to see what the political impacts will be. but we clearly can see from some of the statistics that russian
kitchen tables are being hit now by these policy choices that the kremlin are making. when you hear assistant secretary toloui talk about inflation at 15% to 17%, when we have statistics of skyrocketing food prices across the russian space, 20% to 40% in some places, when we know that average russians are having difficulty paying for loans for apartments, for cars, when we see imports way down. it is affecting lifestyles. now that simply goes to the point that the kremlin has prioritized their international adventure over the quality of life for their own people. and at what point that has a political effect i think we've yet to see. >> the question about where will oil prices be in a year, you know, is something we should be weary with respect to speculating. but there are people who have to make that speculation, folks who
buy fuel for, you know, major airlines, et cetera have to do projections all the time and some of their projections are that oil prices would stay in this low range for some extended period of time. if we are a year from now and oil prices have stayed in basically this historically low level, talk a little about what you would predict that you would see in terms of the internal russian economic dynamic. and then we can draw the line between that and likely political feelings. >> senator kaine, thank you for that. i think it's important to recognize that the economic outcomes that we've seen in russia have really been an interaction between what we've seen in oil and the impact of economic sanctions. higher oil prices would definitely be a positive for the russian economy. but i think it's relevant to look at what both moody's and s&p have done to russia's credit rating. russia has been downgraded to junk for the first time since 2003, 2004.
now the responsibility of agencies like moody's and s&p is not to react to what the oil price is today but to think about how russia's economy is being managed, what the impact of sanctions is and how that affects the russian government's ability to meet its obligations not only to foreign creditors but to its people. and so i think that if we saw higher oil prices -- and i'm not going to speculate on oil prices like you mentioned. but i think that even if we see oil prices rise, the combination of economic mismanagement and the impact of sanctions has cast the shadow on russian economic prospects that is expected to persist, and one manifestation of that is the decision of the rating agencies to designate russian debt as junk. >> thank you, mr. chair. i don't have other questions.
>> senator rubio. >> thank you. thank you all for being here. secretary nuland, in your statement you outline our goal as threefold, first of all, peace, then political normalization and then ultimately to return the borders, which i imagine includes crimea as well. and the hope is that minsk would offer that promise with peace coming first as the precondition. the question that i have is how realistic is that goal given the goals that putin has himself? i think the goal, unless any of you dispute this, i think the goal putin has here is to basically -- it's not just about ukraine. it's completely reorganizing the post-cold war, post-soviet war era order in europe. it's not just about ukraine. in the context, that's why he wants to weaken, perhaps force
nato to fall apart. he's questioned why we need a nato anymore because there's no more soviet union. he's said they believe they need to establish a sphere of influence in former countries. this whole talk about protecting russian speakers, this is an excuse he puts out there as an justification before the international community from moving forward. their ultimate goal here is to carve out, to reorder the post-soviet order in the region and to carve out a strategic space for themselve, for influence. so in light of that, why should we have any hope that these cease-fires are going to hold given we know what his ultimate goal is. he may agree to a temporary cease-fire as a tactical move, and maybe hopefully to split us off from europeans, and maybe that's why there is arguments we shouldn't go on sanctions alone because it could cause friction with the european union and split us from them. but he may agree to a cease-fire
temporarily to perhaps create a point of friction between -- hoping we'll jump out ahead of the europeans and create that as a division. but ultimately his goal unquestionably is to completely rearrange the order in this area and to carve out for russia a sphere of influence. why is it realistic to think he's going to allow stabilization of ukraine and that he's going to return back to their borders given we know what their goal is. he's a criminal and a thug but he's also a very determined one who has shown the willingness to act out in furtherance of his strategic goal. why should i feel optimistic that there's any chance of that happening given the goal he has now unless the cost benefit analysis changes for him? >> senator, i'm not going to dispute your analysis. i'm going to say that minsk is a test for russia. russia signed it. the separatists signed it.
it is also a choice for russia. if fully implemented, it would bring back sovereignty and territorial integrity in the east. it doesn't obviously address crimea. so now we have to test. and as i said at the beginning, the record is already mixed today and we have to be ready both for the opportunity for success but also to impose more costs, significant costs en russia with our european partners if minsk is violated either because the agreement is not implemented or because there's a further land grab or because the separateists are further armed. >> if in fact this is a test, what is wrong with now laying out clearly exactly what we're going to do if that test is failed? in essence, if this test fails we're going to arm the ukrainians with -- by the way, as a sovereign country, ukraine has a right to defend itself not just against russian aggression or separatist aggression but against any aggression. if in fact we're trying to
strengthen the writ of that government, part of that is allowing them to provide for their own defense. we should be doing that anyways. is it the position of the administration that we're going to lay out a clear picture about what the specific sanctions will be and what specific military aid will provide if russia miles fails the minsk test? >> senator, i think in my opening i made clear that we are working now with the europeans to lay out concrete sanctions costs if minsk is not implemented or further violated. we generally don't signal those in advance but we make clear that we're prepared. that's what we're working on. with regard to security assistance, we're continuing to evaluate that based on the situation on the ground and implementation of minsk will very much be part of that. >> can you comment on whether denying russia access to the swift system is something that has been discussed? >> we actually generally don't discuss in a public forum any specific measures.
but we discuss a whole range of things as we're evaluating it, we look at both the impact it would have on russia as well as the spillovers that it would have on the global economy, the united states and our european partners. but i don't want to comment on any specific action. >> irrespective, my last question, i guess this is more of a -- i know that it's -- maybe i don't expect you to comment on this, but irrespective of whether russia adheres to minsk or not, is it not -- if, in fact, we want to stabilize ukraine, isn't part of that stabilization to give them the ability to defend themselves in the future from any other aggression that may exist? in essence, other countries haven't been evaded, because we understand that the absence of it invites aggression in the future. i just want to know, why is it a bad idea to provide them defense assistance irrespective? i know that's being reviewed but is there an argument against providing defensive weapons to a country, irrespective of how the cease-fire turns out, since we're trying to help them
stabilize their government and as part of that has to be the ability to provide for their national defense. >> senator rubio, as you know, we have provided a range of security assistance in the nonlethal categories, which have met real ukrainian security requirements. because the armed forces were not fully stripped bare but left lacking by the corruption of the last regime. i expect long past this crisis we'll have a defense partnership with the government of ukraine. but at the present time, as assistant secretary nuland said, defensive lethal weapons are being reviewed but it's not something on offer at the present time. >> my last question is, i've heard some commentary that even among putin's critics within russia, there are those who do not support giving defensive weapons to ukraine because ultimately that would lead to the death of russians and they can't support that. i read that yesterday. i think "the washington post"
reporter had commentary from some of putin's opponents. here are my questions. putin says there are no russian troops in ukraine. therefore, if we provided -- if that's true, he has nothing to worry about, right? >> i made clear in my opening, not only do we believe there are russian forces in ukraine, we believe they are responsible for command and control, arming, financing, directing of this conflict. we also believe there are many hundreds of russian dead in ukraine and it does pose a vulnerability for the kremlin politically at home because they are denying they're even active there. >> i'm sorry, just one quick point. i read in your statement, maybe you didn't say this publicly because you had to shorten your statement, is it not accurate that as these coffins are returning and bodies are returning to russia, russian families of the dead soldiers are being told not to comment on it or they'll be denied death benefits? >> yes. and i did say that publicly here. >> thank you. >> i know senator menendez had a closing question for this panel.
>> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you all for your testimony. madame secretary, the budapest memoranda was basically a way to entice the ukrainians to give up their nuclear weapons. is that a fair statement? >> ranking member menendez, at the time the primary intent was for russia to get russia to assure ukraine that it would not seek to take advantage of ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity if it gave up its weapons, so ukraine sought that political guarantee, primarily from russia. it is that guarantee russia has violated. there was never an intent to have treaty obligations -- >> no, i gather that from your answer to senator murphy. you said, it was a political agreement, right? yes? >> yes. >> all right.
so, we also, however, signed that political agreement and so while you say the concern for ukraine was russia, not seeking to attack it or to interfere with its territorial integrity, if it did what? if it gave up its nuclear weapons, right? that's the essence of what was induced from the ukrainians. is that not fair to say? >> it is -- >> whether they wanted a guarantee from russia and we just joined with great britain and others to sort of give them further comfort in this political agreement, it was to give up their political weapons because their political arms because otherwise -- i'm sorry, their nuclear arms, because otherwise there is no reason for such an agreement. >> senator, they also sought assurance from the other two nuclear powers, united states and great britain, that we would not seek to exploit ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity. we obviously have not done that. so, that was the -- >> the whole purpose of it was
to guarantee territorial integrity and not to face the threat from any of these powers if it did what? give up its nuclear weapons, is that correct? i don't know why we're dancing around it. >> of course, of course. >> so how was this political agreement different from the one we're trying to strike with iran? isn't basically the agreement we're trying to strike with iran a political agreement? it's not a treaty obligation, the administration has said. >> i'm not, as you know, qualified to get into the intercys of the deal we're trying to strike with iran. i think i'll leave that to the folks in the administration -- >> how -- i'm not asking you about the intricacies of the agreement. that's for another time with another panel. the question is, it seems to me that what we have heard from the administration, as it relates to iran, is to say that it is not going to be a treaty, therefore, the congress has no need to have a say.
it's going to be basically a political agreement. and if that is the case, then we need to know the nature of what that means, as i see it unfolding here in the budapest memorandum, which was a political agreement, ultimately to entice the ukrainians to give up their nuclear weapons, which they did, with a understanding that all of these powers were not going to affect its territorial integrity, which in the case of russia has been violated. so, i don't see the difference. and i do think it's very much on point. so, it raises concerns for me as to where we're going in that regard. but you tell me you're not capable of answering that question, so i'll -- >> well, let me just say that with regard to the budapest political commitment, the united states of america lived up to its commitments under budapest, so if the concern is whether the united states honors political
commitments, as it honors treaties, i think one can be reassured by our behavior, vis-a-vis, budapest. i can't speak to other nations. >> we have certainly, nor did we ever have any intention of interfering with ukraine's territorial integrity. the reason that we joined is to give comfort, support and, i think, the ukrainians would think that, in fact, that political agreement with these three powers, because i doubt the ukrainians ever thought we were somehow going to invade their territory, was, in fact, that we would be supportive of their security and their territorial integrity. but that, at this point while we have certainly not done anything to interfere with its integrity, i think the ukrainians would feel far short of what that agreement meant. and so, in terms of its actual implementation.
and so, at the end of the day, it's a political agreement that can be interpreted as those who signed it wish to interpret it. and that's, i think, a challenging proposition. >> i very much appreciate the line of questioning the ranking member just put forth. i have to say, this has been a very good hearing. we thank all of you for your testimony. it has been very unsatisfying to me. i would ask the secretary who does meet with people constantly around the world, surely on the heels of us never doing the things we said we would do with the free syrian rebels, and now the world being very aware of this budapest memorandum and knowing that the administration,
i assume that this is another decision memo that sits on the president's desk, undecided, this has to have affected our credibility with others around the world. i'd love to have your sense of that and how damaging our lack of ability to make simple decisions. they certainly have complex outcomes, but the decisions themselves are relatively simple. certainly highly supportive by congress, so we're all in this together should a decision be made. but i would just like to get your sense of how badly, on the heels, again, of what we never did in syria, on the heels of a red line that was never adhered to and this particular issue which was so important to world stability, i'd love to get your sense of how this is affecting
us with others. >> well, chairman, i would say with regard to my patch, europeans do see strong bipartisan, bicameral support, on the economic side or security side, and frankly, per capita we've done -- i don't want to say per capita, but we've done far more than most nations in the transatlantic space to support ukraine. and i do think that our leadership in this is recognized. we are having as spirited a debate as ongoing there's also a transatlantic debate so that question gets also asked in our diplomacy. but europeans come at it from both sides, depending upon where they sit. >> we're going to have the record open for questions and move to the second panel.
i would just say that i have very much enjoyed our conversations. you've been very forward with your statements regarding ukraine and the things that need to be done. and that has been appreciated, very much by my -- by most of us. i would have at this point significant difficulty coming to work each day with these decisions lingering and the way that they have and us, again, not taking the steps that -- that many people within the administration, as i understand it, feel needs to be taken. and yet we continue for some reason not to do those things that we've acted as if we might do. i have a number of other questions that i'll send in writing. and i thank each of you for being here. i realize that in all cases, y'all are messengers and not the ones that have these decision memos sitting on your desk
unheralded, but we thank you for your service to our country. and appreciate your candid testimony. our first witness is former assistant secretary of state for european affairs and former u.s. ambassador to germany, john kornblum. second and final witness is former u.s. ambassador to ukraine and director of the eurasia eurasia center at the atlantic journal, john herbst. as you all are getting seated and comfortable, we will -- we will begin with ambassador kornblum.
