tv Top Diplomat Discusses U.S.- Russia Talks on Ukraine CSPAN January 26, 2022 9:03am-9:48am EST
secretary of date wendy sherman will talk about the ukraine conflict. until then, the washington journal. >> a shot of the capitol in washington d.c. across washington, policy officials will gather at the walter washington convention center to talk about issues looking at automobiles and, in fact, it's their public policy day at the auto show. joining us to start a series of conversations with the auto show is john o'donnell, he's the president and ceo of the washington area new automobile dealers association, mr. donald, thank you for joining us. >> thank you for having me. >> live now to a discussion with deputy secretary of state wendy sherman on the russian-ukraine conflict. this is live coverage on c-span2. >> the diplomates who led the most recent talks with the russian federation. madam secretary, welcome and
welcome, also, in the name of my fellow board members. the united states for protecting the principles of international law and for the rights of every nation to choose their own way into the future. secretary sherman, what can you tell ukrainians for this matter, what is our way forward? >> thank you so much. i'd love to say madam president, it's very exciting. some day we will be able to say that in the united states. really did extraordinary job as president of your country. thank you for that warm welcome and for kindly agreeing to serve as our moderator for today's discussion, i'm really looking forward to our conversation. i also want to thank the security, yes, for hosting this
virtual event and to particularly acknowledge your founder, victor, and the chairman of your board, former polish president. and it's a forum for building ties between ukraine, europe, the united states and the wider world and for organizing substantive timely conversations like this one today. last week secretary blinken visited kiev, berlin and geneva as the united states continues our efforts with our allies and partners to urge russia to deescalate tension and choose the path of diplomacy. when he was in berlin, secretary blinken talked about what was at stake because of the aggression of russia for ukraine and beyond. if you haven't read it i encourage you to read it. russia is escalating the threat
to ukraine. animased 100,000 troops along the ukraine border in an unprovoked buildup of military troops and troops to belarus for allegedly military exercises and moscow is using bellicose and inflammatory rhetoric and to spread disinformation and propaganda in an obvious effort to paint ukraine as the aggressor. this is no defensive justification for russia to amass so many troops in such a short time on u being ukraine's border. ukraine poses no threat to russia. it bears repeating that it was russia that invaded ukraine in 2014 and occupies crimea to this day. it is russia that continues to fuel a war in eastern ukraine that's claimed nearly 14,000 lives and destroyed entire towns. it is russia and their proxies
holding hundreds of ukrainians as political prisoners. it's because of russia's action that nearly three million ukrainians are in need of humanitarian assistance. while the suffering is most acute in crimea and eastern ukraine, ukrainians everywhere have felt the effects of russia's aggression. russia has interfered in ukraine's elections and blocked energy and commerce, launched cyber attacks and used propaganda and information to sow distrust and causing renewed crisis not only for ukraine, but all of europe, indeed as secretary blinken said for the wider world. one country cannot change the borders of another by force, or dictate the terms of another country's foreign policy, or forbid another country from choosing its own alliances.
these are basic tenets of our international system. without them, we risk returning to a world where might makes right, where larger countries can bully and coerce smaller ones into acting against their own interests or ignoring the will of their own people. the united states stands with the people of ukraine and we remain committed to ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity. since 2014, the united states has committed more than 5.5 billion dollars in security and nonsecurity assistance to ukraine, including more than $351 million for those displaced or impacted by russia's aggression. we're continuing to provide defensive security assistance to ukraine. president biden authorized $200
million in security assistance in december and the first shipments began arriving in kiev in recent days. congress recently increased funding for the initiative and we're working with our nato allies, including the baltic states to provide diplomatic support and other assistance to ukraine in this time of crisis. even in the past week, we've worked hand in glove with our baltic allies to authorize and enable transfer of successive arms to ukraine. i especially want to acknowledge the bold position by our baltic allies making these systems available from their own stockpiles. all of us hopes that ukraine will not need to use these arms, of course, but if it comes to that, ukraine will be better able to defend itself from further russian aggression thanks to these efforts. the united states and our nato allies and european partners are fully committed to the
principle of nothing about you without you. that's the saying, nothing about nato without nato. nothing about europe without europe and nothing about ukraine without ukraine. we have said that plainly to our russian counterparts in all of the diplomatic engagements as we urge russia to deescalate tensions. russia claims it's about national defense, military exercises and weapons and security agreements. if that's true, there are concrete and reciprocal steps we can take to increase transparency, reduce risk, improve communication and advance arms control. we have told the russians that the united states is prepared to discuss those issues in coordination with our allies and partners, if they, the russians, are ready. on friday secretary blinken met with russian foreign minister
support ukraine, and help ukraine, what else could we do to make the message more clear, more believable to have really strong effect from situation worsening further. because indeed we've been taking all of these steps and yet it's the second military buildup in ukraine's border in eight months. you must have a feeling about that, what more could we do to make sure that the plans if they're there to attack ukraine will be halted? >> well, thank you very much, madam president. i think it's just fantastic the solidarity in europe and speaking of one voice, i must say when i went to the russia council meeting, extraordinary, it was all 30 countries that delivered the same message to the russians. so i think we have to use every forum that we have.
