tv Under Secretary of State Testifies on Russia CSPAN December 8, 2021 2:56am-4:46am EST
and assistant secretary holgrum gave us last night in a classified setting. as we meet here today, russia is engaged in one of the most significant troop bill-ups we have seen across ukraine's border. to anyone paying attention, this looks like more than posturing, more than attention seeking. the kremlin's actions clearly pose a real threat of war. i want to be crystal clear to those listening to this hearing in moscow, kiev and others around the world. a russian invasion will trigger devastating economic sanctions, the likes of which we have never seen before. i propose the sweep of options last month in an amendment to the ndaa, the russian banking sector would be wiped out, sovereign debt would be blocked, russia would be removed from the swift payment system, satoro
sanctions would cripple the russian economy. putin himself as well as his inner circle would lose access to bank accounts in the west. russia would effectively be cut off and isolated from the international economic system. let me be clear -- these are not run-of-the-mill sanctions. what is being discussed is at the maximum end of the spectrum, or as i have called it, the mother of all sanctions. and i hope that we can come together in a bipartisan way to find a legislative path forward soon so we can achieve that. if putin invades ukraine the implications will be devastating for the russian economy but also the russian people. the ukrainian military forces of 2021 are not the ukrainian military forces of 2014. they are well-equipped thanks to the united states and our allies. they are well-trained. they have years of combat
experience, and most importantly, they have every incentive to fight. now, russia clearly has conventional advantages, but is the kremlin really ready to face a bloody, persistent and drawn-out insurgency? how many body bags is putin willing to accept? in new jersey, we have a large ukrainian diaspora. i know ukrainians well. i know their fighting spirit. is russia ready for ukrainians from every walk of life, from boys and men and grandmothers to rise up and undermine and destroy a putin-installed puppet government? do russian families really want to sacrifice their sons and daughters to the ego of a dictator and the kremlin? is the kremlin truly prepared for a 1980s afghanistan all over
again? in short, the kremlin may want to reconsider. putin clearly wants to reconstitute the soviet union, amass power and expand russia's borders but you know what? it turns out ukraine gets a vote and the ukrainian people clearly want to be part of the west. they don't want to be subservient to moscow. they want a better future for their children. given ukraine's resolve, putin may want to reconsider. there are offerings available if he chooses to follow them. finally, putin is clearly underestimating our allies. this is not a question of the united states versus russia. our european allies and partners share our alarm. they are willing to act, and if pushed, they will stand in solidarity with ukraine against
kremlin aggression, given their resolve, putin may want to reconsider. there is a still a window of time to deter the kremlin from the willingness to invade but we remain united what awaits russia if it chooses that unwise path. i look forward to the diplomatic efforts including the read-out this morning from president biden, i look forward to how we are supporting ukraine's military, i look forward to how we are leading a sanction's efforts with allies. let's not mince words. this is not a time for half-measures. if putin does decide to act, if he invades ukraine, the response will be swift and unequivocal. putin doesn't get to redraw the map of europe. europeans should be thinking about that. he doesn't get to bully the people of an independent nation into submission. he may dictate the course of
events inside of russia, bought not ukraine. ukrainians won't stand for it and neither should we. finally, this critical moment calls into unity of purpose. unity with our partners in kiev, unity with our allies especially in democracy and the rule of law and with ourselves in this body. as we have in past instances of peril, the senate must be united in sending a strong and clear message that unwarranted aggression will not stand. i urge our members to come together in that unity of purpose in the days to come and let me turn it to distinguished ranking member -- >> thank you, that was a significant opening statement and i would like to join in the chairman's remarks. this is a clearly, clearly bipartisan matter and rather than going over it again, i will simply say to those listening, both our allies and those in
moscow, listen closely to what's been said here. i join in those remarks. my sentiment is the same as the chairman's. i can tell you that the sentiment in the united states senate is very much as described by the chairman. we haven't had a read-out yet on what the phonecall was like this morning, i don't know if you're ready to do that here yet or not. whatever happens, i hope you'll communicate back to the administration, although i suspect it will be there before you get back of the resolve this body has to move forward, if indeed, such an act by russia occurs. with that, i'll yield back, thank you very much mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator rich. turn to secretary muland, thank you again for coming before the committee. you heard some of my framing questions at the beginning. we look forward to your testimony and then to the dialogue that will ensue so we
recognize you at this time. >> thank you mr. chairman. thank you ranking member rich, members of the committee, for the opportunity to appear before you today and for the time that we were able to spend in classified session yesterday, to discuss our shared concern, what i hear as a bipartisan concern about the build-up of russian forces on ukraine's border and occupied crimea. first, what we are seeing. over the past six weeks russia has stepped up planning for potential further military action in ukraine, positioning close to 100,000 troops to ukraine's eastern and northern borders and to the south via the crimean peninsula, russian plans and positioning of assets also include the means to destabilize ukraine from within in an
aggressive operation and attempt to under mind the stability and inclusion and pin on kiev and nato nations including the united states. russia's military and intelligence services are continuing to develop the capability to act decisively in ukraine when ordered to do so, potentially in early 2022. the intended force, if fully mobilized, would be twice the size of what we saw last spring, including approximately 100 battalion tactical groups or nearly all of russia's ready ground forces west of the urales. we don't know whether putten made a decision to attack ukraine but we know there is the potential to do so. much of this comes out of the
2018 play book but much of it on a larger scale. so despite uncertainty on intentions of timing we must prepare for all contingencies even as we push putin to reverse course. now, on what we're doing, first, we're engaging russia on all levels to urge moscow to pull back and settle any concerns with ukraine or the transatlantic community through blinken engage with foreign minister lavrov last thursday. a national security adviser sullivan and i and all of us have been active with our russian counterparts and president biden gave that message directly to president putin in a more than two-hour phone call this morning. we are also warning and the president warned president putin today of severe costs and consequences including deploying far harsher economic measures
than before if russia chooses the path of confrontation and military action. second, we are engaging intensively with ukrainian president zlens kei and his government to strengthen their defenses, support their preparedness, and help them fight disinformation while also urging as you did, mr. chairman, national unity and vigilance in the face of russian efforts to divide or provoke them. the united states has provided ukraine $2.4 billion in security assistance including $450 million this year alone. we are committed to ukraine's sovereignty, territorial integrity, and independence. that is unwavering. third during secretary blinken's meetings at nato and osc last week and countless bilateral meetings at all levels including the president's engagements directly with key europeans we are working with allies and partners to send a united
message. russia mus de-escalate, pull back forces, and return to negotiations. if russia attacks ukraine we will be united in imposing severe consequences on moscow for its actions including high impact economic measures we have refrained from using in the past. at nato we are working closely with allies to reinforce nato defenses on the eastern flank as needed. none of us seek confrontation or crisis. certainly the russian people don't need it as they come out of a different covid period. diplomacy remains the best route to settle the conflict and address any other problems or grievances. the minsk agreements offer the best basis for negotiations and the u.s. is prepared to support a revived effort if the parties welcome that.
