BBG Watch Commentary

HR758U.S. taxpayer-funded Voice of America (VOA) English news service website completely ignored the House of Representatives passage on Thursday, December 4, 2014, of bipartisan House Resolution 758, which strongly condemns aggression against neighboring countries by President Putin.

In an important move for the Voice of America and the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), the federal agency which oversees VOA and other U.S. international media outlets, the bipartisan resolution calls on President Obama and the U.S. State Department to maximize “the use of existing platforms for content delivery such as the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL)” to counter “Russian propaganda and to provide the people of Ukraine and the surrounding regions with access to credible and balanced information.”

One way for the Voice of America to counter Russian propaganda would be to report on its English language VOA news website on the House passage of the Russia resolution, but VOA failed to do this.

The legislation was introduced by Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL). It passed the House 411 votes to 10.

SPUTNIK, Russia’s news agency and radio, and Russia’s RT had multiple news reports on the House Resolution 758 and quoted mostly U.S. critics of the bill. Instead of arranging for covering this news story to counter any distorted or one-sided reporting on it from Putin’s media, VOA management allowed VOA writers and editors to write feature reports on tighty whities and apple pies.

“Seriously? Is this now the news that VOA finds interesting to its readers? This isn’t news,” a reader commented under the VOA feature story, “US Men’s Underwear Bottoms Expanding and Shrinking,” to which VOA writer/editor responded: “This light-hearted post speaks to current trends in American fashion. You can find more of what you are looking for in serious news pretty much everywhere else on the voanews.com site.”

Well, we could not find any news coverage on the voanews.com site of the House passage of the resolution on Putin’s aggression and on Congressional directives for improving and expanding Voice of America media outreach in the region. There was no such coverage on the main VOA English news website and on the vast majority of VOA foreign language websites.

Obviously, senior VOA executives who manage the author of the tighty whities and apple pie stories and oversee many other VOA writers, editors and reporters failed to arrange in this instance and on many previous occasions for coverage of Russia/Ukraine news in Congress. VOA reporting on this particular story in Russian and Ukrainian was minimal at best.

Granted, VOA’s Russian and Ukrainian websites did have very short reports on the House resolution (Russian – 230 words; Ukrainian 270 words — no audio or video in either report — but a VOA English blog feature story on American men and their love of fashion underwear had 516 words, while VOA English news website had nothing at all on H.R. 758).

On top of scant coverage in Russian and Ukrainian and no online coverage in English, both Voice of America language services got the date of the passage of the resolution wrong. The House of Representatives passed H RES 758 on Thursday, December 4, 2014 at 11 AM. VOA Russian and Ukrainian services reported that the resolution was passed by the House on Wednesday, December 3.

While the Voice of America English News website completely ignored the House passage of the resolution despite important and direct references in it to both VOA and Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), perfunctory news items on VOA Russian and Ukrainian websites covered the resolution’s extensive wording calling for expansion of U.S. international broadcasting in just one sentence (Russian) and half a sentence (Ukrainian).

VOA English news website had nothing on the U.S. legislation, but Russia’s SPUTNIK news agency and international radio website had not zero, but three English-language news reports/commentaries on what SPUTNIK described as “US House Anti-Russia Resolution.”

Putting anti-US bias and anti-Congress commentary aside, Russia’s SPUTNIK did a far better job of covering U.S. Congress and U.S. news than the Voice of America, which under its VOA Charter has a legal obligation to cover such news accurately, objectively and comprehensively.

Voice of America Director David Ensor said earlier in 2014 that VOA is “among the most important tools the United States has in responding to untruths and propaganda from places like Moscow.” It seems to us that the VOA tighty whities and apple pie features will not go very far in countering six separate English-language news reports and anti-U.S. Congress comments on the House Resolution from Russia’s SPUTNIK and RT.

Russia’s SPUTNIK Coverage of H.R. 758

02:59 06.12.2014

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US House Anti-Russia Resolution ‘Throwaway’ Political Gesture: Experts

Russia’s SPUTNIK quoted former Republican congressman Ron Paul as saying that “Resolution 758 passed by the US Congress contains 16 pages of war propaganda, accusing Russia of invading Ukraine but failing to provide any proof.”

