United States, the Russian Federation and the Challenges Ahead, Hearing Before the Committee on Foreign Relations, United States Senate, One Hundred Fifteenth Congress, First Session, February 9, 2017   [open pdf - 376KB]

This hearing compilation is from the February 9, 2017 hearing on "The United States, the Russian Federation and the Challenges Ahead" before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. From the statement of Philip M. Breedlove: "The problem here is that thus far Moscow's extensive military operation in Syria has devoted little attention to these extremists. It has instead been directed against the weak moderates whom we support and lately, as it works with Ankara, against the Kurds. And its indiscriminate bombing against civilian populations has fueled refugee flows, exacerbating the refugee crisis in Europe. Moscow's principal objective in Syria is to shore up the weak, yet savage, Assad regime. If we back off active opposition to Assad - a serious concession to Mr. Putin -- is Moscow willing to be a real partner in Syria and beyond against Islamic extremists? [...] President Putin has made clear that he wants to upend the post-Cold War order established in Europe. He and senior Russian officials have justified aggression in Ukraine by claiming a right to protect ethnic Russians and Russian speakers there; and they have said that this principle applies elsewhere. Their goal is to weaken NATO [North Atlantic Treaty Organization], the European Union, and the Transatlantic relationship. [...] We have a vital interest in maintaining a strong NATO and vibrant Europe." Statements, letters, and materials submitted for the record include those of the following: Philip M. Breedlove and Julianne Smith.

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