Brent Scowcroft Center Senior Fellow Ian Brzezinski testifies before the House Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia and Emerging Threats and the House Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade on the subject of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 and the escalating crisis in Ukraine:
Chairman Rohrabacher, Chairman Poe, Representative Keating, Representative Sherman, thank you for the privilege of appearing before the committee to discuss the ramifications of the shoot-down of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17.
That tragedy is the consequence of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and specifically the Kremlin’s stoking of an insurrection in eastern Ukraine. The MH17 shoot-down should prompt us to carefully assess the effectiveness of the West’s response to these provocative acts of aggression.
The invasion of Ukraine began in February. Today, some six months later, Russia still occupies Crimea. The insurrection in eastern Ukraine, which has intensified, has been led and fought by Russian operatives, enabled by Russian weapons, and reinforced by the deployment of Russian military forces along the Ukrainian border. Recently, artillery based in Russia fired across that border at Ukrainian forces.
This invasion is an affront to the principles that have kept in peace in Europe, including respect for territorial sovereignty and the right of states to freely pursue their own affiliations uninhibited by the threat and exercise of force. President Putin’s assertion that he has the unilateral right to redraw borders to protect ethnic Russians reintroduces a dangerous principle that in past centuries has provoked wars and caused countless deaths in Europe.