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Dec 17, 2023

Congress is probably going to send approximately $50 billion more, most of that for weapons, to continue the war in Ukraine. In November, high ranking officials from the State Department testified about how the Biden administration intends to use our money and why. In this episode, hear the highlights of their testimony and decide for yourself if you think their goals are worth sacrificing more American money and Ukrainian lives.

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Background Sources

Recommended Congressional Dish Episodes

CD284: Thieving Russia

CD253: Escalation of War

CD248: Understanding the Enemy

CD244: Keeping Ukraine

CD167: Combating Russia (NDAA 2018) LIVE

CD068: Ukraine Aid Bill

CD067: What Do We Want In Ukraine?

WTF is the World Trade System?

The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. Naomi Klein. Picador: 2008.

“How the US became Israel’s closest ally.” Nicole Narea. October 13, 2023. Vox.

“Leviathan Gas Field, Mediterranean Sea, Israel.” Offshore Technology.

Ukraine: How We Got Here

"A US-Backed, Far Right–Led Revolution in Ukraine Helped Bring Us to the Brink of War." Branko Marcetic. February 7, 2022. Jacobin.

“Chevron and Ukraine Set Shale Gas Deal.” Stanley Reed and Andrew E. Kramer. November 5, 2013. The New York Times.

“Monsanto to expand its operation in Ukraine.” Marieke Ploegmakers. February 5, 2012. All About Feed.

“Biography: Arseniy Yatsenyuk.” Arseniy Yatsenyuk Official Website.

“Arseniy Yatsenyuk.” Retrieved on December 16, 2023. Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia.

The Ukraine War, by the Map

“Update on Ukraine: Battlefield Situation.” Defence Intelligence, UK Ministry of Defense. December 15, 2023.

“Ukraine in maps: Tracking the war with Russia.” Visual Journalism Team. November 16, 2023. BBC News.

“Who’s Gaining Ground in Ukraine? This Year, No One.” Josh Holder. September 28, 2023. The New York Times.

“Russia-Ukraine War Map.” @war_mapper. December 31, 2022.

U.S. Support for Ukraine

“Republicans Block Aid to Ukraine, Jeopardizing Its Fight Against Russia.” Karoun Demirjian. December 6, 2023. The New York Times.

The IMF in Ukraine

“Unpacking Ukraine’s New IMF Program.” Oleksandra Betliy. May 5, 2023. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

“Ukraine: Request for an Extended Arrangement Under the Extended Fund Facility and Review of Program Monitoring with Board Involvement — Press Release; Staff Report; and Statement by the Executive Director for Ukraine,” [IMF Country Report No. 2023/132]. March 31, 2023. International Monetary Fund.

“Ukraine: New media law sparks division.” Estelle Nilsson-Julien and Ilaria Federico. March 5, 2023. Euronews.

“Ukraine: Program Monitoring with Board Involvement — Press Release; Staff Report; and Statement by the Executive Director for Ukraine,” [IMF Country Report No. 2022/387]. December 21, 2022. International Monetary Fund.


“Diplomacy Watch: New revelations shed light on early talks.” Connor Echols. December 1, 2023. Responsible Statecraft.

“General to General.” Seymour Hersh. December 1, 2023. Seymour Hersh on Substack.

“Head of Ukraine's leading party claims Russia proposed ‘peace’ in exchange for neutrality.” Olena Roshchina. November 24, 2023. Ukrainska Pravda.

The Toll of War

“U.S. intelligence assesses Ukraine war has cost Russia 315,000 casualties - source.” Jonathan Landay. December 12, 2023. Reuters.

“Hundreds of thousands wounded and dead in Ukraine as war grinds on, intelligence suggests.” John Mazerolle. December 8, 2023. CBC News.

“As Death Toll in Gaza Surpasses 10,000, the House Censures Rashida Tlaib.” Inae Oh. November 8, 2023. Mother Jones.