>> ambassador kornblum, i want to thank you for being here. in particular, i know you're a resident of nashville, tennessee. we're always glad to have really bright people from nashville, tennessee, here testifying. with that, if you'd begin. we appreciate it. >> thank you very much. i have also, you might even be more pleased to learn, a very direct contact with city you know, chattanooga, tennessee. and mr. mayor burke is going to be at a meeting i'm organizing in berlin in three weeks to talk about the tremendous success chattanooga has had in revitalizing the city and supporting entrepreneurship there. and i think you had a little bit to do that. i've heard that, anyway, from history. and so i'm very pleased to be here. both because of my ties to tennessee and also because these
are issues i worked upon very -- a lot in the 1990s. i was the assistant secretary during this whole period of all these memorandum and agreements and everything and participated in negotiation of everything. not the budapest paper but most of the others. and so to you and also to ranking member menendez, i'm very pleased to be here. i have a very special point to make. you have heard in very extremely good detail, if not satisfying detail about how our government sees things, but i think there's one thing that we need to think about, which senator rubio in particular talked about, and that is that the direction of this conflict and a definition of this conflict. my own view is, and i've been living in germany for a long time now, after i stopped being ambassador, and i think that i can say with a certain amount of
accuracy that whatever we are doing in ukraine and with russia, we are losing the public affairs battle on this crisis. the narrative, as we say in the journalistic world. the narrative that is most prevalent in the united states to a considerable extent but more so even in europe, is that this is a russia which is reacting angrily because it was cheated, ill-used, misused by the west after 1990. and i think it is important that we focus on this fact because many of the decisions, and i'll say a couple points about that, which are going to be taken in the future will depend considerably on whether the russians believe that they have the upper hand on this aspect of the crisis and whether we, in fact, can maintain a strong situation, a strong direction.
the fact is that after 1990, we dealt with the russian leadership which saw the foreign -- the collapse of the soviet union as a liberation and not as a western attack on russia. and they knew exactly what our plans were. we talked to them in great detail about it. we didn't talk to them about the details about nato enlargement or eu enlargement, but we told them our goal for them and europe was to establish democracy, establish free market systems, and to allow russia to join the western world. and on many of the discussions i had, ambassador herbst was along, and i think he can attest to this, we worked very hard to make this point, not only clear but to establish things to make it real. and now 20, 25 years later, for me, the narrative of this crisis
is not whether russia somehow is now a wounded power, but the fact that the united states, three administrations in connection also working with the congress, have established between the baltic states and now hopefully ukraine also, and the south, a community of nearly a billion persons, which is democratic, which is secure, which is oriented toward free markets and which wants to be part of the western and the atlantic world. now, i say this so precisely because we have to remember what the situation was 25 years ago. 25 years ago we had the western part of the continent democratized. the eastern part, was to put it mildly, a mess. when we first came into establish relations with the new
governments in poland and czechoslovakia, hungary, we found they had hardly any of the basic conditions for modern, industrial western society. and so the cooperation within society. so the cooperation within nato and with strong leadership of these countries has in fact succeeded. and many of the reasons that we have this conflict with russia right now is not because ukraine violated orders or not because russia has somehow felt threatened by the west. it is because russian, the leadership in russia after the beginning of this century has covered its own misdeeds its own poor performance. and they're finding that the countries on their pa riffry but also much of their population
wanted to join the west and not to maintain an eastern orientation. this is a basic point and it leads to strategy. it suggests for example that entering into negotiations with the russians over how to conclude this crisis are not very relevant at the moment. there isn't any new security system which we can offer the russians which wouldn't include giving them a sphere of influence in the countries that we're trying to protect. there isn't any military arrangement which we can enter with the russians which wouldn't somehow limit our ability to defend the country to the east who we've helped become democratic. there isn't any new political forum which would change the fact that the real reason that putin and his cohorts in russia in general fail threatened at the moment is not because of
anything we've done and not because of nato sanctions even, although i favor them. but because of things such as that's all been discussed here today, the oil price, russia's lack of investment in the high-tech sector. russia's inability to build the modern structure, et cetera. it also thooz do with the fact that russia -- mr. herbst is more of an expert on this than i am -- has in fact also failed to have the political leadership since 2000 which helped its population come out of the shock of the end of the cold war and to understand how closely its interests are involved with being part of the west. so we have a situation now which is important for all of the reasons that our government officials mentioned to you
today. they gave it i thought, a very comprehensive view of what's going on. but we are in effect facing an even larger challenge. a challenge which is not only a challenge to europe but a challenge actually across the entire world. and that is that russia is whether consciously or by accident is taking account of a growing unease around the world at the dislocations caused by what's called globalization. what's called -- what is the mod concern information technology world. what is happening with the dislocation of industries, et cetera et cetera. and that the russians have been able to harness this dissatisfaction in their own country. but i can tell you with, shall i say a lot of experience -- i've been living in berlin now for 17 years and i'm still very politically active there -- that these arguments have an effect
in western europe and they're also having an effect as you know in ore parts of the world. added to that one of the senators mentioned it russia is financing with very large efforts movements in western europe who have anti-democratic who are trying to undermine the western system. and russia is also continuing to threaten in one way or the other the weakness points of our system, such as the baltic states, such as the republic of georgia where i work quite diligently in recent years. so we are facing not just the question -- and it's a very important question. i might add that i will mention to senator murphy that my wife grew up in the ukrainian community in hard ford connecticut. we have very committed to
ukraine. but the real challenge of this crisis is that russia, after immense efforts on the part of the west -- and i must say really immense efforts -- has broken out of the channel of unity and cooperation among the countries of europe and is now adapting an anti-western but ultimately that means anti-globalization and anti-american approach. and to understand the importance of this there was an extremely good article in the "washington post" this week talking about the rhetoric that's being used inside china about the west. and it turns out to be almost word for word the same rhetoric that russia is using. the same rhetoric is heard in the middle east. and even in india, which we consider to be a very important partner, putin has been visiting
and the indian leadership more or less have agree with many of the things he was saying. so we're talking here not just about a problem with russia, which san important one. we're talking in fact -- that's why i mentioned senator rubio -- about wearing away at the foundations of the western community in europe. but even more so a wearing away of the ability that the west is going to have to influence, control, if you will, the content of the new globalized world which is coming up. >> thank you. >> and so that's the main consequence that i see in this conflict. and my only -- my final point would be i am very appreciative of your personal efforts to increase our information budgets to have liberty to have europe be more active. and i think that winning back the narrative and using tools such as the ones that you're financing is almost as important
as considering military support for ukraine, which i support very strongly. thank you. >> thank you. am basbassador ambassador? >> chairman corker ranking member menendez. thank you for this chance to testify. it's an honor to be here. i've been asked to talk about -- sorry. aye been asked to talk about kremlin aggression in ukraine and how to counter it. but in order to take the subject on properly, we need a wider lens. the reason for the simple there are influence people in the united states and especially in europe who do not understand the gravity of this crisis. they don't understand it because they think the crisis is simply about ukraine and moscow's aggression there. with that narrow understanding they oppose the strong measures necessary to counter kremlin aggression and secure vital american interests not simply important interests. the crisis that we face is as i
think almost every senator said, a crisis of kremlin revisionism. mr. putin does want to overturn the post cold war order established in europe and our asia. mr. putin has stated he must have sphere in the post. and he has the right to protect the russian speakers wherever they reside. mr. putin has major resources to pursue aggression. he possesses the world's sixth largest economy, one of the two largest nuclear arsenals and far and away the strongest military in europe. and we all know mr. putin has committed multiple acts of adwregs. in georgia in 2008, in crimea early last year and since april of last year he's been conducting an increasingly overt covert war in ukraine's east.