On Friday, Dec. 5, RT did a television interview with Ron Paul which shows 3,957 views on YouTube as of 2:50 AM Saturday, Dec. 6.

Voice of America did not report Ron Paul’s comment or reported any other comments either supporting or refuting his view. Despite being located within a few blocks from Congress, as far as we know VOA did not reach out after the passage of the resolution to House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Ranking Member Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), Rep. Adam Kinzinger or any other member of Congress for comments.

Voice of America English News website had no story at all. VOA Russian Service and VOA Ukrainian Service websites did not show any reactions to the House passage of H.R. 758. VOA ignored written statements on the House resolution from Rep. Royce and Rep. Engel even though they were easily available online.

Russia’s RT Coverage of H.R. 758

05.12.2014 12:45 Ron Paul: ‘US provoking war with Russia, could result in total destruction’… OK?” House passed terrible H.Res.758 today – Insane neocon propaganda for … ALERT: I voted for HRes 758, Strongly condemning the …

04.12.2014 16:17 House of Representatives passes resolution against Russia… even more following the adoption of the H. Res. 758, warns former Democratic Representative Dennis Kucinich. “NATO encirclement …

Voice of America did not report on Rep. Engel saying that the resolution “lays out Congress’s strong opposition to France’s sale of two Mistral warships to Russia.” Engel said that this has been a key priority for him over the last several months. “We should all thank France for indefinitely suspending transfer of the ships to Russia, but I think we can go even further with NATO buying or leasing the ships,” Engel declared.

VOA English News website, VOA Russian Service website and VOA Ukrainian Service website also did not report Rep. Royce’s criticism that “the Obama Administration has allowed our international broadcasting efforts to flounder.”

Voice of America also failed to post any online reports on Rep. Engel’s statement in support of the resolution:

“We need to keep supporting those in Russia who are struggling against tough odds to keep the media and civil space open, to share ideas that originate beyond the Kremlin’s walls, to shine a light on the corruption in Moscow and the misinformation on the airwaves.”

On the legislation’s passage, Rep. Royce said: “Putin’s aggression against Ukraine and its neighbors must end. From the annexation of Crimea to the manipulation of energy resources, Russia continues to hold Ukraine hostage, undermining its independence and sovereignty. The U.S. must not allow Putin and other aggressors to achieve their goals through force, violence and intimidation.

“Russia has been pressing us on many fronts beyond Ukraine, from threatening our NATO allies to supporting Syria’s brutal regime. The Obama Administration hasn’t met this challenge.

“We must expand our efforts to counter the Kremlin’s propaganda, which is actively sowing dissension and conflict. The Obama Administration has allowed our international broadcasting efforts to flounder. If we are to compete in this critical area, we must urgently implement the wide-ranging reforms included in H.R. 4490, which unanimously passed the House this summer. We cannot surrender the field to Moscow and give it dominance on news and information. We must move quickly to establish world-class broadcasting services, because the only way to battle propaganda is to ensure that the people targeted by Moscow have access to the truth.”

In July, the House passed the United States International Communications Reform Act of 2014 (H.R. 4490), bipartisan legislation authored by Royce and Engel, which “clarifies the missions, deploys more resources to the field, and fixes broken management structures of U.S. international broadcasters,” according to Chairman Royce’s press release.

Voice of America Covers Other Topics, Like Tighty Whities And Apple Pies

VOA Screen Shot 2014-12-04 at 2.17 PM ETWhile VOA English news website had nothing on the Dec. 4 passage of the House resolution condemning “the actions of Russia, under President Vladimir Putin” and his “policy of aggression against neighboring countries, aimed at political and economic domination,” VOA English “All About America” Blog had a feature story on Dec. 1 on how:

“American men are paying more attention than ever to what they wear and a big part of that growth is centered on what most people they encounter don’t see: underwear bottoms.” “But even as the underwear market for men expands, it’s also shrinking. After years of the saggy pants look, which showcased the wearer’s boxers, men are moving toward a more streamlined look, both inside and out,” Voice of America told international audiences.

A link to “All About America” Blog appears prominently on the VOA English News homepage.

US Men’s Underwear Bottoms Expanding and Shrinking, Voice of America, December 1, 2014

Voice of America’s senior executives appear to believe that international audiences are immensely interested in this kind of information although VOA feature stories show extremely poor social media engagement numbers, as do many VOA political news reports, which are often late and short if they are produced at all.