“Why Ukraine likely won't hold elections next year.” Oleg Sukhov. September 28, 2023. The Kyiv Independent.


Enemies and Neighbors: Arabs and Jews in Palestine and Israel, 1917-2017. Ian Black. Narrated by Michael Page. Tantor Audio: 2018.

“Fear & Loathing in the New Jerusalem” Darryl Cooper. The Martyrmade Podcast.

Audio Sources

U.S. National Security Interests in Ukraine

November 8, 2023
Senate Foreign Relations Committee


  • James O'Brien, Assistant Secretary of State, European and Eurasian Affairs

  • Geoffrey R. Pyatt, Assistant Secretary of State, Energy Resources

  • Erin McKee, Assistant Administrator, Europe and Eurasia, United States Agency for International Development (USAID)


1:55 Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD): The supplemental funding will strengthen governance and anti-corruption systems. It will improve the resilience of our economies and our energy supply. It will support efforts to come out of the other side of this. We're ready for Ukraine to join EU and also NATO. But this investment in Ukraine goes far beyond its borders. By degrading Russia's military capabilities, we're also degrading the capabilities of those who Russia works with, like Iran, Hamas, and Hezbollah.

10:30 Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD): First Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs James O'Brien. Assistant Secretary O'Brien assumed his role just last month after serving as sanctions coordinator at the State Department. He is a former career employee of the department receiving numerous performance awards and serve to previous US administration's as Special Presidential Envoy for hostages and for the Balkans.

11:00 Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD): The next will be Assistant Secretary for Energy Resources, Jeffrey R. Pyatt. No stranger to this committee, career diplomat Assistant Secretary Pyatt has been in his current role since September 2022. He served as US Ambassador to Greece and Ukraine. He has held numerous leadership positions through out the department and has won numerous awards.

11:25 Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD): And our third witness is Assistant Administrator Erin McKee, who serves as the Assistant Administrator in the Bureau of Europe and Eurasia at USAID. Prior to this position, she was the US Ambassador to Papua New Guinea and to the Solomon Islands. Prior to her Ambassador appointments, as a member of the Senior Foreign Service she served in numerous leadership roles throughout USAID and the embassies abroad. Before her US government career she developed private sector experience including throughout the former Soviet Union.

14:40 James O'Brien: This is around the Black Sea and Crimea. Ukraine has, through its own ingenuity and with weapons that have been provided, loosened Russia's grip. Russia tried to blockade the ability of Ukraine to export, but now Ukraine is starting to export more grain, more metals. And this is enabling it to pay for more of its war itself. So just a few numbers as we go through this. Ukraine is hoping to get about 8 million tons of grain and metals out through the Black Sea over the course of the next year. If it does that, it will provide about $5-6 billion more for its tax base than it has now. That helps to make up the shortfall that our supplemental will cover for the meantime. But it also then provides the employment for millions of its citizens to work within Ukraine. Now, that is a path to victory where we help Ukraine by providing assistance to have its energy grid strengthened, air defense over its employment centers, and the export routed needs so that it is able to fight this fight over the long term and to hold Russia off thereafter.

15:50 James O'Brien: The military assistance in the supplemental is about $45 billion. That goes to acquire American equipment that Ukraine will then use to pay for American service people to support Ukraine and to pay other countries to acquire American equipment after they provide equipment to Ukraine.

16:05 James O'Brien: The direct budget support that we provide to Ukraine enables Ukraine to put all of its tax dollars to support the war. Ukraine pays for about 60% of the costs of this war right now. The direct budget support pays for hundreds of thousands of educators, first responders, firefighters, and health care professionals to work within Ukraine.

16:55 James O'Brien: The next question is, who's with us? We have more than 40 countries. They provide much more assistance to Ukraine than we do. It's about $91 billion to our $70 billion so far. They've hosted 4.5 million Ukrainian refugees at a cost of around $18 billion. They are proposing another $50 billion in assistance just from the European Union.