more broadly, president biden continues to believe that a more stable and predictable u.s.-russia relationship is in both countries' interests. we will continue to have very deep disagreements with the kremlin on human rights, on mr. navalny's treatment, press and ngo treatment, on belarus, cyber threats, election interference, detained american citizens and on embassy staffing and many other things. president biden has including today and will continue to raise these issues with president putin. and, yet, as we all know, when the united states and russia can work together, as we are doing now on iran and in the strategic stability talks we offer our citizens and people everywhere the prospect of a better future. what we could and should do together will be put at risk if president putin chooses more aggression against ukraine. senators, while i have you captive i want to thank this
committee for moving so many of our state nominees out of committee in recent weeks and even getting some of them confirmed. i met with ambassador flaik this morning one of your previous colleagues and now one of ours for example but with 85 nominees pending consideration before the senate american diplomacy remains at quarter power at main state and around the world. at this time of myriad security challenges including the one we are talking about today every empty slot around the world diminishes our global influence and creates space for adversaries to fill. so as christmas and new year's approach, the senate could give american diplomacy no greater gift than to get our folks confirmed and off to work. thank you. i look forward to your questions. >> thank you very much. we'll start a series of five-minute rounds. i recognize myself. first of all with reference to
the president's call with president putin today would you characterize president biden's messages to president putin as clear and unequivocal, delineating the consequences of any such invasion including sanctions such as i've mentioned and others that were mentioned yesterday in a classified setting? >> absolutely, mr. chairman. the president could not have been clearer. in that respect have we also shared this is not just a question of the united states engaging in these very sig capital be sanction activities but an increasing multi lateral reality for president putin if he makes the mistake of invading
ukraine? >> absolutely. we've said it ourselves but the europeans and other allies are saying it as well. you might have seen a press conference today given in brussels in which the chairwoman made absolutely clear the eu would also join in very consequential economic measures of the kind they have not employed before. >> much has been said about nordstream 2 that it would somehow be the be all and end all not having this present set of circumstances. i don't believe that for a moment because there is far more engagement than that, but are the germans ready to take significant actions with us if in fact russia invades ukraine? >> i believe they are, and today is the first day of the new german government as you know. but we've already begun intensive consultations with them. >> now, do we have a calculus as to how much pain putin is
willing to subject himself to in order to invade ukraine meaning how many lives of russia's sons are in the mix in terms of particularly a long term insurgency that would exist by the ukrainian people rising up? >> chairman, i thought you sent president putin a very powerful message yourself this morning that the ukrainians are a tough nation, they will not stand by should president putin order his forces into ukraine or otherwise try to destabilize their democracy in profound ways i think the russians will have a very big fight on their hands, that there will be severe casualties for them and, frankly, it's hard to comprehend why at a time when russia,
itself, has one of the highest rates of covid around the world and the russian people are suffering in other ways putin would want to spend the money in the russian treasury, hundreds of millions of rubles, on a war nobody needs with ukraine rather than on building back better inside russia, which is what his people are asking for. >> would it be fair to say that because of the mounting russian troops, which i understand is close to 170,000 or so amassed along ukraine's various borders that in fact it is causing ukrainians to have to mobilize in a way they might not have before? >> that's right. with, as i said, close to 100,000 troops now and many, many more planned, the ukrainians are having to think differently about their own security and, in fact, some of the defensive lethal support that the u.s. has given ukraine
over the years they've had in storage containers and i think we'll now see them have to put that stuff out and be thinking very hard about there own civil defense. >> hopefully president putin takes a different course and doesn't invade ukraine. it doesn't mean ukraine stability is reasserted because there are other ways to try to destabilize the ukrainian government. are we working with the president of ukraine to try to firm up their stability institutionally as well as against cyber and other efforts to undermine the government of ukraine? >> we are, mr. chairman. as i said in my opening there are also significant russian efforts to destabilize ukraine from within and to pose catastrophic risks for the
zelensky government. we have been clear in sharing our concerns and intelligence we have with the ukrainians and in supporting efforts that they are making not only in the cyber round but the civil defense realm to protect their institutions and critical infrastructure. >> thank you. >> thank you mr. chairman. are you able to give us a read out on this call this morning? >> ranking member rish just as to say the white house is doing a public read out simultaneously with this hearing so i will let them take the lead there and the president is having a conversation with major european allies this afternoon and i think there will be a further read out thereafter. it is my understanding the call went some two and a quarter hours or longer with consecutive
translation, that the president was able to in a very, very fulsome way express our concerns, express the consequences of any further russian aggression. but also to make clear to president putin that if there are questions that he has or grievances that he has that could be worked through with diplomacy either vis-a-vis the ukraine, or the u.s., or nato, that we are open to having those conversations and aggression is the wrong way to go. >> you've heard the comments made by the chairman and myself over the last couple days. do you think the president was that strong when he communicated to putin where the u.s. is on this issue? >> i'm confident that he was. >> do you think putin understood? >> you know, i try very hard not
to get inside the mind of president putin. i'll leave that for others. >> thank you very much. we'll look forward to getting a read out from the whitehouse. thank you, mr. chairman. >> madame secretary, first of all thank you very much for your service. i appreciated the opportunity in the closed session and let me follow up a little bit of our concerns. first of all i agree completely with the chair in regards to the maximum pressure being exhibited at this stage and that we need to show unity and make it clear that there will be a heavy price to pay if russia indeed does further incursions into ukraine. i want to get to an issue that should concern all of us. crimea was taken over by russia in 2014. we imposed sanctions. europe proposed sanctions. and the status is still with russian occupation of crimea.
so, yes. we have to be prepared to take action against russia if they incur further into ukraine but we need to have a strategy that goes beyond just the initial response on our activities, that makes it increasingly more difficult for russia to continue this behavior over -- if it extends for any length of time. the first for you is do we have conversations with our allies that we have to be prepared for any contingency including the possibility that our initial response if russia invades ukraine may require us to escalate and make it even more challenging for russia to continue this behavior?
>> absolutely, senator. we are talking about day one measures, day five measures, day ten measures, etcetera. but, it is also important i think for president putin to understand as the president conveyed to him today that this will be different than it was in 2014 if he goes in. you will recall then that our sanctions escalated somewhat gradually as he didn't stop moving. this time the intent is to make clear that the initial sanctions in response to further aggressive moves in ukraine will be extremely significant and isolating for russia and for russian business and for the russian people. >> russia has substantial energy resources. are we considering how to handle the energy sector in the event
of russia's incursion? we already talked about north stream 2 but if we could talk about the way they have weaponized energy in the past but yet it is a resource that mr. putin might believe he'll still be able to utilize even with sanctions from the west. how do we handle the energy sector? >> this is part of what we are discussing with our allies and partners as we build the sanctions packages we need to understand the exposure of allies and partners but also the risks to mr. putin and to his government. as you know, energy is the cash cow that enables these kinds of military deployments, so putin needs the energy to flow as much as the consumers need it but more broadly we have been counseling europe for almost a decade now to reduce its dependence on russian energy
including our opposition to nord stream 2 and nord stream 1 and our opposition to turk stream and turk stream 2 and to find alternative sources of hydro carbons but also to continue their efforts to go green and end their dependencies. >> and how are our discussions going with the ukrainian government in regards to the contingency of a russian incursion as to what type of assistance they'll need from the united states? >> conversations are ongoing at every level. we had secretary blinken talk to president zelensky yesterday. president biden will speak to him either later today or tomorrow. we've had the defense minister, foreign minister, national security adviser in washington, secretary blinken also sat with the foreign minister a week ago
in -- on the margins of the osce meeting in stockholm, app be we have a very robust team in the embassy and our advisers in kiev now and i would ask our dod colleagues to talk to you about the conversations they're having with counterparts in ukraine as well which are also pretty fulsome. >> thank you. ins we're joined by senator young by webx. >> -- serious consequences for any russian aggression. you said the u.s. would impose high impact economic sanctions. these are sort of vague terms and they don't provide enough substance to serve as an effective deterrence one might think. can you provide any more specifics about what measures are being considered by the administration to counter
russian aggression? >> senator young, i again want to thank the committee for the opportunity to speak in classified session yesterday where i was quite clear and specific about the various measures we are working on internally and that we are working on with our allies and partners. i would say that the president was equally precise in his conversation with president putin. didn't come as a surprise to president putin because he was very aware of the conversation which we are having with our allies, which is part of the strategy obviously. but suffice to say, that the impact would be extremely profound. i don't think it serves the policy making process to go any further than that in this setting. i know you'll understand. >> i do. i do understand.