Over the last several years, Voice of America has failed in its coverage of many significant U.S. news developments — involving Congress, White House, and State Department — while VOA was reporting extensively on the British royal family and on other similar lighter topics. VOA also posted online a fake interview with a prominent Russian opposition leader, a fictitious report from Azerbaijan, and mistranslated a passage from a book by former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates which allowed Putin’s media to score propaganda points against the U.S.

The trend away from serious news reporting toward features on tighty whities, apple pies, “17 ‘All American’ Foods that Foreigners Find Gross,” and similar topics seems to continue under VOA’s senior managers.

For the record, RT’s report from Dec. 5 on the interview with Ron Paul about the House passage of the Russia resolution is showing over 9,500 Facebook “Likes,” 611 Tweets and 373 comments as of 3 AM ET Dec. 6. VOA’s “US Men’s Underwear Bottoms Expanding and Shrinking” from Dec. 1 is showing 37 Facebook “Recommends,” 5 Tweets and 2 comments (one of them from the VOA writer).

Reporters will cover stories they are directed or encouraged by their senior leaders to cover or they will report on what they are interested in when given no direction or guidance. Voice of America’s oversight body, the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), has so far done little to reform VOA’s senior management. The BBG selected recently distinguished journalist and media executive Andy Lack to become the agency’s CEO, but he has not yet assumed his position.

Senior Congressional staffers told BBG Watch that Andy Lack made a good impression on Capitol Hill during his visit when he met with Chairman Royce. There is no time to waste for him to start working and start reforming Voice of America because it is literally falling apart.

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PRESS RELEASE

House Votes to Condemn Russian Aggression

DEC 4, 2014

Chairman Royce on passage of H. Res. 758

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, applauded the House of Representatives passage of H. Res. 758, which strongly condemns the actions of Russia, under President Vladimir Putin, which has carried out a policy of aggression against neighboring countries, aimed at political and economic domination.  The legislation was introduced by Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL).

On the legislation’s passage, Chairman Royce said:  “Putin’s aggression against Ukraine and its neighbors must end.  From the annexation of Crimea to the manipulation of energy resources, Russia continues to hold Ukraine hostage, undermining its independence and sovereignty.   The U.S. must not allow Putin and other aggressors to achieve their goals through force, violence and intimidation.

“Russia has been pressing us on many fronts beyond Ukraine, from threatening our NATO allies to supporting Syria’s brutal regime.  The Obama Administration hasn’t met this challenge.

“We must expand our efforts to counter the Kremlin’s propaganda, which is actively sowing dissension and conflict.  The Obama Administration has allowed our international broadcasting efforts to flounder.  If we are to compete in this critical area, we must urgently implement the wide-ranging reforms included in H.R. 4490, which unanimously passed the House this summer.  We cannot surrender the field to Moscow and give it dominance on news and information.  We must move quickly to establish world-class broadcasting services, because the only way to battle propaganda is to ensure that the people targeted by Moscow have access to the truth.”  

Note: Earlier this year, Chairman Royce and Ranking Member Engel (D-NY) led a bipartisan delegation to Ukraine, where they traveled to Kiev and eastern Ukraine and met with senior Ukrainian officials and leaders of the major ethnic communities in order to assess the impact of Russian aggression, the Ukrainian government’s plans, and U.S. policy options.  In July, the House passed the United States International Communications Reform Act of 2014 (H.R. 4490),  bipartisan legislation authored by Royce and Engel, which  clarifies the missions, deploys more resources to the field, and fixes broken management structures of U.S. international broadcasters.

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PRESS RELEASE

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

ENGEL REMARKS CONDEMNING RUSSIAN AGGRESSION

WASHINGTON, DC—Representative Eliot L. Engel, the leading Democrat on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today delivered the following remarks on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives in support of H.Res. 758, condemning the actions of Russia against neighboring countries:

“After the Cold War, we all hoped that Russia would emerge as a modern power, governed by democratic norms, the rule of law, and respect for human rights.

“Regrettably, things didn’t turn out that way. It’s time to recognize the fact that Russia under the leadership of Vladimir Putin is a threat to European security and to U.S. interests in the region.