at nato, at the european union, to speak with one voice of solidarity. one that russia should choose diplomacy. there's no way that russia, with the largest conventional military in europe, on the security council as a permanent meant, an enormous land mass with tremendous energy resources, a country that is one of the two largest nuclear powers in the world, could possibly be threatened by ukraine, a smaller and still developing country. and in addition, there is no threat by nato. nato is a defensive alliance that is created to create defense and protection for europe and it's interesting, nato has only one invoked article five which says an attack on one is an attack on
all, by coming to the defense of united states in afghanistan after 9/11. so the alliance hasn't taken action in europe or elsewhere, no coercion, no subversion. russia should like wise, no taking of countries by force, changing borders by force, no coercion, no subversion. so, pushing for diplomacy with everything that we have and secondly, preparing for the worst. that's why what astona, latvia, lithuania did in terms of coming to the defense and support of ukraine is so significant out of their own stockpiles to help out. it is why it is very important that the united states increase our security assistance to ukraine and other countries like great britain, united kingdom has as well. so helping ukraine get ready to provide for its own defense,
but also, getting ready, sanctions and export control and other measures that say to russia, if you take this action, there will be severe reaction. in fact, the german ambassador to the united states, emily hobber tweeted the u.s. and germany declared last summer if russia uses energy as a weapon or another to claim sovereignty, russia will have to pay a whole price-- sorry, a high price. olaf schultz, and bach stated clearly nothing will be off the table, including nord stream two. this is a very important message of solidarity, of severe consequences, should russia take this action, president putin should rethink what he is considering and take the diplomatic course. >> thank you. it's already reassuring to hear those messages and also
particularly with the readiness of the german government to not to operate or allow operation of nord stream pipeline in case something further goes wrong and it's also very encouraging that i was just mentioning of energy, and using energy as a weapon in the ukraine conflict because one has already early on sent in a question about this standoff, if there will be further disturbances in the energy supply in ukrainian, and is that also considered an attack on ukraine. what is the to unleash the promised sanction also in this context? this would be very important, maybe, to understand a little pit bit better and also for the russian side, and unleash already, the sanctions that already have been negotiated and agreed beforehand. we're in discussions with the european capital ensuring the
energy supply for europe, if indeed, russia uses energy as a weapon. you know, we think about the risk to europe, but we also have to think about the risk to russia. they need to sell energy. they need to put it on the market in europe and get payment for it, and they need it for their economy. it's very critical for their economy. so this is interdependent. yesterday, a senior u.s. official on this issue said that moscow needed oil and gas revenue as much as europe looked to russia energy supplies. the energy, it should be looked at as more interdependency rather than pure advantage for putin. so there's a very calculus here, but we're in deep discussions to ensure in every way possible that russia cannot use energy as a weapon, and that europe has an assured energy supply. >> well, indeed.