russia is already subject, ambassador, to extensive sanctions, so why have these sanctions not served as an effective deterrent thus far? >> well, senator, i think you and i have had this conversation before. you know, sanctions -- i personally believe that the sanctions that we imposed in a steadily increasing fashion in 2014 and in 2015 in response to russia's incursion first in crimea and then in donboss did have the effect of stopping russian forces and president putin from going further, particularly when we got to the sectoral sanctions in 2015. i would say ta, you know, when we began to see this latest build up and we began to make clear that we would take economic measures that are far more severe than those we've
used before, i think it did come as somewhat a surprise to president putin and to his -- and the group around him. and so they are having to factor that in. in every sanctions conversation you apply them. they have some effect. they have to be updated because countries find a way to navigate as you know. >> we've also discussed, ambassador, sanctions tend to be more effective in a multi lateral sort of capacity. are you able to share with me and those who are watching or listening how you assess our nato partners would respond to a russian invasion of the ukraine. >> so, senator, we are having a very robust conversation conversation with our nato allies, with our allies and partners in the european union.
obviously with ukraine. i think the statement as i said earlier by chairman of the eu commission this morning about the eu's strength of conviction with regard to the potential need to deploy more and far harsher sanctions this morning speaks to the unity that we are building as did the very strong statements we had from nato when secretary was there last week and, again, the president is continuing that diplomacy today as we all are at every level. >> ambassador, president putin and foreign minister lavrov have repeatedly indicated that they seek to deny any potential path to nato membership for ukraine and other eastern european country. does the administration view this demand as a valid issue for
negotiation? president biden made it crystal clear to president putin today that the issue who joins nato is an issue for nato to decide, an issue for applicant countries to decide that no other outside power will or may have a veto or a vote in those decisions. >> thank you, ambassador. i have no further questions. >> senator shaheen is recognized. >> ambassador nuland, thank you for being here today and for the briefing you gave us yesterday. i think it is very clear listening to the members of this committee that there is strong bipartisan concern about what russia might be thinking about respect to ukraine and support
on this committee and the senate for support for ukraine and doing everything we can to ensure they remain a sovereign nation. senator portman and i offered an amendment to this year's ndea in that vein to increase military assistance and raise the amount of assistance that could go to lethal weapons. are there other things that you think we could be doing in this congress that would further show support for ukraine? >> thank you, senator. i think the congress and the american people in a bipartisan fashion have been enormously generous as i mentioned in my opening, $450 million in lethal defensive support heretofore. i think we need to continue to look at other things the ukrainians need in terms of cyber resilience, in terms of
communications capability, in terms of educating the next generation, all these kinds of things. but we will not be shy about coming to you as we need support and the bipartisan spirit here is really gratifying. >> thank you. last week senator johnson and i met with a number of members of parliament from astonia and one of the things that they talked about was the importance of european unity with respect to ukraine. they were also quite anxious we reconsider whether or not to station more troops in the baltic nations something that i've also heard from poland and some of the other eastern european countries. can you tell us if that is on the table for consideration as we're thinking about how to respond to what putin is doing? >> yes, senator. at the nato ministerial last week there was a commitment among allies that we needed more
advice and more options from our nato military authorities with regard to the consequences of any move by russia deeper into ukraine and what that would mean for the eastern edge of the alliance and what it would mean about our need to be more forward deployed in the east and, again, i think that was also a subject of conversation in this morning's phone call. >> belarus, now that it seems to be totally within russia's control also presents another front for the potential for russia to invade ukraine. can you speak to whether we view what's happening in belarus in that way? i know the ukrainians view it that way because we heard that when we were in halifax for the international security forum and met with some ukrainian
officials. >> well, as you know, senator, the situation in belarus is just tragic and really concerning in many, many ways, which is why the administration, along with the european union in a multi lateral way increased sanctions just last week including blocking the sale to us or to europe of one of the great sources of lukashenko's money, potash, etcetera, and sanctioned some dozens more belarusans responsible for the violence and intimidation there and particularly now for the weaponization of migrants pushing, accepting them from third countries then pushing them against the eu's border in a very cynical and dangerous way. i think you are talking about the potential as lukashenko becomes more and more dependent
on the kremlin and gives up more and more of belarus's sovereignty, something that he told his people he would never do. that russia could use belarusan territory to march on ukraine or mask its forces as belarusan forces. those are both things we are watching and it was particularly concerning to see president lukashenko make a change in his own posture with regard to crimea. he had long declined to recognize russia's claim on crimea but changed tack a week ago which is very concerning. >> i wanted to raise an issue you brought up in your opening remarks with respect to the effort to confirm our ambassadors and state department officials and the effect
currently of hamstringing our foreign policy efforts around the world. i know this committee has worked very hard in a bipartisan way to try and move those appointments but they are being held up on the floor by a small group of republican colleagues who have other issues who don't want to move forward. and i hope that you will share with everybody on this committee and those holding up those appointments what that means to our diplomacy and our foreign policy when we can't get our people in place to protect american interests. >> thank you for that, senator. thank you for how stalwart you've been on this subject. as i said in my opening, we are on the field at quarter power as our adversaries and as the autocrats are on the field at full power. and, frankly, on the march. we need all of our assistant
secretaries confirmed in the department. we still have i think less than ten confirmed. we need all of our ambassadors out in the field. as good as our staff are it is not the same as having the president's choice and advice and consent in a bipartisan way of this senate. so 85 of our best political and career awaiting floor action and think about the message that sends to russia and china. thank you. >> senator johnson. >> thank you, mr. chairman. under secretary nuland, welcome. i certainly appreciate you spending time with us last night in the secured briefing and i think it is important you're here today. i want to associate myself with the remarks of the chairman and ranking member. i think if there is one thing vladimir putin ought to understand is how unified we are. i mean, there are many things that divide us politically in this country, but when it comes
to pushing back on russian aggression, supporting countries like ukraine that are trying to develop their freedom, free themselves from the legacy of corruption from their former involvement with the soviet union we are very strongly united. often within this discussion we were talking about an unprecedented level of sanctions. i think it would be important for the public, for the senate, for congress, but for vladimir putin to really understand in somewhat granular detail what we are talking about. what we would impose on them and how harmful it would be to russia. unfortunately to russian people. but vladimir putin ought to be concerned about the russian population, more concerned than we are. we can't allow this. can you really describe the
types of sanctions that you are contemplating and pushing with our european allies? >> senator, thanks for that statement of unity and for your strong statement here today. as we discussed last night in some detail, what we are talking about would amount to essentially isolating russia completely from the global financial system with all of the fallout that would entail for russian business, for the russian people, for their ability to work and travel and trade and we are looking at the full suite of options. i think in the context of the diplomacy that we are doing and the work we're doing internally, i was gratified to have a chance to go through some of those specific measures in the classified session yesterday but going beyond that in this open session i think doesn't help us