17:30 James O'Brien: Right now, Ukrainians are willing to do this job because it's in their territory. If we abandon them, then somebody else is going to have to do this job later and it's likely to be us. So I'd rather confront Russia and its destabilizing attitudes right here, right now, and we can finish the job with the supplemental that we've proposed for your consideration.

18:45 Geoffrey R. Pyatt: For Ukraine, this coming winter promises to be even more challenging than the last. Ukraine's generation capacity has degraded about 50% since the start of the war. Ukrainian energy workers have labored day and night, often under fire, to repair, restore, and harden grid and generation facilities, often by cannibalizing parts from elsewhere. But most spare parts by now have been consumed, and Russia has recently resumed its bombardment of power plants and refineries, including just this morning in eastern Ukraine.

20:50 Geoffrey R. Pyatt: The World Bank has estimated that after last winter, Ukraine needed at least $411 billion to rebuild its infrastructure. That was eight months ago. Every day that number grows. Electricity grid damage alone amounted to $10 billion in 2022. Ukraine's economic future depends on investment by the private sector, and energy is key to unlocking that industrial recovery.

21:25 Geoffrey R. Pyatt: American energy companies like Halliburton, GE, and EQT have been active partners in this effort, providing vital equipment to Ukraine and actively exploring future commercial opportunities. We're working together to build a better future for and with Ukraine -- modern, cleaner, and with a more decentralized power sector that is fully integrated with Europe, even serving as a power exporter to the rest of the European Union.

22:10 Geoffrey R. Pyatt: After the full scale invasion, US LNG producers stepped up to surge supplies to Europe, as our allies turned away from Russia as an energy source. Since 2022, US exporters have supplied the EU with approximately 90 million tons of LNG -- three times as much as the next largest supplier. Last year, 70% of US LNG exports went to Europe. Europe's shift away from Russian energy has happened much faster than predicted, and marks a permanent shift in the International Energy map.

25:30 Erin McKee: In response to the immediate crisis, USAID has provided nearly $2 billion in humanitarian assistance to Ukraine since February of 2022. The generosity of the American people has supplied emergency health care, agriculture and energy support to Ukraine's most vulnerable populations. And thanks to the Congressional appropriations, USAID disbursed reliable, sustained direct budget support to the Ukrainian government, along with unprecedented levels of oversight. This enabled first responders, health care workers, teachers and others to continue their vital work and sustain Ukraine's economy and institutions while they defend their country's freedom and sovereignty.

26:10 Erin McKee: To respond to Russia's weaponization of hunger, USAID launched the Agriculture Resilience Initiative to keep farmers afloat. USAID also works very closely with the private sector to improve Ukraine's energy security and transform Ukraine's energy sector into a modern engine of growth. Side by side with our agriculture and energy efforts is USAID's support to small and medium enterprises, helping Ukraine increase jobs and generate revenue.

26:45 Erin McKee: At this time, there is no funding left for direct budget support. Without further appropriations, the government of Ukraine would need to use emergency measures such as printing money or not paying critical salaries, which could lead to hyperinflation and severely damage the war effort. USAID has also exhausted all of its supplemental humanitarian assistance funds. Additional funding is critical in the face of what remains an enormous need. If Congress does not approve supplemental funding, our partner organizations in Ukraine would have to either reduce the number of people getting this humanitarian assistance by up to 75% or suspend our humanitarian programs entirely.

27:30 Erin McKee: USAID also looks to the future to building resilient infrastructure and institutions that will support Ukraine's path towards European Union integration. For decades, USAID has buttressed Ukraine's progress towards transparent, inclusive and accountable governance. The United States continues to help Ukraine carry out judicial reform, institutionalized transparent financial systems, and respond to the people of Ukraine's zero tolerance for corruption.