i am very greatful for the whole of europe and we all know that we are seeking to diversify rapidly european energy, energy supply and i do agree, of course, on the could he dependence and that's a worry, actually, that russia seems to have provided for the reserves for certain areas, which is just one layer of the separation which we are seeing. indeed, but it is possible, also, this ukraine, for example, is cut off from the gas and there will be disturbance, already preemptively before anything else, put the sanctionsen, it's not an incursion into the territory, but it's an attack similarly taking the cyber attack. how do you feel about it? should we be proactive, the
first time before this might actually be --. >> madam president, i think you make a very good point. we are preparing for all kinds of scenarios. a full on invasion, any troops. the secretary of state said this the other day, even one russian troop invading ukraine breaches national security and says that another country can act with impunity which has tremendous consequences to ukraine and europe and sends a message to the entire world that other autocrats can act with impunity and go past long held principles of sovereignty and integrity, and a country alliance and own future. so it's very, very critical, but we're also looking at scenarios of hybrid attacks,
subversion or sabotage or coercion. we have to consider all of these and be ready to act, support ukraine and to make sure that russia knows that it will face consequences. >> indeed. thank you for these assurances. and we really must stress at this point that this is not about starting a war. actually the war is ongoing. i have myself twice flown on helicopter to the ukraine line and seen how sad this war is for ukraine. people have been dying every year and what's going on in ukraine. and that's why i really hope and i really wish that day in, day out, even if we manage to, let's say, have a little bit of an area getting to the talking
table so on, and what's been going on in ukraine all this time. because the war has never stopped. ukraine is in war since 2014. our support has been more visible, less visible, because russia still thinks it's free to ten this war and even to continue putting off. so i mean, united as we today stand, in the future, when russia gets behind the table to discuss with us, and to forward the message which obviously will be a disappointment, this is very obvious, but this message which we can only say is that we're not giving up on our rights to collectively descend on-- we're not going to give up on ukraine territorial integrity and we're not accepting that the facts on the ground will be sustainable for the future and ukraine will not have -- what
will then, i mean, follow is this what is your prediction? what is your prediction, actually? because basically i don't see, also, president putin saying, okay, well, we'll try this? what is your prediction? >> well, i don't know what is in president putin's mind. and there's only one person. i suspect even the people around him don't know ultimately what he will do. i think they know the plans of setting up the military to be ready to go and to have plans to make use of the military, but i suspect the president has other plans in mind as well and i'm not-- i have no idea whether he's made the ultimate decision, but we certainly see every indication that he is going to use military force sometime, perhaps now, and middle of
february. we all are aware that the beijing olympics begin on february 4th, the opening ceremony and president putin expects to be there. i think that probably president xi jinping wouldn't be ecstatic that he would use that time to invade ukraine. but madam president, you eloquently laid out what russia has already done to ukraine. so we talk about a further invasion of ukraine because indeed, they have illegally attempted an annex of crimea and they have constantly pressed in the east in the region, and caused enormous hardship and death to ukrainian citizens already. they have also pressed institutions inside of ukraine and tried to undermine the
democracy of ukraine. they have posted all kinds of social media posts to try to change how people think. what's so extraordinary about what puth is doing is he does not want ukraine to ever get into nato, but his very actions are making the people of ukraine more anxious to be in nato, not less anxious to be in nato. before putin illegally annexed crimea and has tried to hold it, indeed, ukrainians were mixed about what they wanted their future to be. after those actions in 2014, after i'm sorry when that occurred, after the pressing of the eastern region in the way that you so well described, a vast majority of ukrainians want to be in nato, are committed to democracy and
albeit ukraine still has more to do for its democracy, its people have chosen its future and we have to support that vision that ukrainian citizens have for themselves in every way possible and constantly say that we're here for ukraine. we want to support ukraine. and we will do nothing about ukraine without ukraine. >> ukrainian people obviously are seeking more and more reassurance and clarification. i have a long list of questions whether ukraine has elsewhere than germany, obviously, of course, and people are asking on clarity. for example, when really if there will be an air attack by russia or in the case of a missile strike, readiness in such a case, to help ukraine, can ukraine get defensive weapons to reduce the threat
from the air? these are questions of people who are ready to go and defend their own country, and also, will there be support for them in case russia goes for a full-on incursion and to the ukrainian war. >> you know, it's incredibly important to, in fact, do everything we can to support ukraine to be able to defend itself. as i said earlier, it's why it's extraordinary and affirmative that that latvia and lithuania sent weapons to ukraine. it's why the united states and the president did additional, and those shipments have begun
to ukraine so that they have the capability to defend themselves. you know, president zelensky is in a tough position because he wants his economy to move forward and all of the talk of military strife and conflict create not the best investment environment so we have it help in every way we can economically to ukraine, so that they can get through this difficult time. we have to help them prepare militarily in every way we can so that they know that they have support going forward, and i would say to russia, whatever you do, know that this is not the ukraine of years ago. this is ukraine with a military that is capable. this is a country that's going to stand up for itself and there will be nothing you do
where ukrainians citizens will not fight for their own future. there's nothing russia can do that will not cost russian lives. this is not just about ukrainian lives. russia needs to know that ukraine is ready to defend itself and to defend its future. >> indeed. i can only confirm your words. i was in ukraine the national day, the military parade. i saw the demonstration, the readiness and for to be honored for those people who they have already lost posthumously to be decorated by the state and indeed, i appreciate what president zelensky has done and fighting corruption and making ukraine a better investment
climate and this despite being a country at war. show me another country globally in the world who has managed to do that. so, indeed, we have absolutely no excuse in saying that ukraine should do more. ukraine has been reforming while fighting and fighting for lines because it's standing up to a russia which is it's neighbors, not accepting its own signatures anymore on the international agreement from the agreement. how do we make sure that such a country, such a brave country can be today when it's preparing for maybe tougherest -- toughest of investments and not giving up on ukraine's chances of nato one day. because it seems obvious, okay, there has been an agreements and we will one day by things have not been moving forward.