get from here to there but we -- everything is on the table i would say if that is helpful. >> one thing that i believe certainly the senate foreign relations committee is pretty unified on, it may not be unanimous, was our support for sanctions against nord stream 2 pipeline. many of us were very disappointed that those sanctions were not fully implemented and the construction continued. i can't think of a more powerful way to punish russian aggression than by rolling back what progress has been made and if at all possible prevent the nord stream 2 from ever being completed. is that something that somebodying discussed with allies, is that something being contemplated? >> absolutely. as you recall from the july u.s.-german statement that was very much in that statement that if -- that any moves of russian
aggression against ukraine would have a direct impact on the pipeline. that is our expectation and the conversation that we're having. >> again, direct impact is one thing but i am literally talking about rolling back the pipeline. loosely define that, but i mean, taking action that will prevent it from ever becoming operational. >> i think if president putin moves on ukraine our expectation is that the pipeline will be suspended. >> well, i certainly hope the senate foreign relations committee would take up legislation to go beyond just suspending it but from ending it permanently. anyway, thank you, under secretary nuland. >> thank you, senator johnson. senator? >> thank you chairman and ranking member and thank you secretary nuland for speaking with us today and briefing the committee in classified session
and for all the ways you've been responsive and engaged as these important developments have unfolded. like i believe all of my colleagues, i'm gravely concerned about developments along the russian-ukraine border and the very real threat putin poses to security, stability throughout europe. in addition to serving on this committee i chair the appropriations subcommittee that funds the state department and usaid. what tools and funding within the fy-22 state and foreign operations bill do you think would be most effective in deterring russian aggression and in supporting our partners in ukraine, yes, but also other places throughout eastern europe and georgia and elsewhere? >> senator, i'd like to come back to you with specifics if i may, because i think we have not yet gone through chapter and verse if putin does not heed the concerns and the warnings what we will need to strengthen nato,
to strengthen partners who live on the edges of ukraine, and to beef up our diplomatic presence as necessary. i'd like to come back to you. one thing i will say is that i think we can and i know this is close to your heart as well, need to do better in our global engagement center and the way we speak to audiences around the world and particularly on these kinds of subjects. >> thank you. i look forward to working with you on finding ways we can strengthen our investments this week is the summit for democracy which i expect will kick off a year of action. i've introduced a bipartisan bill today with senator graham that would strengthen our investment in particular i think it is important that we invest in anticorruption activists, pro democracy reformers, and in folks who are in countries under real pressure -- ukraine, belarus, georgia, many others. that we find ways to shield them
from authoritarian surveillance and from the digital tools of repression. a lot of us have been struck at the strength and speed and breadth of putin's military preparations. could russia have any alternative goals in the region other than invading ukraine? what other goals might they be pursuing? how could we ensure that our statements of determination in partnership with the president to impose sanctions, to rally our european allies, and to stand up to putin's aggression, which of those actions might be most successful in thwarting any other objectives that putin might have through this military build up? >> you know, i think the concern is that president putin's public lamentations and private lamentations about the demise of the soviet union have gotten
noisier and stronger over the years, and just in the last year, the last six months he has increased his public comments to the effect that the sovereign nation of ukraine is actually a part of russia, belongs to russia, etcetera. so the concern is that he is actually as a legacy project seeking to reconstitute the soviet union and then, you know, would his appetite be fulfilled with that eating or would he seek to go further? so i think this is why the unity here in the senate, unity in the house, unity within the united states, unity in ukraine, unity with our nato allies and partners and the significant consequences that we're talking about are so important and making clear that we are absolutely ready there. i also think it's important to talk to the russian people as i have said to you before and have said to this committee.
nobody wants or needs war at this moment least of all the people of russia, who deserve better schools, better hospitals, better infrastructure, better health care, and that's where the wealth of that great country ought to be going, not on sending their boys to freeze on the ukrainian front. thanks >> i agree. i just want to close by emphasizing the simple, forceful clarity with which you just testified before this committee that the united states commitment to ukraine's sovereignty, territorial integrity, and independence is unwavering. i recently led a bipartisan delegation that went to meet with leaders of the eu, the uk, and the new german government. it is my hope they will be as unwavering and clear and forceful in their actions as that statement and that all of us on this committee will join in supporting your work and the president's work and that we will work with one voice to deter russian aggression against
ukraine. thank you. >> thank you. senator romney sf. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i appreciate, under secretary nuland, your work and your testimony today and yesterday and the work that you do for our country. i wish to associate myself also with the comments of the chairman and the ranking member. we are united in our commitment to a free and sovereign nation in ukraine. i want to associate myself with the comments of senator portman last night as he spoke about the resilience and strength and character of the people of ukraine and his conviction that were they ever invaded by a foreign foe like russia that they would stand aggressively and defend themselves and if per chance they were unsuccessful and ultimately having victory that there would be insurgency that would continue that would make sure anyone who invaded them suffered a very high price
for having done so. i'd like to associate myself with the comments of senator cruz as well who indicated that the decision by this administration and prior administrations to allow the completion of the nord stream 2 pipeline contributed to russia's feeling that they could amass troops on the border and potentially use their threat to obtain something they deeply desire. i am one of those that looks at russia and i guess i'll associate myself with the senator's comments that he was quoting i think senator mccain saying that russia is a mafia run gas station parading as a country. and russia has real problems. their population is declining. their industrial base is weak. they have extraordinary natural resources. as i look at russia, i'm concerned that their ambition
does not stop with ukraine, but that putin's ambition personally is much broader and that what happens in ukraine is an appetizer for a growing appetite on his part. and would like to get your perspectives on what you believe or what the administration believes putin's ambition is, where he intends to lead his troops and his nation over the coming years, and whether his efforts in ukraine are the beginning or the end of his sense of legacy. >> well, thank you, senator, for all those opening comments. i'll just say again here that i work very hard not to live inside the brain of president putin, so i'm not going to plate what his end state would be. i would simply say one should have considerable concern when
you look at the public statements he has been making with increasing frequency over the last six months to the effect that russia and ukraine are one nation, etcetera, and not respecting their sovereignty and territorial integrity and his laments of the death of the soviet union. i have had the pleasure and honor of knowing so many russians over the decades since i was a student and was there not too long ago and it is my firm belief that the citizens of russia don't want a war with ukraine. they don't want body bags coming home. they want better health care, better schools, better roads, better broadband. they want to live better and president putin could so much more worth whilely serve his own people at this moment while we are all having to build back better. so i hope he thinks about what he owes his own people before
seeking to acquire more territory. >> i think i share your desire not to live within president putin's brain. at the same time, there are elements we obviously look at and try and draw inferences from. one relates to something that is not connected to ukraine but that is his commitment to his nuclear arsenal. i think there were many of us hoping that as our arsenals respectively got older and would be retired potentially that we could reduce our nuclear investment and could shrink our nuclear armament. obviously, china joined in the nuclear race would have changed that to a certain degree but russia took a different course. putin decided to invest massively not so-called build back better but to completely modernize his nuclear arsenal. what is the status of that at this stage? how does that compare to our own? >> well, thank you, senator.