33:15 Erin McKee: They have not skipped a beat in advancing the reform agenda. The EU report just came out this morning and both Ukraine and Moldova, and a variety of other countries, received support for continuing and opening chapters of recession talks. That's because our support to strengthening and deepening the institutions fighting corruption in Ukraine have received the top priority from the President. They had to pass and meet conditionality that we put on our direct budget support and did so without blinking. So while they're fighting a war and fighting for their survival, they are 100% dedicated to ensuring that the political economy model that they inherited during the Soviet Union is dismantled, which reflects the will of the Ukrainian people.

34:35 Geoffrey R. Pyatt: And one of the real success stories amid the tragedy of this war is that Europe has turned decisively away from its dependence, up until 2022, on Russian gas in particular. I see that as a permanent change in the landscape. It's reflected in the billions of dollars that European countries have invested in regasification facilities. It's reflected in the contracts that are being signed with American LNG producers. And it's also reflected in Europe's renewed and doubled commitment to accelerating the pace of its energy transition. So ironically, Putin's weaponization of his energy resource has induced Europe to break its vulnerability there and I think that is a permanent change in the landscape. That is also a positive benefit for American energy producers in our leadership on the energy transition.

35:55 Sen. James Risch (R-ID): I want to talk about the nuclear reactors we have in the United States, of which there are 95, give or take a few. Would you tell the committee, please, where does the fuel come from to operate these nuclear facilities? Geoffrey R. Pyatt: So, Ranking Member, about 20% of the fuel that operates our nuclear fleet here in the United States still comes from Russia. The President has included in his latest supplemental request for about $2.2 billion to help rebuild the nuclear enrichment capacity that we need here in the United States to end that dependency. And the administration has also stated its support for a ban on the import of Russian nuclear fuel.

43:30 Erin McKee: Right now Ukraine is able to spend all of their national budget in the fight. They are paying their soldiers salaries, they are dedicated to defeating Putin on the front lines. That means they don't have any resources to take care of their people and govern, which is as vital to keep up the unity of purpose and the resilience that we've seen from the Ukrainian people, because they're all in, both on the civilian and the military side. So the types of services that would be suspended are first responders who rush into the building and save lives, medical care to make sure that inoculations stay up so that the Ukrainian population stays healthy, particularly children's routine immunizations. We heard reports of polio outbreaks and some other concerns during the early days of the mass emigration of folks fleeing the conflict. We also are supporting teachers and continuing education so that they don't lose a generation as a result of Putin's attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure so that the kids can stay in school, and that those families — Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE): Am I correct that the direct budget support requested gradually goes down over the next year, as the economy becomes more vibrant and we assess Ukraine is able to generate more revenue? Erin McKee: Correct. The direct budget support and their fiscal stability is also vital for the IMF program and other donors stepping in. Our leadership in this space -- and yes, we were first -- unlocked the other support that we've seen mobilized from the EU and other donors, as well as boosting the confidence in the multilaterals to be able to contribute to Ukraine's economic stability, which is as vital as winning the war. If their economy collapses, Putin will have won.