in this covert war in ukraine's east he's escalated his intervention multiple times agreed to two cease-fires minsk one and minsk 2 and violated each one of them. his goal is ukraine is what the admiral said early to to destabilize the country. but to achieve that, he cannot settle for a frozen conflict. he needs to be regularly on the offensive, albeit with tactical pauses. he's made clear by his statements and actions that if he succeeds in ukraine there will be future targets. the targets may include nato allies where ethnic russians and russian speakers comprise 25% of the population. recent kremlin provocations include the kidnapping of an intelligence official from acetone ya and that happened on the day that the nato summit
ended last support. he is telling the baltic states and all of the states in his neighborhood you are not secure even if you're members of nato. we have a vital interest in stopping moscow's policies before they move to other countries, especially to the baltic states. i think u was senator isaacson who said that the kremlin menace is the most important national security danger that we face today. i endorse that wholeheartedly. isil is a rag tag bunch of terrorists a serious danger to individual americans. a moscow is an external threat to the united states. even iran with its nuclear program is not the same order of threat as one of the world's two large es nuclear pourers on the
move. if western leaders clearly understand this danger, if they clearly understood it they would devote substantially more resource to dealing with it and they would draw a bright red line in ukraine. stop putin ukraine before he moves beyond ukraine. to date western policy has been slow, reactive and all too concern about giving mr. putin a graceful way out of the crisis and not sufficiently focused on imposing costs that would make it too expensive for him to continue his aggression. we had a very distinguished panel in the first two hours of this session but they were all too reflective of slow reactive approach. to persuade mr. put on the put aside his revisionist dreams we need to do something that play on his weaknesses. strong sanctions are part of this. we have to deal with mr. putin's economy. we must persuade mr. putin that
by announcing strong additional sanctions for aggression to come -- i think it was senator rubio who said why can't we tell mr. putin now what sanctions will play down if he moves beyond the current cease-fire line. he asked a very good question. we need to have sanctions in place now for if he moves again. that way it may deter him. but if it doesn't it will clearly weaken his economy, political support at home and give him fewer resources for his next regression. i give the obama administration pretty good mark for dealing with sanctions. the other area we need to work on is on the security side. mr. putin has a serious vulnerability. the russian people do not want russian troops fighting in ukraine. that's why he's lying to them. that's why the russian dead that come back are buried in secret. that's why the families of the
russian dead are told if you tell the neighbors that your sons fought and died in ukraine, you will not get benefits. if we provide defensive lethal equipment to ukraine, that means that either mr. putin will be deterred from going further into ukraine because he does not want to risk the casualties or if he goes further into ukraine, he suffers those casualties, his support in ukraine -- excuse me at home with weaken. this is a compelling reason to give weapons to ukraine. some people who argue against this say if we do that he will simply escalate. perhaps. but if he escalates he suffers more casualties, he weakens his support and has fewer resources with which to pursue aggression against ukraine. i was one of a group of eight former officials produced a report on this.
we suggested giving ukraine $1 billion a year for the next -- each of the next three years, $3 billion of weapons total. the report provides the details. i want to mention to this committee just two elements of that. one, we should be providing anti-armor equipmeu because the russians have used mass tanks in order to commit their aggression on ukraine. we should also be providing counter battery radar for missiles. because ukrainians have suffered 70% of their casualties from russian missiles. they need it for missiles. we also need to keep insanctions for the seizure of crimea. and i should add the atlanta council just released a report on substantial systemic ukrainian -- excuse me russian human rights violations in crimea. two other essential elements of
our policy. we need to do more in nato to bolster the deterrence to russian aggression against the baltic states. the administration and nato have taken good steps forward. the sum it talked about deploying to the baltic states. that's a nice first step but it's very small. we should put a pabattalion into acetone ya. we need to make sure that nato has a contingency plan dealing for possible russian hybrid war in the baltic states. finally, we need to do the right thing in the information war against russia. onalready mentioned that. i know that this committee
supports additional funding for radio liberty. this is important to offsetting the massive rush hand propaganda ukraine. these four steps inhans sanction, military supplies to ukraine, a military posture in nato east and a ramped up information effort will give us a good start in stopping mr. putin in ukraine making sure he doesn't go beyond ukraine. agpr', this is a vital american interest >> thank you both for outstanding testimony and i'm going to defer questions at this moment to sq'ator menendez. >> thank you, mr. chairman and thank you both for your service to our country at difference times. always a pleasure to welcome another tennesseean here to the room. ambassador herbst, let me ask you, i think you've laid out a
pretty compelling case and probably done it better than i've been successful in trying to do it in terms of the importance of it. you've spent time in kiev as our ambassador. had a lot of opportunities to observe president putin's behavior towards his neighbors. if i were to ask you to and you largely i think alreadk referred to his intenáions. but would you expect, for example, if unchecked, russian forces to mo into mayor poll? >> mr. putin cannot expect a frozen conflict. ukraine could develops as a stable democratic state. he has to move beyond the area that he currently controls. mayor the russians have been
conducting a terror campaign in har kef. har kef is arguably the second most important city in the country but they've ba' unable to establish a clear presence there. but they will probe there. they'll move wherever they can with the least casualties to themselves and the least uproar in europe. we need to provide ukraine the means to stop that from happening. otherwise he will continue to go forward. >> et me ask you to answer two questions that are often poised in a contrary view to mine that providing defensive lethal weapons to ukraine we create serious problems with europe, or that providing such weapons could just lead russia to further escalate. what would you say in response to those questions? >> i'll start with the second because the answer is quicker. mr. putin escalated half a dozen
times precisely because he's not pushed back. you psh back i'm not going to say it won't escalate wu be chances of them escalating go down. very carefully chancellor merkel's visit to washington in february. she said, quote, that she opposed sending weapons to ukraine. she also said that if the united states were to do that she would work hard to make sure that there's no transatlantic disharmony. that is an amber light, a light which we can go through. because she understands that the united states may ultimately make the intelligent decision to provide the weapons for ukraine to defend itself. i don't have any doubt that we this. what you need is stront leadership which unfar nately we've not seen. strong leadership in washington, europe and nato. with that this is manageable. >> thank you mr. chairman.