and that has not been in the common years. we've heard some of this discussion and this might happen and i have to say they're afraid that this might happen and that's one of the most persistent questions i'm getting from our audience. >> nato has affirmed the ambition that ukraine has to become a nato member. there is a process. there are requirements. ukraine is working to show that it is ready for a membership action plan, hasn't reached that point yet, but nato has certainly affirmed the ambition that ukraine has to join and i, you know, am hopeful for ukraine's future. i think, madam president, you've outlined the work that president zelensky is doing to get rid of corruption to put land reform in place, to make
sure that the institutions of democracy are strong in his country of the all of these things are important and everything we can do to provide technical assistance and support to help the president move forward is quite important. it is hard to build a democracy. we're still building ours. we're not a perfect country either so this is hard work and so everything we can do to bolster the president in those efforts is incumbent on each of us to do so that they can look ahead to the future that they want. >> europe and myself, what usc, what europe could further do to help ukraine come closer to europe and closer to the currency and also to alleviate the fear which clearly is coming from ukraine right now that might be on these
sanctions, are europeans really serious on sanctions? what more could we, europeans do to supporting ukrainians and keep their belief in us high? >> i think that we need to not let up on the things that we're doing, speaking with one voice, ensuring our solidarity on the path to diplomacy, on the principles of international security, and on the future ammunitions that countries have to be part of the international community in a variety of ways. i think that besides making sure that ukraine has the defenses, capacity that it will need as russia takes further action, to further invade ukraine, but also to look at ukraine's economic needs and whether and how we can support their economic security during this very volatile time, which makes it very difficult to move forward. i think we also want to
encourage ukraine on unity. this is a moment inside the country -- there are divisions in every country. there's conflict in every country, political conflict. you've been president of a country, you understand there are political parties and interests and differences, but this is a moment where ukrainians need to show that they are united. the fissions and fractures that they have need to be set aside for another day. right at this moment we need a unified ukraine working with a united europe and the community together, we're together, russia, choose diplomacy or otherwise in a united fashion we're ready to impose incredibly severe consequences should you take action to further invade ukraine. >> what will happen if russia
still, what we are telling today, what will happen on the day two? do we have a plan ready for that? again, people are asking sanctions ready, but i'm thinking that we must be prepared also to support ukraine already at war if this were to happen, if worse came to worse. can we give some assurances even during these difficult phases we have already plans to go to continue support and wh kind of support that might be? people are very curious to know. >> well, i think nato is doing a great deal of planning for that, as you heard, we announced yesterday 8500 troops being put on what we call prepare to deploy. our contribution at nato, particularly, those countries that are on the eastern flank, that would be very, very concerned about what might happen, providing a defensive
materials, ukraine as we've discussed today. making sure that russia understands that it will pay a priss not only in terms of severe sanctions, and i believe those sanctions will be ready and an enormous amount of work has gone on with the european commission and with the european union, with capitals in europe, with the united states, so i believe we will absolutely be ready. so all of that has to be ready to go. the nato planning, the support of poor countries in europe that are on the front lines, so that they feel reassured as well, defensive materials and security assistance and perhaps economic assistance to ukraine, which we are looking at and i hope others are as well, and making sure that we are sending messages of reassurance to the ukrainian people, which you are doing today, madam president,
that we are pushing back against russia propaganda and false flag operations. i have no doubt that russia is running false flag operations and disinformation and will find a pretext for whatever action they take, may even put in people to say they are ukrainians creating a conflict and tension for russia. so we have to be ready for all of these things and provide for it in every day that's appropriate to ensure that russia understands the consequences that it will face. >> i think it is very important what you just now said that we will blow every cover which russia will tray to-- try to use, saying it doesn't create the facts on the ground and it's important and it's very important that you have numerous times underlined that we do not negotiate with -- you
cannot negotiate with -- and cannot happen. and interesting for you to hear recently conducted a survey in six western countries, canada, u.k., poland, france, germany, ukraine, what the west expects from ukraine and a strong support for citizens for actually helping ukraine, supporting ukraine, holding pack russia and also sanctions against russia and indeed, even military support. i think this must have changed since 2014. we are collectively getting, we cannot actually give in to any kind of volleying like this, we have to indeed put up our defenses considerably to finally make the messages, that this kind of behavior only results in more talks, murray exercises, and more action close to russian border so that
justified escalations because it only is counterproductive in the viewpoint of russia. is that correct, madam secretary to our listeners. >> fascinating results. a message of solidarity that's so critical here that russia cannot split us one from another. that we are moving together. they are inside of russia doing extraordinary amounts of propaganda that's just incredible. my understanding is during decision, russian language content escalating tension, increased to nearly 3500 posts per day, a 200% increase over november -- so inside of russia they are working very hard to create these false narratives to say that the russian people, it's all ukraine's fault.