47:55 Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY): As Harvard's Graham Allison points out, if Putin is forced to choose between humiliating defeat on the one hand and escalating the level of destruction, there's every reason to believe he chooses the latter. There's a great deal of evidence that the war in Ukraine has come to a stalemate. Even Ukraine's Commander in Chief of the armed services has admitted as much. In Graham Allison's view, the Ukraine war has escalated far enough to see how bad things would become if we end up in a world where nuclear weapons are used. Allison believes that where we are now, both for Putin's Russia and for the Biden-led US and the Western alliance, it's time to search for an off ramp for all the parties. What is being done at the State Department to search for an off ramp. James O'Brien: Thank you, Senator. A few points. I mean, I can speak to the foreign policy implications. My belief is if we don't stand with Ukraine now, we'll be spending much more on defense in the future. Much of this supplemental goes to reinvest in the United States, so far from rot and ruin, we're actually shoring up the foundations in our energy sector as Assistant Secretary Pyatt — Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY): So your argument is that war and funding war around the world is good for our armaments industry. James O'Brien: I'm saying this supplemental is good for our economy — Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY): For the armaments industry. So really, it's a justification of war. To me, that's sort of reprehensible -- and this is coming from my side as well -- the idea that "Oh, glory be, the war's really not that bad. Broken windows are not that bad, because we pay people to fix them. Broken countries are not so bad, because hey, look, the armaments industry is gonna get billions of dollars out of this." I think that's a terrible argument. I wish y'all would go back to your freedom arguments or something. But the idea that you're going to enrich the armaments manufacturers, I think is reprehensible. James O'Brien: Well, Senator, I'm not making the argument war is good. I'm making the argument, in this case, war is necessary. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY): And that we can make a little profit on the side. It's not so bad since the armaments guys who make a lot of profit on this, right. James O'Brien: Senator, I think you're proposing a kind of false choice that Ieither have to say that or say nothing. What I'm saying is that our economy rests on a foundation of innovation. And in the supplemental, we're investing in our energy sector — Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY): But the money is borrowed. We're borrowing the money. We don't have it. We don't have a pot of money. So what you're arguing is, in essence, that we borrow the money from China, we send it to Ukraine, Ukraine, sends it back to buy arms from us, and that's a win-win. How do we win when we're borrowing money to pay people. See this is this false sort of argument that "oh, look, we'll create five jobs for every dollar we spend," but we're borrowing the money. It doesn't make any sense. It's coming from somewhere where it would be a productive use, into the use of basically fomenting a war and continuing on a war. James O'Brien: No, that's not the choice in front of us, Senator. And I'm sorry that you feel that that's the way you want to frame it. The choice in front of us is do we invest in the capacities that allow this war to be won? Those include capacities in energy, in defense, in IT, and they include — Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY): Let's get away from funding the armaments people. You know, I'm not for that. But the original question is, what are you doing to develop an off ramp? You know, when I listen to your presentations, it sounds like the Department of War, I don't hear the Department of diplomacy in front of me. Where are the diplomats? Is anybody talking about negotiation? Do you really believe that Ukraine is gonna push Russia out of out of Ukraine, they're gonna push them out of Crimea, push them out of the East, and that Zelenskyy's is position, "we will not negotiate till they're gone from Ukraine," is viable? And that there's not going to have to be some negotiation beforehand? If you believe that, though, the meat grinder continues and Ukraine will be in utter destruction and tens of thousands more people will die if there is no negotiation. You would think that as a superpower, we would be involved somewhat with encouraging negotiation. But I've heard nothing from you, and nothing from anyone in your administration, frankly, that talks about negotiating. James O'Brien: Well, Senator, then I hope you would sit down and talk with me about what we're doing in this regard. Here, I'll give you a little sense of it. All wars end with a negotiation. We've made clear we'll do that with Ukraine, not over Ukraine's head. It takes two parties to negotiate the end of a war. President Putin is not serious about negotiating the end of the war. He has said he wants to wait and see what happens in November 2024. We're preparing for that eventuality so we can have a negotiation that will actually stick as opposed to the track record of broken agreements that President Putin has made with a whole range of his neighbors up until now. So that's successful diplomacy, not mere diplomacy. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY): There are actually some who say we're back to about where we started as far as negotiating and tens of thousands of people have died on both sides, and we haven't been successful. But I still hear only war and I don't hear diplomacy. James O'Brien: No but I think what we're looking at is successful diplomacy. I just spent last weekend with 66 countries talking about the basis of a successful peace in Ukraine. Russia didn't show up. That, again, is the problem. You don't have a willing partner on the other side, so simply saying that there must be talks is -- you're asking for a monologue, not diplomacy.

55:00 Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR): You know, I'm really struck by the parallel to the journey of Chamberlain to Munich to say, "Okay, Hitler, you can take a third of Czechoslovakia" and then he declared peace in our time, under the assumption that somehow this would not whet Hitler's appetite. Did Chamberlain's strategy work? James O'Brien: No. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR): Will this strategy now, of us bailing on Ukraine to appease Putin, work? James O'Brien: No, it'll invite more aggression.