we'll get you a fulsome briefing, but simply to say that the new star treaty that was negotiated some ten years ago and which was extended by the administration caps the long-range nuclear arsenal, but you are right that president putin continues to augment intermediate range forces and short range nuclear forces as well as build new, exquisite weapons like his hypersonics which are outside of any arms control regime and to try to compete with the -- in building up their long-range conventional forces as well, which is why president biden at the geneva summit in june pressed president putin and putin did agree to get back into strategic stability talks bilaterally. we've had two rounds of those. so i would say we're still at the nascent stage to try to come
to some -- to try to get back into arms control to try to reduce the threat from these weapons and try to deal with asymmetries and concerns. >> thank you, madame secretary and mr. chairman. >> thank you. senator murphy. >> thank you, mr. chairman. when my great grandfather came to this country he'd have been considered a polish immigrant because that is the country from which he came but he didn't consider himself polish. he wrote on his immigration card that the country he came from was ukraine. that was curious because that country didn't exist at the time. but he had a sense of where he was from. he had a sense of the country he believed should exist. the story of ukrainian nationalism has been a confusing one, an elusive one, a land that has been occupied over and over by contesting armies. but something different has happened in that country since what has been referred to as the revolution of dignity. i got the chance to be there
during the midst of that revolution with you and senator mccain and as to the question of how easy an invasion may be, what it may look like, there is inside it a question of what ukrainian patriotism and nationalism looks like today compared to say what it looked like and felt like in 1941. putin is making a bet here that ukraine, an invasion of ukraine today may look like it did 60 years ago. that is probably not the case. they have not only gotten a taste of independence since their break from the soviet union but in the last ten years they've got a sense of what real self-determination looks like. and this forging of identity in
the last eight years i think is relevant of what the invasion may look like for an vading army. just a moment of what you have seen with regard to the ukraine's development of a strong sense of self since the events of 2013? >> well, thank you, senator. i agree with you from the revolution of dignity which was about ukrainians all across the country not just in kyiv but also ukraine's east saying that they wanted the right to have a closer relationship with europe, to live more as europeans live, through the almost ten years that have, well, eight years that have passed since, i think ukraine has really come back to its sense of independence and sovereignty and a path that very much they would like to look
more like paris and berlin than like what they see at the moment today and that has to do with individuals being able to work better and live better and have a cleaner, more open choice in the way they forge their lives. i think it is also true that the state of ukrainian nationalism has always been fierce, going back to 1917 or wherever you want to start counting. and to bet against ukrainian patriotism is very, very dangerous as a lot of russians have found already and, unfortunately, there are many, many reasons why none of us should want a war. it will be extremely bloody and difficult for ukraine but it will also be extremely bloody and difficult for russia and many of them will not go home as they came.
>> second -- very well said. second, on this question of russia being a very complicated and advanced gas station, gas stations can't stay in business unless they have customers, and russia has all sorts of customers in and around its periphery, many customers that see russia as an adversary are still doing a tremendous amount of business. we passed legislation out of this committee several years ago signed by president trump at the time that would allow for the u.s. development finance corporation to do additional deals with countries that want to make themselves energy independent and we allowed that to happen not just in the developing world but in other nations as well. the three cs initiative is a really important initiative linking the -- essentially the ring of countries that are either former republics or satellite states of the soviet
union together. they are begging for u.s. participation in their projects necessary to make them more energy independent of russia. isn't this an opportunity for the united states to step up and take some of these customers away from russia's gas station? >> absolutely. as we have been doing with our support for more l & g terminals around europe for many years, as we are doing now in our support for, you know, green alternatives not just in the united states but in europe as well, and many, many u.s. companies are involved with that. but that particular belt of three cs countries is absolutely crucial as you said >> i would just note, mr. chairman, i don't think we need to persuade secretary nuland, but right now there are no plans in the administration to put dfc dollars behind three cs something this committee i think in a bipartisan way could work on moving forward. >> thank you. appreciate that. senator rubio. >> secretary nuland i agree with all the assessments made about
vladimir putin that he seeks to establish great power parity with the united states and therefore tries to show force and power around the world. i also think he is driven to some extent maybe a great extent by the ego and the drive to bring ukraine into at least the russian sphere of influence if not into the russian federation as -- and cement his legacy as the uniter of a greater russia. i think there is a third factor here i am curious whether you agree with and that is that he also thinks the west and i by no means am a fan of vladimir putin and i'm confident they are not fans of mine, but they're thinking as irrational as we may think it is that we want to turn ukraine, the west, in general, the u.s. in specific, into a base of operation to threaten their security and/or to undermine their internal cohesion and the like and therefore he is using this as an opportunity to try to impose neutrality at a minimum, impose
neutrality on ukraine. if that is in fact at least a primary motivator in the short term of this threat of military action, then i would imagine that he's already been publicly messaging what his asks are. the first is that we would pull back nato forces from anywhere near the western border, the second is to completely rule out the admission not just probably of ukraine but georgia as a member of nato and the third is to stop arming ukraine. are those three conditions that he is probably mess ajd already, would the united states agree to any of those three sf. >> all of those would be unacceptable. >> let me ask you about another trend that i think is disturbing if you sort of follow it. on the one hand we see a growing amount of what appears to be, including here in our own -- i've seen some domestically, too, but this messaging that zelensky is a u.s. and western puppet, he is ineffective, he is
corrupt. that he is not acting in the best interests of the ukrainian people. that disinformation, one of the things we're seeing in real time is what hybrid warfare looks like to prepare the groundwork. at the same time sadly as we see a confederation of oligarchs, opposition politicians, former government officials all with their own agendas looking to undermine zelensky at the same time as some of this is happening i imagine some of them perhaps in coordination with the kremlin, others just doing it because they want to be president instead. what options do we have on both fronts to deal with this sort of disinformation hybrid warfare campaign that they're undertaking to prepare the ground for all of it and in particular on addressing these oligarchs, former officials, and others who are clearly understanding that what they are doing would aid russian efforts and putin's efforts and, nonetheless, continue because of some because of personal ambition others i imagine because of financial gain to move along this track? what options do we have on those
two things? >> so among the many counsels we are giving to ukrainians and that president zelensky is also now giving to his country is that at this moment of challenge for ukraine unity among patriots, unity among ukrainians who believe in the sovereignty and territorial independence of their country is absolutely essential and that none of them should fall into these traps that the kremlin is setting to divide them or pit them against each other. you know that democracy is a relatively new sport in ukraine. they occasionally play it rough as others do but now is absolutely a moment for unity. particularly with regard to disinformation efforts, efforts to blame the other guy for what you, yourself, are doing.