>> yeah i apologize for not having questions at this moment. i've got to get to a meeting at 12:35. i want to thank you both for your testimony. we'll have some written question we'd like for you to respond to. i do that this strategy you laid out ambassador is very clear and helpful. am bas tore kornblum, tin sites on what's driving russia were very helpful. we appreciate you both for being here as an asset for us as we try to serve our country. and with that, this meeting -- the questions, i guess will be open until march 12th. so if people have questions they can send those in and hopefully you'll respond promptly to those. we thank you again for being here. the meeting is adjourned. tonight on american history tv, ford theater symposium on
abraham lincoln's life and history. jonathon white talks about lincoln's dreams of death. ap that stephen goldman discusses troops and lincoln's assassination. also jerry al fer on lincoln's assassin assassin, john wilkes booth. all of this coming up tonight on american history tv on c-span3. freelance journalist james foley was beheaded by isis terrorists in august 2014. he was the first american killed by isis. in late february foley's parents appeared at the university of arizona on a panel discussion about journalists in conflict zones. the panel also includes terry anderson who was held hostage by iran for seven years. here's a preview.
>> we really had no person in the government to go to. we had no one who was accountable for jim if you will, or any of the others who were kidnapped. i started a series of trips to washington going to state department and to fbi, you know, just to remind them that jim was still missing. we didn't know if $e was alive or not and such. and we were very disappointed. and you know, we had no access to anyone with any power or who had any information. and we were not allowed to be part of the effort to get our son out. so i now we can do better as families. at many points i was just appalled at the way we were treated in some instances. and -- >> i think, you know for a
year, it's important that for a year and a half diane and i were both told that jim -- jim's situation was the highest priority that everything possible was being done to bring him home. but they could tell us nothing because everything was classified. >> and you can see the entire event on journalists in conflict zones and their work tonight on c-span starting at 9:00 eastern. >> this weekend the c-span cities tour partnered with cox communication to learn about the history and literary life of tulsa, oklahoma. >> it's most famous for writing "this land is your land." but he was much more than that. he was born in 1912 in oklahoma. and so we're very proud to have his work back in oklahoma where we think it belongs. he was an advocate for people who were disenfranchised.
for those people who were migrant workers from oklahoma kansas and texas during the dust bowl airera who found themselves here starving. they found the vast differences between those with the haves and have notes and became their spokesman. we have a listening station that features 46 of his songs in his own voice. that's what makes this the recordings that he did make so significant. and so important to us. ♪ this land is your land, and this land is my land ♪ ♪ from california to the new york island ♪ >> watch on saturday at noon eastern on c-span's book tv and sunday afternoon at 2:00 on american history tv on c-span3. recently ukrainians were asked for their opinions on crimea
crimea russia and the west. a former u.s. am bass door to ukraine and former pentagon gishl took part in this event. it's hosted by the u.s. institute of peace. order. can i well come members of the public to the city of the foreign affair committee and what i strongly suspect will be the last opportunity to question the foreign secretary and his
team on events. welcome, good to see you here today. >> thank you. >> foreign secretary, this committee published a report couple of weeks ago on the finance performance and administration of the foreign office which we rather felt that the foreign office was at a bit of a crossroads. in our judgment it had done a good job over the last five years -- >> and thank you all for coming. in ukraine, it's really the people that are taking the brunt of this current conflict with thousands that have died. it's worthwhile to hear what the ukrainian people have to say about the issues that they're currently embroiled in. and that is what we've set out to do. and we have a new survey that --
oh, i see. yes. there we go. so we have a new survey that was conducted koth with the kiev international institute of sociology which is a group we've worked with numerous times over the years very highly regarded. the method used was face to face and for the most part telephone primarily. for the national sample we had 1005 respondents and then an oversample of 403 specifically in the region where the conflict is occurring. and then for the ukrainian held area, we have 330 and in the rebel held areas we have a sample of 240. this shows you how we divided up
the country. i'm going to give you the results not just for the nation as a whole but for the various regions because the differences are great. there's real tension in between the different parts of the country. so we have the north and the west over there and then the east and where the white lines are you can see the region and then of course the south, crimea was not surveyed. so the biggest question that we sought to address is whether people thought that the ukraine should move toward the european union or russia. this is a core dispute that is dominant. and has been for some years. and we asked the question in a variety of ways. now, first we asked in terms of what is your preferred option.
more standard form of a poll question. would you prefer for relations -- for ukraine to have relations that are stronger with the eu than russia, stronger than russia than the eu and equally strong. for the nation as a whole, less than half, 47% said stronger with the eu. almost half but less. the larjer number but still not a majority. and 34% said equally strong, 13% stronger with russia. now if you break these out by the regions you see quite a bit of difference. with the west and the north we are generally agating them because they were within the more again of error. when they are different we'll call it out. so in the western and the knot you have 68% saying they want to be close tore the european union, while in the south and the east, the most common
position is that relations should be equally strong. and then plurialty says that relations should be stronger with russia. there's a very great difference in terms of the preference. and the core point is that you do not have an overall majority in moving toward the eu. and when you look at the different regions it's only in the west and the north that you have this majority pulling for a stronger relation with the eu. now, these attitudes about polling are mere attitudes about how president poroshenko is handling the crisis in the east. overall you have a divided response -- the white space is people who didn't know. overall views are divided on poroshenko on his handling of the crisis in the east.