1:01:40 Sen. Pete Ricketts (R-NE): Do you think we should condition US aid to prevent US tax dollars from supporting PRC-owned or controlled entities from providing the reconstruction? James O'Brien: Senator, we do. That's why it's so important to have the supplemental so that we remain in the game and can set the conditions that make it impossible for opaque, illegitimate contractors like the Chinese to enter. And I know my colleagues can speak at some length about how in energy, telecomms, and other sectors we do exactly that. But if we're not there, then we can't we can't provide the guarantees you want.

1:05:35 James O'Brien: There are about $2.2 billion to go to both the energy supply and to the economic activity that's needed for Ukraine to begin to repair its access to the outside world. That's also important to us. When Russia invaded Ukraine, grain prices went up six times in many places around the world, because Ukraine is an incredibly important part of the global grain trade. The work that AID does to help Ukrainian farmers get their products to market, in the supplemental, the $100 million that is for demining will help farmers get their product to market. All of that directly benefits the markets in which our consumers are a part. So if we do all that, if we can get them to about pre-war export levels, that's an extra $6 billion a year in tax revenue just from the exports, as well as what the industries pay and what happens around the society. Now, Secretary Pritzker, and she should come and testify this herself, she's doing an outstanding job at building a strategy that lets us focus our efforts in key places, so that Ukraine's economy will begin to work and contribute to the global economy, even while this war is going on. All of that works together to make sure that Ukraine can succeed and has the leverage needed when we get to a negotiation, as Senator Paul wants.

1:13:55 Geoffrey R. Pyatt: So I would point out that the greatest threat to the energy grid today are the Shahed drones, which Russia is now beginning to industrialize the production of those. We can talk about that in a classified setting, but there is a direct Iran-Russia nexus in the attacks on Ukraine's energy system.

1:24:10 Geoffrey R. Pyatt: We are working as hard as we can to accelerate that trend. We do that through two mechanisms. One is by accelerating our energy transition, both here in the United States, but also globally, as the Biden administration has done through the Inflation Reduction Act to reduce the dependence on fossil fuels. But the other aspect of this is what we are doing systematically to reduce Russia's future energy revenue. Just last week, for instance, we leveled new sanctions against a project in the in the Arctic, Arctic LNG 2, which is Novatek's flagship LNG project, which Novatek set in motion with the aspiration of developing Russia as the largest LNG exporter in the world. Our objective is to kill that project, and we're doing that through our sanctions, working with our partners in the G7 and beyond.

1:26:00 James O'Brien: Russia is losing its lucrative markets. That's what got it rich enough to afford this war. It's losing out in the sectors of innovation that are going to drive economic development in the future. So we look at this and say, "Does it put pressure on Putin to get to the table?" Well, yes, it does. It's going to take a little time. He started the war with 640 billion in a rainy day fund. By the start of this year, despite record profits last year, he was down around 580, we immobilized 300 of that, and he spent down further from there. So that gives them a year, two years maybe, of run room on that rainy day fund that all came from selling oil and gas. So that's gone. The second thing is that we don't see Russia able to play in the sectors that are going to drive innovation and economic growth in the future. The areas of quantum mechanics, artificial intelligence, the energy transition, including the new nuclear technologies that are coming on board, and Senator Risch, your work on this I really appreciate, because Russia entangled countries in these long term networks of corruption, with generation-long Rosatom contracts. We're now competing for those again, and taking those sectors away from Russia. That changes the long term prospect from what it was. The result of all this is we anticipate that Russia's GDP is going to be at least 20% smaller by 2030 than it would be if Putin had not started this war. So it's a long term strategic loss for him, and it creates a great opportunity for us in a number of important sectors.