“We must be clear that our concerns are not directed toward the Russian people. In fact, as Putin tightens his grip, his own citizens are among those suffering the most. Basic freedoms are under attack. The media has become a mouthpiece for Putin and his cronies. And as Russia continues its aggression in Ukraine, international sanctions are hitting home, dragging down Russia’s economy.

“Nevertheless, we have high hopes for those inside Russia who seek an alternative—who want a brighter future for their country and for their children. And so this resolution encourages the establishment of close and cooperative ties between the people of the United States and the people of Russia.

“It pains me that Putin has effectively destroyed democracy in Russia. We must let the Russian people know that we stand by them against this tyrant.

“We need to keep supporting those in Russia who are struggling against tough odds to keep the media and civil space open, to share ideas that originate beyond the Kremlin’s walls, to shine a light on the corruption in Moscow and the misinformation on the airwaves.

“I think this resolution sends an important message, and I’d like to thank the gentleman from Illinois, Mr. Kinzinger, for taking the lead on this important issue.

“But I also think we should be doing more and I am pleased to be working with Chairman Royce on new legislation to support Ukraine and further penalize Russia for its continued trampling of Ukrainian sovereignty.

“I’m also pleased that this resolution lays out Congress’s strong opposition to France’s sale of two Mistral warships to Russia, a key priority of mine over the last several months. We should all thank France for indefinitely suspending transfer of the ships to Russia, but I think we can go even further with NATO buying or leasing the ships.

“I believe that this would be a win-win-win: a win for NATO which would acquire these powerful ships; a win for France, whose legitimate financial interests would be addressed; and a win for the countries in Eastern Europe, which would be further threatened if Russia indeed had these vessels.

“Among those countries under Moscow’s pressure are Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia, where Russia continues to stoke separatism. There was a vote recently in Moldova which rejected Putin and his nonsense and I was happy to see it. In the Baltic States and elsewhere, Russian propaganda fills the airwaves, spreading deceptions about the West. Across Eastern Europe, millions wait with apprehension to see what Putin will do next. They have good reason: we know that he is willing to flout international law and trample his neighbors’ sovereignty. So better to stand up to a bully now than to try to reverse his future gains.

“When Putin talks about going into Crimea to protect ethnic Russians, it sounds to me a very lot like Hitler in 1938, who said he was going into Czechoslovakia into the Sudetenland to protect ethnic Germans.

“During the Cold War, the United States stared down the Soviet Union at the height of its power and refused to blink. We sided with those behind the Iron Curtain who stood up for their universal rights. Today, those rights are once again under threat.

“So, my colleagues, let’s pass this resolution, and let’s keep working to meet the challenge of Russia’s growing aggression.

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PRESS RELEASE

House Passes Kinzinger Resolution Condemning Russian Aggression

12/04/14

Washington, DC- Congressman Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) today released the following statement after the House approved his legislation, H.Res. 758, a resolution condemning Russia for its policy of political, economic, and military aggression against neighboring countries. The legislation calls on Russia to reverse its illegal annexation of the Crimean Peninsula and remove its military forces and equipment from Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova. Additionally, H.Res. 758 encourages our NATO allies and US partners in Europe to suspend all military cooperation with Russia. The resolution passed the House 411 votes to 10.

“The Russian Federation under President Vladimir Putin has resorted to old Cold War tactics of bullying and intimidation,” said Congressman Kinzinger. “After seeing what has happened in Ukraine, the United States cannot stand by and tolerate this naked aggression. It’s important for the House of Representatives to publicly denounce Russian hostilities, and I’m glad that H.Res. 758 has passed with such overwhelming support.”

In 2009, President Obama announced intentions to “reset” relations with Russia, including agreements on common interests and the negotiation of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty. Russia responded to this with openly anti-American rhetoric and actions against US allies, and President Vladimir Putin has increasingly established an authoritarian regime throughout the country.

In addition to introducing H.Res. 758, earlier this year, Congressman Kinzinger joined a bipartisan effort to sanction Russian arms dealers and authored multiple letters urging President Obama to oppose the sale of French warships to Russia.

You can watch Rep. Kinzinger’s floor speech on the legislation here.

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Voice of America Director David Ensor on Combating Propaganda in Ukraine

Atlantic Council Video, June 2014

Link to Video on YouTube.

