Council Senior Fellow Ian Brzezinski will testify before a panel of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, recommending policies dealing with the crisis in Ukraine. The hearing starts at 3:00 p.m. The lineup of panelists is below. We will make the video and Ian Brzezinski’s testimony as prepared for delivery available on this page as soon as the hearing starts.

Transatlantic Security Challenges: Central and Eastern Europe

Subcommittee on European Affairs

Date: Thursday, April 10, 2014
Time: 3:00 PM
Location: Senate Dirksen 419
Presiding: Senator Murphy


Panel One

  • Victoria Nuland, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, U.S. Department of State
  • Chollet Derek, Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, U.S. Department of Defense

Panel Two

  • Ms. Julianne Smith, Senior Fellow, Center for a New American Security
  • Mr. Ian Brzezinski, Resident Senior Fellow, Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security, Atlantic Council
  • Mr. Edward C. Chow, Senior Fellow, Energy and National Security Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies


Excerpt of Ian J. Brzezinski Prepared Testimony

Russia’s aggression against Ukraine presents a significant challenge to the security and stability of Europe and to U.S. leadership and credibility.  For the second time in less than six years, Russia has invaded a neighboring country simply because that nation sought to move closer to Europe and to integrate itself into that community’s multilateral organizations.   As was the case with Russia’s invasion of Georgia in 2008, the West has yet to generate a response to its seizure of Crimea that is likely to deter Moscow from further aggression against Ukraine or other states in Eastern Europe and along Russia’s periphery.

The Kremlin’s actions against Ukraine are but one element of a sustained revanchist policy that Vladimir Putin has articulated and exercised ever since he became president of Russia at the end of 1999.  His objective has been to reestablish Russian hegemony, if not full control, over the space of the former Soviet Union.  Toward this end, he has applied the full suite of Russian economic, energy, political, and military capacities to weaken and dominate neighboring states. He has leveraged information and cyber warfare, corruption and criminal networks, political provocateurs, separatist groups, frozen conflicts, and military incursions, among other means. His campaign history includes the 2007 cyber attack against Estonia, the separatist movement in Moldova, energy embargoes against Lithuania and Ukraine, and the aforementioned invasion of Georgia. 

President Putin’s strategy is one that pursues 20th-century objectives through 21st-century techniques and old-fashioned brute force.   The implications of this most recent aggression against Ukraine include the following:

First, it is an unprovoked violation of the territorial sovereignty of a European nation – in this case the continent’s second largest – situated at the strategically significant crossroads of Europe and Eurasia.

Second, it undercuts efforts to curb the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.  Russia’s seizure of Crimea is a direct violation of the 1994 Budapest Agreement in which Russia agreed to respect and protect Ukraine’s territorial integrity in return for Kyiv giving up the nuclear arsenal it inherited from the USSR.

Third, Putin’s assertion that he has the unilateral right to redraw borders on the grounds that he is protecting ethnic Russians reintroduces into Europe a dangerous principle that provoked wars and caused countless deaths in earlier centuries and that we all hoped had been relegated to that past.

Fourth, Russia’s incursion into Ukraine is a direct threat to the vision of Europe, whole, free, and secure.  President Putin’s objectives would create a new confrontational divide in Europe, between a community defined by self-determination, democracy, and rule of law and one burdened by authoritarianism, hegemony and occupation.

Fifth, the aggression against Ukraine constitutes a challenge to the credibility of U.S. leadership.  It serves Moscow’s desire to portray Washington and NATO as lacking the diplomatic, economic, and military capability and will to counter effectively Russian power.

The response of the United States should be guided by three overlapping and mutually reinforcing objectives:

  • To deter Russia from further aggression against Ukraine and other neighboring countries;
  • To reinforce Ukraine’s confidence in its capacity to defend itself; and,
  • To assist Ukraine in its effort to become a modern, prosperous democratic European state.

These objectives can be pursued through immediate and longer-term initiatives that will impose economic and geopolitical costs on Russia, increase the risks to Moscow of further provocative behavior, reinforce Central and Eastern Europe’s sense of security, enhance Ukraine’s capacity for defense, and help it transform into a successful, democratic, and prosperous European state.

Read full testimony here.

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