1:35:30 Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL): I understand, and this is not critical. I agree that we can't allow borders to be changed unilaterally and we have to stand with our allies. I'm not diminishing any of those things. But those arguments are too vague. They make sense here, but I'm just telling you they're too vague. This notion that we need to do whatever it takes for however long it takes, is also misguided. Not because that's not necessarily what we need to do, but because that's not going to be enough for people who are asking these questions. I would just say if you had an opportunity, any of you three, or all you three to talk to someone, say someone that came up to me a week ago and said, "Why are we still putting all this money in Ukraine. I hate Putin, I hate what he's done, but we've got all these other things domestically and in other parts of the world that are more important, including China, and now what's happening in the Middle East. How are we going to be spending $60 billion every six months? For how long? Given the debt that we already have?" What would you say to them? And how would you explain to them that this fits into their national interest in that perspective I've just outlined? James O'Brien: That's really well framed, Senator, so I'll do my best here. I think the first thing I'd say is you got to shore up your own base. If we're going to confront China over the next decades, it's 1.4 billion people, that's looking to write the rules that the world economy will run on. We go at them with a coalition of 50-odd countries, Europe is about 600-700 million of that, we're 350 million. With that already, we're set to compete really effectively. Ukraine, though, is a challenge by Putin trying to fray that foundation. So we have to shore that up if we're going to have the heft to compete with China over time. The battle over Ukraine also allows us to reinvigorate our own industrial base, we're creating new energy technologies and putting them in place around the world. We're building new defense technologies, the work that's being done in IT, all of that's included in this supplemental, and that's going to make us better able to defend Taiwan, to work in the South China Sea, than we have otherwise. The final point I'd make is, this is the wrong time to walk away because Ukraine's winning. It's already taken back half the territory Putin seized since February 2022. It opened up the Black Sea grain lanes that Putin tried to shut down in July, did that mostly with its own creativity around a whole set of interesting drones and other technologies that are going to contribute to our security as Ukraine gets closer to NATO. So those are all reasons you don't walk away when you're partway through the job.

1:41:10 Geoffrey R. Pyatt: Ukraine is not a charity case. In economic and development terms, it's an opportunity. Developing that opportunity depends on restoring a level of peace. But as we look to the future, you're going to have a Europe which has decoupled from Russian energy supplies, which means that there's a hole of about 130 BCM per year in energy supply that Europe is going to have to fill. Over the short term, some of that is American LNG, but that's a very expensive option. Ukraine has fantastic resources on wind, on solar, on biomass. It has Europe's second largest civil nuclear industry. It has developed and has demonstrated an extraordinary technological acuity. Just look at how clever Ukrainian soldiers have been in the application of drone technology. These are all the skill sets that Ukraine will need to prosper as a member of the European Union. My colleague, Assistant Administrator McKee, referred to the statement which European President Vanderlaan delivered today welcoming the significant progress that Ukraine has made on its reforms, and her and the Commission's determination to move ahead with Ukraine's accession to the European Union. And I would say as somebody who served as an American ambassador in the EU for six years, what Ukraine represents is a demographically young population, a population which is fantastically committed to the values of the European Union. Ukraine is the only place in the world where people have fought and died under the flag of the EU for the values that are represented in the European constitutions. So I think these are the investments in the leadership that Secretary Pritzker is providing to help our companies and companies around the world begin to make plans for the day after and to work with Ukrainians to keep pushing forward the reforms, which are fundamental to creating the environment where American energy companies, renewable energy companies can come into Ukraine, where we can use Ukraine to help to fill the huge challenges that our global supply chain faces. In the Soviet Union, Ukraine was the center of Soviet metallurgy, the center of Soviet petrochemicals industries, all of those latent skills are still there. You talked about nuclear, Ukraine has a company in Kharkiv, Turboatom, which is one of the few facilities in all of Europe that has the industrial capacity to produce the large steel enclosures that are part of building modern nuclear reactors. So I applaud your focus on this and I know I speak for all three of us and how systematically we're focused on trying to lay the foundation for that better future that the Ukrainian people so richly deserve.