TRANSCRIPT

MODERATOR: “We are here on the sidelines of the Wroclaw Global Forum. We have David Ensor, the Director of Voice of America.

David, earlier today we hear a panelist talk about the war of information that is going on in Eastern Europe, especially in Ukraine.

I’d like to know what you thought about his comment that Radio Free Europe was one of the greatest national security tools that the United States has in the region. What do you think about what the U.S. is doing right now to combat Russian propaganda?”

DAVID ENSOR, VOA DIRECTOR: “Radio Free Europe and Voice of America are — he’s right — among the most important tools the United States has in responding to untruths and propaganda from places like Moscow.

And we’re doing a lot. I’d love to do more. We would need more resources to be able to do more. But we’re doing a lot.

The companies that include Radio Free Europe and Voice of America and broadcast with U.S. funding reach 205 million people every week, 164 million of those from Voice of America alone.

Since the invasion of Crimea and the annexation of Crimea, we’ve upped our game in various ways in the region. For example, with some funds from the State Department, the Voice of America broadcasts now in Russian to eastern Ukraine. Our Ukrainian Service reaching now more of the Russian speakers in the East of that country with unbiased and balanced news broadcasts to tell them about how the conflict is viewed from the outside of the area.

One of the problems right now is that too many of the Russian speakers, not only in Ukraine, but also in places like Latvia, really don’t have much broadcasting of news that they can go to, other than broadcasting of Russia Today [RT] and some of the propaganda broadcasts from Moscow.

So, we fill that niche. I’d like to see us do more and we’re working very hard on trying to up our game, but we’re pretty effective.”

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H. Res. 758

PDF

In the House of Representatives, U. S.

December 4, 2014.

Whereas the Russian Federation has subjected Ukraine to a campaign of political, economic, and military aggression for the purpose of establishing its domination over the country and progressively erasing its independence;
Whereas the Russian Federation’s invasion of, and military operations on, Ukrainian territory represent gross violations of Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity and a violation of international law, including the Russian Federation’s obligations under the United Nations Charter;

Whereas the Russian Federation has, since February 2014, violated each of the 10 principles of the 1975 Helsinki Accords in its relations with Ukraine;

Whereas the Russian Federation’s forcible occupation and illegal annexation of Crimea and its continuing support for separatist and paramilitary forces in eastern Ukraine are violations of its obligations under the 1994 Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances, in which it pledged to respect the independence and sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine, and to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine;

Whereas the Russian Federation has provided military equip- ment, training, and other assistance to separatist and paramilitary forces in eastern Ukraine that has resulted in over 4,000 civilian deaths, hundreds of thousands of civilian refugees, and widespread destruction;

Whereas the Ukrainian military remains at a significant disadvantage compared to the armed forces of the Russian Federation in terms of size and technological sophistication;

Whereas the United States strongly supports efforts to assist Ukraine to defend its territory and sovereignty against military aggression by the Russian Federation and by separatist forces;

Whereas the terms of the cease-fire specified in the Minsk Protocol that was signed on September 5, 2014, by representatives of the Government of Ukraine, the Russian Federation, and the Russian-led separatists in the eastern area of Ukraine have been repeatedly violated by the Russian Federation and the separatist forces it supports;

Whereas separatist forces in areas they controlled in eastern Ukraine prevented the holding of elections on May 25, 2014, for a new President of Ukraine and on October 26, 2014, for a new Rada, thereby preventing the people of eastern Ukraine from exercising their democratic right to select their candidates for office in free and fair elections;

Whereas on November 2, 2014, separatist forces in eastern Ukraine held fraudulent and illegal elections in areas they controlled for the supposed purpose of choosing leaders of the illegitimate local political entities they have declared;

Whereas the Russian Federation continues to provide the military, political, and economic support without which the separatist forces could not continue to maintain their areas of control;

Whereas the reestablishment of peace and security in Ukraine requires the full withdrawal of Russian forces from Ukrainian territory, the resumption of the Govern- ment of Ukraine’s control over all of the country’s inter- national borders, the disarming of the separatist and paramilitary forces in the east, an end to Russia’s use of its energy exports and trade barriers to apply economic and political pressure, and an end to Russian interference in Ukraine’s internal affairs;