when of course, this crisis has totalsly been manufactured by russia. there does not need to be a crisis. i quite agree with you, madam president, i said quite clearly to the russians, no, you do not get to decide on nato membership. that's not your decision, it's up to the members of nato. no, you do not get to decide that all offensive weapons will leave europe. no, you do not get to say that we turned back the clock to 1997, and all of the countries that have joined nato since then have to unjoin. that's not going to happen, but if you want to talk about real mutual security issues, arms control, deconfliction, transparency, ways that we can enhance mutual security, we're on board for having those discussions in the strategic stability dialog the u.s. has, as the nato and russian council
meeting and other nate institutional formats and as well as discussions that are ongoing with the european union and that are taking place in the normandy format in paris today. so, there are lots of ways to ensure your mutual security, but not by ultimatum, not by threatening ukraine, not by coercion, not by subversion and not by invasion. >> we have touched upon discretion already, but please allow me one last question before we have to sum up our discussion and you have been really reassuring, thank you for that. people are asking is the u.s. allowing the possibility of any overt or covert concessions on ukraine immigration into nato? and which that ukraine have to get the membership action plan? >> so we are not deciding anything about ukraine without
ukraine. it's just as simple as that. ukraine has a right to decide its own future, its own foreign policy orientation, its own ambition and they have decided they want to climb the ladder to nato membership. it is a hard process. it takes time. there are things that ukraine is working on that you indicated, like today in your remarks, madam president, that will get them to that membership action plan, but it is a long process, it takes a white for any country to join nato. i'm very glad for the work that ukraine is doing, to be able to walk down that road and climb that ladder whatever metaphor we want to use. what i think is important today, as we are coming to the end of this wonderful conversation, is that we all
embrace what the people of ukraine have chosen for themselves. they want a democratic future. they want to be part of an alliance in europe. we should support them in that ambition in every appropriate way for them to reach a robust democracy. for those who would push them against their will, that that is the wrong path. russia has no right to decide for ukraine or any other country what its borders will be. what their future will be. we believe in the sovereignty of ukraine, the territorial integrity of ukraine, territory of ukraine and the right for
their future. and we will do everything we can to affirm the vision that ukrainians have for themselves. >> thank you. thank you deputy secretary. it has been reassuring to talk to you, but i'm quite sure there are still some elements where ukrainians would like to have nato membership and i think we fully have to accept that it is their right to ask at this critical time. it is uniquely difficult situation and circumstances to try to join nato. yes, i think we need to support and strongly support nato's enlargement. thank you for reassurances that they will be supported by more deterrent measures rather than less deterrent measures that russia seems to be seeking. and thank you for releasing what more the u.s. is ready to do to ensure ukraine is feeling supported at this important moment in its history and thank
you for understanding the difficulties the country has in reforming itself while it is at the same time at war. i am quite sure that our listeners and viewers, they are a little bit reassured, maybe not totally reassured, also, about the unity and the unity of our attempt to come to quickly forward with sanctions not only in the case of an active conflict, but also in all kind of private actions. i think this is a very valuable statement from you. so we do feel a slight reassurance, but we do stand still waiting for u.s. to continue daily, twice daily, whatever it takes efforts to convince russians that we do mean business protecting ukraine, protecting the rights of the free world, including nato to protect itself and united we always stand. thank you and this conversation only heard part of it.
if you want to listen it's available on ukraine.org and you can relisten and hopefully we will have in the future similar discussions, not in the too distant future because the situation is as it is and shifting quickly. >> thank you, madam president, and thank you for the valuable support you provide and for the support of ukraine. >> thank you. >> washington unfiltered, c-span in your pocket. download c-span now today. ♪♪