but here again you see 46% in the west and north approving and then in the south leaving toward the negative and the east very clearly to the negative 61 ffs while in the rebel areas 89% disapproving. ukraine held areas were generally pretty much the same as the east as a whole. but you can have -- all of that data is broken out in the questionnaire. now we move to the questions where we ask people to rate scenarios. we give them options. wer oar not just asking what is your preference. but how would you feel if that happened. and to answer this we give them the scale from zero to ten where zero means completely unacceptable, ten means very acceptable and five means just tolerable. by squg questions in this way you can see where the potential common ground is where the
flexibilities are. and when you have these kinds of conflicts, that's the kind of thing you need to look for -- and we developed this method in other areas of the world and other conflicting parties between other conflicts parties as well. so what pabt ukraine moving closer to the eu. well, overall 54% say well i can live with that. and another 18% say, okay i can tolerate that. so you have a fairly large number saying that they could tolerate moving closer to the eu. and in the west and north, very large numbers. now as you move into the south, you have only 44% saying it's acceptable, but 64% say i could tolerate it. in the east it gets weaker. you get 39% saying unacceptable and a bare majority saying they could tolerate it. then the rebel held areas and a clear majority 62% say no
that's not acceptable. so right here you see some of the core dynamics of the attitudes that are feeding into the conflict. on ukraine joining the eu, acceptability drifts downward. 52% acceptable overall 15% is tolerable, very positive attitudes in the west and the north. the south, okay, can barely -- maybe could tolerate it. and then in the east you get half saying no they can't and only 42% saying it's tolerable and the rebel held areas clear majority saying not acceptable for ukraine to join the eu. now what about ukraine moving closer to russia. well, this -- you get 60% not acceptable and 79% in the west and the north and 55% in the south opposing moving closer to russia. in the east, okay, you don't
have a majority saying it's acceptable. it's very important to note that. there's often an assumption that the eu in the east they really want to move toward russia but that's not the case. though three-quarters say they could tolerate it. and in the rebel held areas it's rather popular point of view. okay. ukraine joining the our asian customs union. large majorities overall in the west and the north, majority in the south, rejects it is unacceptable unacceptable, barely a majority finding it tolerable in the east. a majority in the rebel held areas finding it tolerable. but here again you don't have a majority even in the rebel held areas for joining the customs union. now, this is the area where we actually found the most
consensus. ukraine affirming a neutral position between eu and russia. overall 63% say it's at least tolerable. and 71% tolerable in the north. but views more divided in the west. this is one unusual case where the west and the north are different. so you have a kind of divided between not acceptable and tolerable in the west. so some tension there. but 65% find it tolerable in the south, 74% tolerable in the east and 67 tolerable in the rebel held areas. so this is quite interesting to us because this really points to a point of consensus, even between the different regions where you don't have a majority in any area rejecting the idea. what about ukraine joining nato? this has gotten a lot of attention. a lot of concern about that.
something that putin is very concerned about. and you have only 51% overall saying that this would be tolerable. so it's not popular. you might think ukrainian is feeling threatened by russia, they might want to join nato. well you do find that at 61%. 51% finding it just acceptable in the north 62% in the west. but in the south 55% not acceptable, east 68% not acceptable, the rebel held areas overwhelmingly 82% not acceptable. does that mean that people would be willing to agree to not join nato if russia agrees to not interfere in the ukraine. and that got, well, you know, promising, that's another question. 41% saying this should not 36% should, a lot of people aren't answering. and in the west and overwhelmingly they should not.
but in the north, only a slight plurality saying should not. and in the south views divided. while in the east support for the idea. it's again a very mixed picture on this idea of making this commitment. but only in one area in the west do you have a majority saying that this should not happen. all right. how do people look at the conflict? first, surprising finding in my mind, how do people feel about the ukrainian government using military force to regain territory held by the separatist. well only a plurality approve. that's very large in the west and the north but divided in the south and in large majority disapproving in the east. so you do -- this whole effort on the part of the ukrainian government to regain the territory does not have majority support overall. not surprising then in that --
from that perspective you get very large majorities in ever area approving of the september minsk agreement. basically the terms are the same so i think we can use this as a good reference point. now what about the u.s. providing military weapons and equipment to the ukrainian government. well, 52% favor it a bare majority. but it's not a large majority. and you get a lot of division. 70% approve in the west. in the north divided in the south and a clear majority opposed in the east. so this is not a consensus position and it's somewhat consistent with the ambivalence about using force to try to regain territory held by the separatists. all right. how do they view the outside
players. how do -- looking at putin, his handling of the crisis in the east, 79% disapprove. very negative findings. overwhelmingly negative in the western north. very negative in the south and even majority negative in the east. only in the rebel held areas do you find a majority that's positive. you think there's this whole love affair with russia. that's about russia's influence in the world. overall you get a pretty -- only in the rebel held areas do you get a majority having a positive view of russia's influence in the world. and in the east the views are divided. so i just underscore here that is not a pull toward russia. just a resistance to moving east ward. what about russia has the right to intervene to protect russian citizens and russian speakers as
putin claimed. overwhelmingly majority say that russia does not have that right. and these joortmajorities are in all of the major regions. only in the rebel areas is there a divided response. this argument is really basically not going down well at all. how do people view what angela america sl doing in regard to handling the crisis? 40% approve, lukewarm point of view that's consistently consist in all to have regions. what about barack obama? divided response overall. many people not even giving an answer. only a modest plurality in the west and the north. a negative plurality in the south and the east. in terms of u.s. influence in the world, 45% positive, better than russia. particularly in the west and the
north. but when you get to the east in the rebel held areas you get a negative point of view. what about the potential outcomes of the conflict. first again, what is their preference. and the options are to have one nation -- two options, ukraine governed as it is now or one nation having more aon the my. and as you can see, there were snare yous involving succession. overwhelmingly there's tiny percentages endorsing them. by fash the most popular view is that ukraine should stay governed as it is now. but 22% say -- this is built into the minsk agreement -- that certain areas would have more autonomy. but a lot of differences in the
west and the north. overwhelming majorities want ukraine to say governed as it is snow. in the east you get very small numbers call for succession. it's a very important numbers there. only 12% and 10% for the scenarios of succession. overall you get two-thirds basically wanting to keep the nation together in if east with the division about whether these certain should have greater. you do not have majority calling for succession. only four and ten overall call for some kind of succession. and the majority calls for some scenario that involves ukraine staying at one nation. okay. rating the scenarios. ukraine remains as one nation
governed as it is now. in all areas you have majorities finding that acceptable, except the rebel held areas were 60%. they are really set on having this greater autonomy for the region. and in the east -- well you'll see in a moment. so the idea of the ukraine remaining one nation but a greater autonomy you have overall 57% supportive and only 51% in the west and the north find this tolerable. there's some resistance to this built into the minsk agreement, though it's not a permanent thing. and only a modest plurality majority in the south see it as tolerable. not very many overall see it
acceptable. in the east you only have 49% saying it's acceptable but 72% saying it's tolerable. and in the rebel held areas you have more substantial support for the idea. okay. i'll go quickly. you can see that the ideas of succession do not get -- are rejected as unacceptable in most parts of the country divided response in the east. but only a quarter see it as acceptable. this is for the succession with done bask as independent. in the rebel held areas only 45% endorse it as acceptable, though two-thirds would find it tolerable. and the views are even more negative about succession and annexation by russia. what about the crimea? that's a -- have they pretty much written off the crimea?