Whereas Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, a civilian airliner, was destroyed by a missile fired by Russian-backed separatist forces in eastern Ukraine, resulting in the loss of 298 in- nocent lives;

Whereas the Russian Federation continues to supply the vast majority of arms purchases, which include anti-aircraft missile systems and other lethal weapons, to the Bashar Assad regime in Syria, a state sponsor of terrorism that is actively backed by Hezbollah, a sophisticated terrorist group hostile to the United States and its close allies;

Whereas the Russian Federation has protected the Assad regime and backed its brutal assault against the Syrian people;

Whereas the Russian Federation has used and is continuing to use coercive economic measures, including the manipulation of energy prices and supplies, as well as trade re- strictions, to place political and economic pressure on Ukraine;

Whereas France agreed to sell to the Russian Federation two Mistral-class amphibious assault ships in 2011 for $1.7 billion;

Whereas Russian possession of these ships would be a desta- bilizing addition to the Russian military, which would likely have boosted its ability to invade Crimea;

Whereas given the Russian invasion of sovereign territory of the Republic of Ukraine in Crimea and elsewhere and its dangerous behavior throughout the region, France de- cided to suspend delivery of the Mistral-class warships to the Russian Federation;

Whereas purchase of the two Mistral-class warships by North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) countries would expand NATO’s capabilities, resolve France’s legitimate concern over the cost of the ships, and eliminate a potential threat to countries in Eastern Europe;

Whereas the Russian Federation invaded the Republic of Georgia in August 2008, continues to station military forces in the regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and is implementing measures intended to progressively inte- grate these regions into the Russian Federation, includ- ing by signing a ‘‘treaty’’ between Georgia’s Abkhazia Region and the Russian Federation on November 24, 2014;

Whereas the Russian Federation continues to subject the Re- public of Georgia to political and military intimidation, economic coercion, and other forms of aggression in an effort to establish its control of the country and to pre- vent Georgia from establishing closer relations with the European Union and the United States;

Whereas the Russian Federation continues to station military forces in the Transniestria region of Moldova in violation of the express will of the Government of Moldova and of its Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) commitments;

Whereas the Russian Federation continues to provide support to the illegal separatist regime in the Transniestria region of Moldova;

Whereas the Russian Federation continues to subject Moldova to political and military intimidation, economic coercion, and other forms of aggression in an effort to establish its control of the country and to prevent efforts by Moldova to establish closer relations with the European Union and the United States;

Whereas the Russian Federation acceded to the Intermediate- Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty obligation of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in a declaration issued at Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, in October 1992;
Whereas under the terms of the INF Treaty, a flight-test or deployment of any INF-banned weapon delivery vehicle by the Russian Federation constitutes a militarily signifi- cant violation of the INF Treaty;

Whereas on April 2, 2014, the Commander, U.S. European Command, and Supreme Allied Commander Europe, General Breedlove, stated that, ‘‘A weapon capability that violates the INF, that is introduced into the greater European land mass is absolutely a tool that will have to be dealt with. I would not judge how the alliance will choose to react, but I would say they will have to consider what to do about it. It can’t go unanswered.’’;

Whereas on July 29, 2014, the United States Department of State released its report on the Adherence to and Compli- ance with Arms Control, Nonproliferation, and Disarmament Agreements and Commitments, as required by Section 403 of the Arms Control and Disarmament Act, for calendar year 2013, which found that, ‘‘[t]he United States has determined that the Russian Federation is in violation of its obligations under the INF Treaty not to possess, produce, or flight-test a ground-launched cruise missile (GLCM) with a range capability of 500 km to 5,500 km, or to possess or produce launchers of such missiles’’;

Whereas concerns also exist with respect to a new Russian ballistic missile, the RS–26, which, according to reports, has been tested on multiple occasions at intermediate ranges, and in different configurations, which would be covered by the interpretative statements the United States Senate relied upon when it ratified the INF Trea- ty in May 1988;

Whereas the Russian Federation has requested the approval of new sensors and new aircraft to be flown over the United States and Europe as part of the Treaty on Open Skies, and serious concerns have been raised regarding impacts to United States national security if such approval is given;