we have encouraged the ukrainians to apply that best adage, which is that sun light is the best disinfectant and to be very vigilant about exposing russian disinformation activities and payments and little gray men and little green men who are trying to infect politics and that is something that they must do in this moment. >> thank you. senator van holan? >> i thank you, mr. chairman, and thank you, madame secretary, for your service. i want to begin by associating myself with the comments the chairman made at the outset, which is, number one, that russia, vladimir putin should understand that there is going to be a strong, unified, severe response should he decide to invade ukraine. i am a big believer that sanctions are actually more useful and effective when you
lay them out in advance and say to a foreign leader, these are the consequences. if you take these actions. rather than trying to reverse action after the fact through sanctions. that is why last session senator rubio and i introduced the deter act, because we thought it was important to make it clear what would happen if there was interference in u.s. elections going forward with the very strict set of sanctions. unfortunately, the previous administration opposed that approach, but i'm pleased to see that the biden administration is taking that approach with respect to what is happening in ukraine. and obviously, those are far more useful if we do so on a unified basis with our allies as you have indicated. the other thing that we need to, i think, underscore, and i know it's been discussed at this hearing, is the determination of the people of ukraine, because there was a time a long time ago
where putin was not viewed in ukraine as a threatening individual compared to where it is today. and i think he should be disabused of any illusions that he is going to be greeted in ukraine as some kind of liberatore of people who support him. can you talk a little bit about the ukrainian people's sentiment for putin? we have polling data. we also know after putin's action to annex crimea, that sort of sent a shock wave through much of ukraine. so if he thinks he is going to just sort of have a little bit of a fight and no resistance, i think it is important that he be disabused of that fact. can you speak to that?
>> well, thanks, senator. i should have said this in response to senator murphy as well. you know, ukraine and russia obviously their peoples have lived side by side forever and there is a lot of intermarriage and a lot of trade back and forth and in the old days and, you know, before the invasion of crimea and dombas i think 60% of ukrainians had a favorable view of russia and today after not only those invasions and biting off pieces of ukraine but also all of the stresses and tensions that have ensued otherwise i think the support, friendly feeling toward russia among ukraine alliance is about 12%, something like that. this is what putin's own policies have wrought.
he needs to understand that and i hope his advisers are telling him the truth about how they already feel or will feel if they are agresed. >> thank you. it is important to underscore that because you never know what his advisers are saying but it is pretty clear that the ukrainian people have a good sense of what putin's mindset is because their views of russia changed after his actions against the crimea and the eastern -- actions in eastern ukraine. i think that it would be a very bloody fight with lots of people killed and injured and i think it is really important that the international community and the united states do as we're doing today, which is letting people know that there will be a very strong, severe reaction. i appreciate the president's
message in the phone call today. you may have covered this, but what is your sense about whether our allies, our european allies and others, are willing to support us in not just sanctions against individuals, we're talking about sectorial factions against the financial industry, banking industry, other areas, the kinds of things senator rubio and i laid out in the deter act. what would be -- how do you assess their support for that? >> again, we've been working with our allies intensively since the president was at the g20 meetings in rome and our sense is that their appreciation for the dangers we may confront and therefore their appreciation that the deterrent that we put up needs to be real and needs to be unified is growing by the day as evidenced by the very strong statement we had from the head of the european commission just today in speaking to her
ambassadorial corps. i think you'll hear more of that going forward. >> thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. senator portman? >> thank you, mr. chairman. we live in dangerous times, don't we? and this is a deadly serious moment in the history of ukraine and in the history of the region. i thank you, ambassador nuland, for your time and effort and spending some time with us last night as well. i know president biden spoke with president putin on this subject today and i look forward to getting the read out from that. i know we all do. senator risch and i sent a letter last week to the president urging him to show absolute support for ukraine and to let president putin know in no uncertain terms there would be serious consequences and also to reject the unreasonable kremlin demands. i'd like that letter without objection to be included in the
record. >> without objection. >> i visited in 2014. the tires were still smoldering and that revolution of dignity changed everything. ukraine decided to turn to us and the west and freedom and democracy. it was a momentous decision. they chose to stand with us. now it is our turn to stand with them. we've done that over the years. if you look at what happened with regard to the ukraine security assistance initiative, which i coauthored over the past six years the united states has transferred defense articles, conducted training with the ukrainian military, we have been very engaged. i would ask you, ambassador, this week, we have the ndaa likely to be voted on and likely will include an increase in the lethal defensive funding.
what defensive weapons has ukraine asked for and what is the state department willing to provide them under an expedited process? >> so, senator, we had a chance to talk about this at some length in the classified session last night and i appreciate the time and detail we were able to go into there. given the fact that the threat is now coming not simply from the east but from three sides of ukraine, what they are seeking is largely more of the defensive lethal equipment we have already given them, these same kinds of things that you actually don't deploy in an offensive way but that are essential for defenses. >> antiaircraft, antitank? >> exactly. >> weaponry. let me ask you this. if there is an invasion, i believe russia will not face anything like the same ukrainian resistance it did in 2014.
with all due respect at that time the ukrainian military had not been modernized. they were disorganized. they were a new country in essence. the ukrainian military has now made significant strides in professionalism and enacted important defense reforms. again, the united states and our nato allies have been very involved in that. what domestic factors is president putin considering when weighing the option to invade ukraine? does he have sufficient domestic support despite that all calculations indicate this russia is going to experience high casualties? has he factored in the cost of severe sanctions such as denial of access to the swift banking mechanism? >> i think it is important that not just president putin as he got the message very clearly from president biden today but the russian people also appreciate the kinds of things being contemplated and the kind of risk their president is potentially taking them into
including for their sons and daughters who serve. i would just add to your list with regard to the capability of the ukrainian forces. obviously, russia is so much bigger and their force is so much bigger. but ukraine is better trained now. in addition to that, many ukrainians have served and are now returned to civilian life some with that training as well. that is something to factor in. i haven't seen any russian polling but what i have seen is the kremlin spreading huge amounts of disinformation, including inside russia to try to make the case that russia is under threat from ukraine. and nothing could be further from the truth. there is no threat to russia from ukraine. so he is trying to prepare the ground in his own body politic, but, again, he might do better to listen to the needs that they have as they try to come out of covid which have much more to do
with their daily lives and their roads and schools and hospitals and health care. >> well, i agree with that. and i think it would be a grave mistake if putin were to decide to invade again. and i think this time he would meet a very different and more capable resistance. and my hope is that in the next several days we'll be able to continue to send those strong messages through a vote on the national defense authorization bill but also in other ways to let russia know in no uncertain terms of the severe sanctions that would accompany any kind of invasion. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. >> thank you, mr. chair. an important hearing. thank you, secretary nuland. so i have a question and a concern. my question follows up at the very end of your dialogue with senator johnson. you said your belief would be if russia further invaded the country of ukraine that the nord stream pipeline would be
suspended. i want to pick up on that. the pipeline has been the subject of much controversy here. you know, no one is pro pipeline in the sense of making russia happy but we have allies that are important to us who are pro pipeline and the administration and the past administration have tried to balance that. do you think our european allies including those in the more pro pipeline camp would find a russian invasion of ukraine so troubling that they would be willing to work together with us to either stop the pipeline from being certified, it is in a certification process, or stop the operation of the pipeline? in other words, would an invasion of ukraine tip the balance so our allies would join with us to make sure the nord stream pipeline was truly suspended as you indicated? >> i believe that it absolutely would, senator. as you know this is gratuitous anyway. they don't need any additional energy from russia.