well, this answer is no. we gave them three options. crimea being part of the ukrainian state and getting it back should be a top priority. second position, don't accept the loss of crimea but getting it back is not a top priority. and third, ukraine should accept crimea becoming part of russia again. and overall you can see striking, only 18% endorse the idea of basically writing off the crimea. the only debate is about whether it should be a top priority or not to get it back right away. and the dominant view, 51% is that it should not be a top priority but not writing it off. and interestingly in no area do you have a majority saying that the crimea should be written off, including the east. that's the area with the largest
number with 41% ready to write it off. but 59%, even in the east say that crimea should continue to be part of ukraine and that they should aspire to get it back. okay. so if you want to get more a more complete report and the questionnaire, you can go to our website one lickcon publicconsultation.org. looking forward to your discussion. thank you for your attention. [ applause ] >> thanks very much, dr. kull. before we go to our panel i would just like to open up the floor very briefly for technical questions about the poll. if we have larger questions,
let's save them for the next section of the discussion. but if you would like to know about the methodology, the way that the poll was conducted. please, go ahead, sir. >> -- separate out -- >> can we get a -- >> -- 10% of the population of ukraine. when you get to the other numbers that -- to the national number, do you weight those by population or are they broad numbers? >> they're weighted according to the population. all of thing a gaited numbers -- >> in each region you're taking what the region's opinion was, taking the population in that region times that in essence and then summing for the nation its population weighted is what you're telling me? >> we weight thing a gaited number according to the population. and it's the same with the other region. those are all weighted down. the numbers are in the mix but
everything is weighted down in proportion to the population. and in the east we did actually weight it according to the current percentage of the population which is significantly lower because there have been quite a few -- >> i'm sorry i was remiss. please do identify yourselves when you want to speak. i believe you had a question, ma'am. >> my name is eve pan ski and i'm the owner of my own company. my question is about sampling. and the respondents. when they responded to these questions, who did they think this information was going to? >> the -- it was simply stated that this was the kiev international institute of sociology. and they were not given any more information. the questions that went to the
country as a whole were part of an om that bus so there were a number of sponsors for the survey as a whole. though that wasn't true of the telephone parts in the region. >> and i'm assuming that the questions that were posed was in the ukrainian language? >> whatever the local language was. keep in mind that in both the south and the east the majority speaks russian. and in the west and the north the majority speak ukrainian. but whatever language they naturally spoke was the language that was used. >> do you believe that there may be a relationship between the language used in the questionnaire itself and the results? >> that would be an interesting study to do. i doubt it. there might be a slight effect. but basically whatever language people want to use they could
use. by the way on the rebel held areas, how we identified the rebel held areas. that was based on where people said they were. those lines can move. >> thank you very much for you good work. >> thank you. >> and i believe there's a question here as well. >> professor at virginia tech and have worked on a poll in december. and about the rebel held, so you're breaking that up within the east. -- rebel held. you do 200 with the phone but in the first wave, the face to face how many people -- there
was a little over 40 i think it was. >> so we're talking about 240 people, only 40 of whom were face to face for that particular -- >> and some of those may have been by phone as well. >> are you confident that that you know you can do face to face poll in an area where there is a war going on? >> that is a challenge and that's why the telephone was used. there are down sides to the telephone too. whenever you're dealing with doing surveys in a conflict area, you know, there's some compromise involved and you should always look at the numbers with some question in your mind. if you see a robust effect, you can have some confidence in it. but if it's down to some pretty granular differences, i wouldn't stress them too much. but what we found was a rather strong readiness to distance themselves from russia and to
say that they were not wanting to move closer to russia. nooechb the rebel held areas. so that gives me more confidence that people were feeling comfortable to say what was on their mind. >> perhaps one more question on the technical side. of course this doesn't preclude asking more questions during the larger session. yes, back here. >> michelle roma from the state department. i'm wondering for the phone surveys that you did were they landline only or mixed landline and cell? >> landline only. >> i'm curious what the nonresponse was for the phone poll and the face to face rnl. >> i'm sorry. i don't have that available. we just got the data on friday and it was a scramble to fully finish it. i'll get back to that if you want. >> okay. great. very interesting questions. so let's move on to the main panel now.
and first of all, i would like to introduce ambassador william taylor who is the acting executive vice president of u.s. -- of the united states institute for peace -- >> of peace. >> we are more peace. >> thank you very much. from 2011 to 2013 he was the special coordinator for middle east transitions in the u.s. state department. so he was, as the title suggests coordinating american support for the revolutions of the arab spring. very very interesting job. from 2006 to 2009 he served as u.s. ambassador to ukraine. and before that he was part of -- he was the u.s. government representative to the mideast core tet. he's served in a number of other diplomatic government functions which we probably don't have time to list in their entirety
here. suffice it to say he is graduate of west point and served in the u.s. army for a number of years as an officer. and just in time -- >> just in time. no thank to aaa. >> it's been known to happen. >> yes. >> i'd like to introduce c. katherine kelleher who is the college part profes or at the university of maryland. she has been in that position i believe since 2006, yes? >> right. >> and advises in the area of u.s. foreign policy. before that she served in the clinton administration as the president's deputy assistant secretary of defense for russia ukraine and ur asia and as the secretary of defenses representative to nato in brussel ps shep's held a number
of other prestigious positions in u.s. foreign policy. but in the interest of brevity i think we'll just -- she said i should indeed leave it at that. so we're going to have i hope, a very spirited discussion. i would like to call on the panel participants to each address the study for shall we give it ten minutes for each of you? and then we're going to have what i hope will be a very spirited discussion with the audience. we're going to go to 12:30. but if things are pretty passionate, then i think we should leave a little leeway to go on another few minutes, perhaps as late as 12:45. without further adieu let's get into it and hear the panelist's remarks. >> thank you very much. i'm pleased to be able to comment on this. i will pull out from the results that stephen just described to you some of the conclusions that
i draw from this, which i hope will not -- i hope will be controversial. i hope we can have a spirited conversation. and there are some in the room i suspect who will have views about this. i have three points here that i will try to do in less than ten minutes. one is ukraine has decided that its future is in europe. we'll come back to this. but i think you can pull this. my second point is ukraine is more united than ever in the face of russian aggression. and my third point is one that i think katherine will elaborate on more, the ukrainians have not forgotten crimea and we shouldn't either. let me do the first. ukraine decided that its future is in europe. steven asked if it were up to you which course should ukraine take. 47% of all of the ukrainians surveyed including those in, i
would say, separatist held. steven used rebel held. we know it's separatist held supported by the russians. including that, 47% would prefer stronger relations with the eu. 13 13% would prefer stronger relations with the russians. that's the first data point that i would pull out. second data point is 72% of all ukrainians surveyed would find it either acceptable or tolerable to move closer to the eu. 72% closer to the eu. 60% would find it unacceptable to move close tore the russians. again, a strong indication of which direction they would prefer. when you talk to them about joining the eu, 67% would find
it either acceptable or tolerable for ukraine to june the eu. that includes the separatists, the east and the south. and finally 51% as i said steven mentioned, 51% of all ukrainians would find it acceptable or tolerable for ukraine to join nato. now, steve mentioned that's only 51%. well, 51% of ukraine having watched this movement of ukrainian sentiment for an against nato over the years 51% saying now they would either prefer or would find acceptable joining nato is remarkable. that is a change from when i was there. it was in the 20s, 20% 25% would support joining nato. my first point is they've clearly decided to move toward europe ukraine has.