Whereas on November 11, 2014, the Commander, U.S. European Command, and Supreme Allied Commander Europe, General Breedlove, stated that, Russian forces ‘‘ca- pable of being nuclear’’ are being moved to the Crimea Peninsula;
Whereas according to reports, the Government of the Russian Federation has repeatedly engaged in the infiltration of, and attacks on, computer networks of the United States Government, as well as individuals and private entities, for the purpose of illicitly acquiring information and disrupting operations, including by supporting Russian individuals and entities engaged in these actions;

Whereas the political, military, and economic aggression against Ukraine and other countries by the Russian Fed- eration underscores the enduring importance of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) as the cor- nerstone of collective Euro-Atlantic defense;

Whereas the United States reaffirms its obligations under the North Atlantic Treaty, especially Article 5 which states that ‘‘an armed attack against one or more’’ of the treaty signatories ‘‘shall be considered an attack against them all’’;

Whereas the Russian Federation is continuing to use its supply of energy as a means of political and economic coercion against Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, and other Euro- pean countries;

Whereas the United States strongly supports energy diversification initiatives in Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, and other European countries to reduce the ability of the Russian Federation to use its supply of energy for polit- ical and economic coercion, including the development of domestic sources of energy, increased efficiency, and substituting Russian energy resources with imports from other countries;

Whereas the Russian Federation continues to conduct an aggressive propaganda effort in Ukraine in which false information is used to subvert the authority of the legitimate national government, undermine stability, promote ethnic dissension, and incite violence;

Whereas the Russian Federation has expanded the presence of its state-sponsored media in national languages across central and western Europe with the intent of using news and information to distort public opinion and obscure Russian political and economic influence in Europe;

Whereas expanded efforts by United States international broadcasting across all media in the Russian and Ukrain- ian languages are needed to counter Russian propaganda and to provide the people of Ukraine and the surrounding regions with access to credible and balanced information;

Whereas the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), Incorporated continue to represent a minority market share in Ukraine and other regional states with significant ethno-linguistic Russian populations who increasingly obtain their local and international news from Russian state-sponsored media outlets;

Whereas the United States International Programming to Ukraine and Neighboring Regions Act of 2014 (Public Law 113–96) requires the Voice of America and RFE/ RL, Incorporated to provide programming content to target populations in Ukraine and Moldova 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including at least 8 weekly hours of total original video and television content and 14 weekly hours of total audio content while expanding cooperation with local media outlets and deploying greater content through multimedia platforms and mobile devices; and

Whereas Vladimir Putin has established an increasingly authoritarian regime in the Russian Federation through fraudulent elections, the persecution and jailing of political opponents, the elimination of independent media, the seizure of key sectors of the economy and enabling supporters to enrich themselves through widespread corruption, and implementing a strident propaganda campaign to justify Russian aggression against other countries and repression in Russia, among other actions: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the House of Representatives—

(1) strongly supports the efforts by President Poroshenko and the people of Ukraine to establish a lasting peace in their country that includes the full withdrawal of Russian forces from the territory of Ukraine, full control of Ukraine’s international borders, the disarming of separatist and paramilitary forces in eastern Ukraine, the adoption of policies to reduce the ability of the Russian Federation to use energy exports and trade barriers as weapons to apply economic and political pressure, and an end to interference by the Russian Federation in the internal affairs of Ukraine;

(2) affirms the right of Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, and all countries to exercise their sovereign rights within their internationally recognized borders free from outside intervention, and to conduct their foreign policy in accordance with their determination of the best interests of their peoples;

(3) condemns the continuing political, economic, and military aggression by the Russian Federation against Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova and the continuing violation of their sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity;

(4) states that the military intervention by the Russian Federation in Ukraine—

(A) is in breach of its obligations under the United Nations Charter;

(B) is in clear violation of each of the 10 prin- ciples of the 1975 Helsinki Accords;

(C) is in violation of the 1994 Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances in which it pledged to respect the independence, sovereignty, and existing borders of Ukraine and to refrain from the threat of the use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine; and

(D) poses a threat to international peace and security;

(5) calls on the Russian Federation to reverse its illegal annexation of Crimea, to end its support of the separatist forces in Crimea, and to remove its military forces from that region other than those operating in strict accordance with its 1997 agreement on the Status and Conditions of the Black Sea Fleet Stationing on the
Territory of Ukraine;