>> the german government is brand new so we are working with them on this issue but aagain without putting too many words in their mouth because they are new, while the government in the past has been somewhat pro pipeline your view of the new government is they would view a russian invasion of ukraine as sufficiently dire that that would cause them to maybe reassess the pluses and minuses of the nord stream pipeline from their standpoint? >> so the president is having his first opportunity today perhaps even as we speak to speak with olive shultz now that he is chancellor so we'll have a better chance of that but i would say we've already been speaking to him in his role as finance minister. i have no doubt he understands the seriousness of the situation we are facing. >> now i want to raise a concern
we have -- i have and i want you to tell me whether my concern is a fair one but i'll be particularly happy if you actually tell me i don't need to be concerned about this. so i have a concern but maybe i don't need to have a concern. we talked about the crushing sanctions that could fall upon russia should they push west in a military invasion and we talked about what we might contemplate together with our allies. my concern is this if the west and the u.s. responds to a military invasion is sanctions but no military response. obviously we are providing military aid to ukraine and have been generous in that way but if we are not willing to help a ukrainian military that is 50,000 people matched up against russia i would think china would conclude the u.s. sure isn't
going to come to the aid of taiwan if we do something with taiwan because china would conclude we are much more militarily powerful than russia is and the status questions about taiwan and sovereignty are a little murkier than those about ukraine. and there is no nato in the indo pacific. we don't have a nato with a charter with a self-defense article. i think china would determine if the west's response to a military invasion went so far as sanctions but no further, that the united states and other nations would be extremely unlikely to use military force to counter a military invasion of taiwan. i think taiwan would likely with the same thing. that is a fair concern i have about how the chinese and
taiwanees would view the west's unwillingness to provide more significant military invasion by russia, is my concern a fair one or overwrought? >> senator, in this setting i would simply say that this is a moment of testing and i believe that both autocrats around the world and our friends around the world will watch extremely carefully what we do and it will have implications for generations. >> and those implications could go far beyond ukraine. >> they could go well beyond europe, yes. >> thank you. mr. chairman? >> thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. secretary nuland, over the years i've traveled to ukraine numerous times. eight members of the senate, a number of members of this very
committee, were in ukraine when russia invaded ukraine and annexed to crimea in 2014. on another trip with senator mccain and senator cotton we went to eastern ukraine, met with courageous men and women fighting for their country's freedom and future. i mentioned this to you last night. every day they battle along the front lines against separatist forces and, you know, more than 14,000 ukrainians have already died in fighting in that eastern region. so i know first hand the heart and the courage and determination of these freedom fighters. and ukrainian armed forces fight bravely. they fight fiercely. they don't back down. ukrainians are absolutely willing to die for their homeland. so if vladimir putin thinks he invades and it is going to be easy it is not. i will tell you i believe much russian blood will be spilled and there will be russians going home in body bags if he invades this country. the united states and our allies i believe must do more to deter
russia by increasing the costs of aggression. i'm always looking for ways to do that. i think we need enduring strategic response from the u.s., from europe, and from nato. so i am looking in terms of how we can respond to put putin's bold and dangerous behavior away, because the repercussions go far beyond ukraine and we need to make sure we don't fail this test. when i talked to president zelensky in september of this year he said they needed antitank missiles, better radar, and i want to ask you what you believe president putin's ultimate objective is and how we need to stay ahead of his efforts. >> again, i work hard to stay out of the inside of president putin's brain. that said, he has been pretty clear about his regret at the fall of the soviet union, at his
regret that ukraine and russia are no longer one country and about his skepticism with regard to ukraine's sovereignty, territorial integrity, and independence. i think that is what is motivating here is that he may see, he may be trying to leave as his legacy the re-constitution of something that was rejected by the people of the lands that he is moving on. >> you've been an observer for a long time. i remember discussing bob straus's book that while he was there as ambassador for president reagan you were there as a young staff member in moscow at the u.s. embassy in russia. so you've been studying this a long time. you know how putin uses energy as a weapon. i think earlier today you said energy is the cash cow that funds these military deployments and with high oil prices now $80 a barrel if not going higher, i think his budget is based on 40
from what i've been following over the years or my time in the senate. that is putting a lot of money and giving him fire power he might not have had in previous times. so i want to ask about how the way he uses energy as a geo political weapon. in july president biden and german chancellor then chancellor merkel agreed to reimpose sanctions if president putin used gas as a geo political weapon. since then the world has watched russia use natural gas to coerce and manipulate countries all around europe, severely limited the flow of gas through ukraine, no longer delivers gas to hungary through ukraine, due to a side agreement where they can bypass it. maldova has declared a state of emergency due to russia threatening to cut off gas and they only avoided a crisis by agreeing to a longer term contract. you have, as physical construction nord stream 2 nears completion putin reduced gas production and deliveries to
dramatically increase prices. spot prices soared. where do you see the biden-merkel promise sanctions against putin for using gas as a weapon? >> so i think you are referring to the july agreement between the u.s. and germany which sought to address the stress on ukraine that the nord stream 2 pipeline was putting into effect. so that agreement speak to a number of things. first of all helping the ukrainians themselves wean themselves off dependence on russian energy and make a green transition but, also, a commitment that if ukraine faced aggression and pressure of a significant kind from russia in the energy field it would have a direct impact on nord stream 2. so, you know, i think reiterating that commitment and hearing the new german government reiterate those commitments will be very important and that is something that we're seeking in this context. >> just finally, i have concerns
if we don't abide by a biden-merkel agreement, send to putin it shows we don't keep our word then you wonder what threats of additional sanctions will have on putin in that situation. >> i agree with you. >> thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. senator markey? >> thank you, mr. chairman, very much. thank you for being here and for your great work. many of my colleagues are focusing upon nord stream 2 and its geo political implications. i want to discuss our own complicity in contributing to the financial engine powering putin's destabilizing behavior. our addition to russian oil in the united states. according to the oxford institute for energy studies, roughly 80% of russian oil and gas revenues come from oil while only 20% come from natural gas. the united states imported more than 800,000 barrels of russian oil a day on average in june of
2021. and the price of that oil is skyrocketing. russia is now the united states' number two supplier of crude oil and petroleum products in 2021. we only import more oil and petroleum products from canada. most years anywhere from one-third to more than one-half of russian federal revenue is the direct result of their fossil fuel exports and profits. and the roughly 800,000 barrels of oil per day americans employ contributed to an estimated $20 billion annually in american dollars going directly into the pockets of russian petrol oligarchs. oil profits also fueled corrupt actions and human rights violations by putin and his cronies' actions which have been detailed over years by investigative journalists and activists including alexei nashville any who putin is trying to brutally silence.