second ukraine is more united now than ever in the face of russian aggression. 85% of ukrainians surveyed across the whole country prefer a united ukraine. 85% want a united ukraine. 63% just as is governed now, another 22% when you add in some autonomy for the regions. so that's a pretty strong number i would say. 85% prefer a united ukraine. even in the east it's 68%. in the separatist held region it's 51% again as you pointed out. that is a strong indication of the broad support for a unified ukraine across the country. 79% disapprove of putin's actions. 26% -- in the rebel held area
separatist held area it's 26%. so mr. putin has not done himself any favors in ukraine. 87% say putin does not have the right to protect russian citizens or russian speakers. and even in the separatist-held area 41% would agree with that. i find this to be a dramatic rejection of the russian point of view. in particular mr. putin's point of view. last point and very short and i will defer to catherine on this. 82% of all ukrainians surveyed want to keep crimea. even they want to get it back right away or they want to get it back over time. i was just north of crimea in may to observe the presidential elections there. and the presidential elections, by the way, were as free and
fair as you could have hoped for and as a consequence the people sitting around the polling booths observing had nothing much to observe. there was no funny business as there always has been in previous elections. they were happy to talk to foreigners and one of the conversations i had with many of the people was about crimea. you will be happy steve to know that the informal assessment i got is exactly the same. a lot of people said you know, it's going to take some time. crimea is clearly part of ukraine and a lot of people said it will take as much time as we need for the economy to recover. when the economy recovers, the crimeans will come back. those are my three points and i think i'm under ten minutes. >> catherine?
>> i apologize for being late. batteries are odd things. let me start with a somewhat longer view than what bill has presented to you. i think what is amazing about the survey results particularly after the winter that we have observed and the attempt to set up a cease-fire is how clear-eyed most of the survey respondents were. they had a clear understanding about ukraine and its independence. they reject at every point however the question was asked or whatever the topic is the idea that russia has the right of regard that it has the right of protection for russian-speaking or russian minorities, that it has some way to make the decision for the ukrainians. they clearly assert this, however the question is asked.
they also favor an outcome that gives them access not necessarily equal access, but access to both the west and russia so that is it not something that is the black and white that is too often reflected in press accounts. they understand where they are geopolitically. they see -- they know that parts of their country have had major markets with russia. they hope that there will be a peaceful outcome to all of this and that it will be possible perhaps even desirable to continue in the middle position they have to a degree already enjoyed between east and west. but they're preference is to be an independent european country. and they do not see themselves
as necessarily being forced by anything to be brought into the orbit of either russia or europe and the united states. it's clear that vladimir putin is the big loser both in terms of what i just said and in the fact of the way that he is viewed. his popularity was never 100% in ukraine or even much more than 50% but he did have a good regard in the period up to, say, about two years ago. now there is an assumption in fact stated knowledge as far as they're concerned that there are russian forces no matter what people live no matter what they are look at, that there are russian forces in ukraine. the west has not really enjoyed a huge increase. but there is clear regard for
european leaders. so angela merkel and francois hollande are regarded over 50% as doing positive things. and that europe while it has not done all it could have done and there is a stress that the eu should have done more than simply policy by assertion, but that the europe has done what -- some measure of what it should do in order to help ukraine both economically and politically. the united states, perhaps, the questions are asked about how you rate president obama's performance, how you, in fact, look at the question of weaponization. here the predictable results in terms of the regional breakdown within ukraine are to be observed.
namely, obama is doing a strong plurality, the question of sending arms to ukraine is given a strong plurality with particular enthusiasm in the west and in the north. it is however not as strong as this european accent that i've reported behave. another incident of clear-eyedness and perhaps cynicism is given the long march to even get to where we are today, is that the rejection of the previous president and the understanding that it was a corrupt regime and it has a fairly strong rating on the score of one to ten a little over an eight in the view of most ukrainians that it was very
corrupt. however, it is also a judgment made about the present government. only slightly less corrupt than the past regime. and that's true in the east for their regime's as well as the north, west and south about the ukrainian regime. based in kiev. i think the whole question is the issue that has almost gone unnoticed in the western press reports in the last five or six monthser or -- or is it almost a year now, is a done deal but not worth worrying about is still present in their consciousness. most of them take the position that in the long term, they should seek crimean reintegration. they do not want to see either
crimea or the east somehow disentangled from ukraine and ultimately end up being integrated into russia. and the result is that for now they have other things on their plate, but this is an issue on which they wish to restore the ukraine that was. however much conglomerate of a number of historical legacies, not all of which are terribly con grunt but it is the ukraine that the majority of the respondents want to see reestablished. >> thank you very much to both of our panelists for. that. now let's before we open the floor for questions i had a question of my own i would like to direct to the director of the survey. but i would also be of course very interested to hear the others as well.
the separatist held areas in the survey come off as quite of an outlier. they are quite distinct. we have any sense of the factors that are influencing that and is it a matter of coercion by the separatists? is it a matter of greater exposure to russian information policy which we know is quite intense and virulent? or is it something about the conduct of the war in those areas? do we have any sense of what influenced that particular data point at all? >> am i on? >> you are. >> yeah. >> i think maybe the other commentators may have more background and insight than i. basically i think the strength of these attitudes are not something that could have just been created from the outside. people are not that malleable.
so clearly, there was some -- there were feelings along those lines before recent events. and clearly there are -- russia has intensified them and has enabled them to be expressed and created a whole narrative that's amplified. but at the same time they haven't fully bought the narrative and the attitudes are strong enough that you should assume that it is something that is homegrown to some extent a something that was simply created from the outside. >> we have some evidence on this question in crimea where there was a