(6) calls on the President to cooperate with United States allies and partners in Europe and other countries around the world to refuse to recognize any de jure or de facto sovereignty of the Russian Federation over Crimea, its airspace, or its territorial waters;

(7) calls on the Russian Federation to remove its military forces and military equipment from the territory of Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova, and to end its political, military, and economic support of separatist forces;

(8) calls on the Russian Federation and the sepa- ratist forces it supports and controls in Ukraine to end their violations of the cease-fire announced in Minsk on September 5, 2014;

(9) calls on the President to cooperate with United States allies and partners in Europe and other countries around the world to impose visa bans, targeted asset freezes, sectoral sanctions, and other measures on the Russian Federation and its leadership with the goal of compelling it to end its violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, to remove its military forces and equipment from Ukrainian territory, and to end its support of separatist and paramilitary forces;

(10) calls on the President to provide the Government of Ukraine with lethal and non-lethal defense articles, services, and training required to effectively defend its territory and sovereignty;

(11) calls on the President to provide the Govern- ment of Ukraine with appropriate intelligence and other relevant information in a timely manner to assist the Government of Ukraine to defend its territory and sov- ereignty;

(12) calls on North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies and United States partners in Europe and other nations around the world to suspend all mili- tary cooperation with Russia, including prohibiting the sale to the Russian Government of lethal and non-lethal military equipment;

(13) reaffirms the commitment of the United States to its obligations under the North Atlantic Treaty, espe- cially Article 5, and calls on all Alliance member states to provide their full share of the resources needed to ensure their collective defense;

(14) urges the President, in consultation with Con- gress, to conduct a review of the force posture, readi- ness, and responsibilities of United States Armed Forces and the forces of other members of NATO to determine if the contributions and actions of each are sufficient to meet the obligations of collective self-defense under Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty and to specify the measures needed to remedy any deficiencies;

(15) welcomes the decision of France to indefinitely suspend the delivery of the Mistral-class warships to the Russian Federation and urges the United States, France, NATO, and other partners to engage in con- sultations and consider all alternative acquisition options for such warships which would not include transfer of the ships to the Russian Federation;

(16) urges the President to publicly hold the Rus- sian Federation accountable for violations of its obliga- tions under the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty and to take action to bring the Russian Federation back into compliance with the Treaty;

(17) urges the President to work with Asian, Euro- pean, and other allies to develop a comprehensive strat- egy to ensure the Russian Federation is not able to gain any benefit by its development of military systems that violate the INF Treaty;

(18) believes the emplacement by the Russian Federation of its nuclear weapons on Ukrainian territory would constitute a provocative and destabilizing move;

(19) calls on Ukraine and other countries to sup- port energy diversification initiatives to reduce the ability of the Russian Federation to use its energy exports as a means of applying political or economic pressure, including by promoting energy efficiency and reverse natural gas flows from Western Europe, and calls on the United States to promote increased natural gas exports and energy efficiency;

(20) calls on the President and the United States Department of State to develop a strategy for multilateral coordination to produce or otherwise procure and distribute news and information in the Russian language to countries with significant Russian-speaking populations which maximizes the use of existing platforms for content delivery such as the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), Incorporated, leverages indigenous public-private partnerships for con- tent production, and seeks in-kind contributions from regional state governments;

(21) calls on the United States Department of State to identify positions at key diplomatic posts in Eu- rope to evaluate the political, economic, and cultural in- fluence of Russia and Russian state-sponsored media and to coordinate with host governments on appropriate responses;

(22) calls on the Russian Federation to cease its support for the Assad regime in Syria;

(23) calls on the President to publicly and privately demand the Russian Federation cease its destabilizing behavior at every opportunity and in every engagement between the United States and its officials and the Russian Federation and its officials;

(24) calls upon the Russian Federation to seek a mutually beneficial relationship with the United States that is based on respect for the independence and sov- ereignty of all countries and their right to freely deter- mine their future, including their relationship with other nations and international organizations, without interference, intimidation, or coercion by other countries; and

(25) calls for the reestablishment of a close and co- operative relationship between the people of the United States and the Russian people based on the shared pursuit of democracy, human rights, and peace among all nations.

Attest:

Clerk.

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