yet we just continue to feed their revenues year to year by allowing their oil to flood our market coming directly from siberia to the united states of america and ultimately into the pockets of putin and his cronies. do the u.s. dollars that we spend on russian oil contribute to russia's ability to engage in abuses at home and malign activities throughout the region? >> senator, thank you for all that. i think you know that the united states doesn't, and our suppliers don't buy -- we are not engaged in contracts with countries. we buy oil on the open market. there are certain kinds of heavy and dirty oil we need in certain parts of the u.s. that russia is a major supplier of. so i think your question is well
put whether in the context of where we know this revenue goes those independent free market purchasers of that particular source might want to, how shall we say, purr vey their oil with a conscience. >> well, again. my concern is that while we talk about natural gas going into europe, we actually import at least as much oil from russia as well and the revenues are going into the very same oligarchs' pockets and ultimately to putin. so my concern here is we understand this and start to think about how we can use those oil imports that go to the united states as a weapon back at russia as well as we are talking about sanctions, talking about putting strong restrictions upon them. all of that oil that is coming
into our country is something that i'm sure causes real bemusement to putin knowing that. and i think the germans are aware of it as well. that as we are trying to preach temperance from a bar stool, we ourselves have to square up our own domestic oil policy since so much of the revenues that putin gets comes from american consumers at the pump. so when the construction of the nord stream 2 pipeline continues, it did so during the trump administration including even after sanctions were imposed by the united states. is that correct? >> so the vast majority of this pipeline, 90% of it, was constructed during the period of the trump administration and no sanctions were imposed until two
or three days before president biden took office. there were many opportunities for the trump administration to take action which it did not take. >> right. i think it is important that when joe biden became president the pipeline was over 90% complete already. >> that's right. >> yeah, and so from my perspective i just think it is very important for us to understand what the trump administration was doing during those four years and that we just not ignore the whole history that got us to this point. thank you so much. thanks for your great service. >> thank you. senator cruz? >> thank you, mr. chairman. secretary nuland, we are here in a circumstance that neither you nor i wanted to be here. sadly what you predicted to this committee, what i predicted to this committee, indeed, what members on both sides of the aisles knew might happen, appears to be happening.
we have some 100,000 russian troops massed on the border of ukraine and according to declassified documents from the biden administration the odds are significant that we will see a military invasion of ukraine by russia in the next 90 days. this was entirely preventible. this disaster is the direct consequence of political decisions made by joe biden. one decision in particular caused this disaster and it was the decision to throw away our national security victory on nord stream 2 and instead hand vladimir putin a multi billion dollars generational gift. just a moment ago with senator
markey you were asked what are the democratic talking point which are, number one, the vast majority of the pipeline was completed under donald trump. yes, that happens to be true. it was completed before the sanctions legislation passed. i authored the sanctions legislation along with senator shaheen on this committee. sanctions legislation passed in december of 2019. december of 2019 over 90% of the pipeline was completed. and what happened? putin stopped building the pipe line the day president trump signed that bill into law. not the next day. not the next week. that day. the sanctions worked exactly as designed. and for over a year, nothing happened. the pipeline was a hunk of metal at the bottom of the ocean. so an over 90% complete pipeline is a zero percent complete pipeline until you connect it and turn it on. when did putin begin constructing the pipeline?
joe biden was sworn in as president on january 20th, 2021, four days later, january 24th, 2021, is when putin began building the pipeline again. so we had succeeded with a bipartisan victory stopping this pipeline until joe biden and kamala harris came into office and gave away our leverage and surrendered. now, why does that matter? vladimir putin didn't wake up yesterday and decide he wanted to invade ukraine. he has wanted to do that for a long time and, indeed, he has. in 2014 he invaded ukraine. he invaded crimea. but he stopped. he didn't go all the way to kyiv and one of the major reasons why is because of the ukrainian energy infrastructure. that he could not risk damaging or destroying the ability to get russian gas to europe. nord stream 2 was launched
shortly after that initial crimea invasion because if putin can get an alternative means of getting gas to europe, he can send the tanks into kyiv without fear of damaging his ability to get to market. this summer when joe biden gave away a massive, bipartisan foreign policy victory, our allies ukraine and poland put out a formal statement on july 21st saying the biden administration surrendered to putin, quote, has created political, military, and energy threat for ukraine and central europe. they were right. we are seeing this threat today. now, here is the good news. the administration in which you serve, and i will note you argue to do the right thing. you were overruled by your political superiors in the whitehouse. but the biden administration can
still do the right thing. secretary nuland, is it true or false that if president biden decided to he could sanction nord stream 2 ag today? >> the waiver is currently in place. it could be lifted, yes. >> so he could sanction then today. let me ask you a question. if the biden administration imposed sanctions on nord stream 2 ag, if it halted the certification of the pipeline so that the nord stream 2 pipeline did not go online, would that make invasion of ukraine more likely or less likely? >> senator, it's the german government that has paused the certification of the pipeline, itself, right now. that certification is not going forward. i -- you know that we believe this pipeline is a bad deal for europe and a bad pipeline but i
do not believe that anything we would have done with regard to nord stream 2 would have changed putin's calculus with regard to the build up we have around ukraine today. i believe he has an ambition to have -- >> let me ask it another way. if nord stream 2 goes online and is operational, does that make an invasion of ukraine more likely or less likely? >> nord stream 2 is not currently on track to become operational. >> if it does, i am asking a hypothetical. if nord stream 2 goes online, i don't think it is coincidental that the predicted date for an invasion is almost exactly when certification is predicted to be over. i don't think that is accidental. my question is this. if nord stream 2 goes online, does that make invasion of ukraine more likely or less likely? >> i believe that president putin will make his decisions with regard to ukraine irregardless of what happens to
nord stream 2. i believe he has an aspiration to have control of ukraine. >> well but he didn't do that until the biden administration waived sanctions. from 2014 until today he hasn't done that and it was exactly what ukraine and poland warned us, that when this president surrendered to putin it would create a security crisis in ukraine. that's what it's done. >> i think we have had all of our colleagues who are present or desirous on webx to ask questions. can i ask you one last set of questions? is nord stream 2 the reason that putin is supposedly complaining about expansion of nato?
>> i'm sorry, chairman. one more time? >> is nord stream 2 the reason that putin is complaining about expansion of nato? >> no. >> is nord stream 2 the reason that putin complains about supposedly defending russian speakers in ukraine? >> no. >> is nord stream 2 the reason that putin alleges that ukraine is not actually an independent country? >> no. >> i could go down a list. is nord stream 2 the reason that putin says ukraine is actually the provoker in this set of circumstances? >> no. and, chairman, if i may, i would just like to put one more fact in the record, which is that between december of 2019 when the legislation was passed and january 19th of 2021 there was
only one sanction applied under it. and since january of 2021, the biden-harris administration has sanctioned 17 vessels and eight people under the legislation in an effort to raise the costs for nord stream 2. >> our colleague suggested that putin stopped at crimea because he didn't want to ruin the ukrainian energy infrastructure but isn't it true that had he marched forward at that time he would have had probably the control of ukraine, probably bloody even then under different circumstances and far more capable, far more capable ukrainian military now and still ukrainian nationalism but nonetheless that he could have marched forward and actually would have controlled the ukrainian energy infrastructure? is that a fair statement? >> in fact, you could argue that in the dombas he did take
control of some 40% of ukraine's coal reserves which were a major energy input. the fact of the matter is that as much as one would want to suggest that the question of sanctioning nord stream 2 is the alpha, the omega shall the reason why putin is acting today, putin is acting today because he wants to reconstitute the russia he knew, the one he laments consistently about that should be reconstituted. that's his whole goal regardless of what happened about nord stream or not. >> frankly, chairman, if we did not have the working relationship we have with the german government now, we would not be in a position to build the sanctions package that we're working on. >> i hope the one thing anyone in the world watching this hearing today takes away is that even on some of the most
contentious issues of the day on this one there is overwhelming, broad, bipartisan support for ukraine. there is overwhelming bipartisan support for its territorial integrity. there is overwhelming bipartisan support for swift and robust action. and after conversations with some of the members of the committee i look to galvanize that in some tangible way legislatively as we wait for the days ahead as to what may or may not happen. with the thanks of the committee for your appearance today and yesterday in a classified session the record will remain open until wednesday, december 8th. this hearing is adjourned.