1:53:55 James O'Brien: Ukraine has won back 50% of the territory Russia took since February of 2022. The second piece that's important: Putin is playing a waiting game, like many Muscovite rulers before him. So it's difficult to get a decisive battle. So what we need is what's in the supplemental that has the ability to fight this fight over some time, and we do see real success. So in the Black Sea, Russia attempted to stop Ukraine from exporting. In July, exports were down 2-2.5 million tons; they're already more than doubled, and expect to see them go up substantially more. That's because of what Ukraine has done with its technology and its new weapons systems, more of which would be provided by the supplemental.

F*** the EU: Alleged audio of US diplomat Victoria Nuland swearing

February 4, 2014
On Demand News on YouTube


  • Victoria Nuland, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, 2013-2017

  • Geoffrey Pyatt, United States Ambassador to Ukraine, 2013-2016


Victoria Nuland: Good. So I don’t think Klitsch [Vitali Klitschko] should go into the government. I don’t think it’s necessary, I don’t think it’s a good idea. Geoffrey Pyatt: Yeah, I mean I guess, in terms of him not going into the government, just sort of letting him stay out and do his political homework and stuff. I’m just thinking in terms of, sort of, the process moving ahead, we want to keep the moderate Democrats together. The problem is going to be Tyahnybok and his guys and I’m sure that’s part of what Yanukovych is calculating on all this. Victoria Nuland: I think Yatz [Arseniy Yatsenyuk] is the guy with the economic experience, the governing experience. He’s the guy. What he needs is Klitsch [Vitali Klitschko] And Tyahnybok On the outside, he needs to be talking to them four times a week. You know, I just think Klitsch [Vitali Klitschko] Going in he’s going to be at that level working for Yatsenyuk it’s just not gonna work. Geoffrey Pyatt: We want to get someone out here with an international personality to come out here and help to midwife this thing. And then the other issue is some kind of outreach to Yanukovych. We’ll probably regroup on that tomorrow as we see how things fall into place. Victoria Nuland: So on that piece, Jeff, I wrote the note, Sullivan’s come back to me saying “you need Biden,” and I said probably tomorrow for an attaboy and get the deets to stick, Biden’s willing. Geoffrey Pyatt: Great.

Senator John McCain on Ukraine

December 19, 2013
The Atlantic Council


  • John McCain, U.S. Senator from Arizona, 1987-2018


16:45 Sen. John McCain: If Ukraine’s political crisis persists or deepens, which is a real possibility, we must support creative Ukrainian efforts to resolve it. Senator Murphy and I heard a few such ideas last weekend—from holding early elections, as the opposition is now demanding, to the institution of a technocratic government with a mandate to make the difficult reforms required for Ukraine’s long-term economic health and sustainable development. Decisions such as these are for Ukrainians to make—no one else—and if they request our assistance, we should provide it where possible. Finally, we must encourage the European Union and the IMF to keep their doors open to Ukraine. Ultimately, the support of both institutions is indispensable for Ukraine’s future. And eventually, a Ukrainian President, either this one or a future one, will be prepared to accept the fundamental choice facing the country, which is this: While there are real short-term costs to the political and economic reforms required for IMF assistance and EU integration, and while President Putin will likely add to these costs by retaliating against Ukraine’s economy, the long-term benefits for Ukraine in taking these tough steps are far greater and almost limitless. This decision cannot be borne by one person alone in Ukraine. Nor should it be. It must be shared—both the risks and the rewards—by all Ukrainians, especially the opposition and business elite. It must also be shared by the EU, the IMF and the United States. All of us in the West should be prepared to help Ukraine, financially and otherwise, to overcome the short-term pain that reforms will require and Russia may inflict.

Beyond NAFTA and GATT

April 20, 1994
Southern Center for International Studies


  • Arthur Dunkel, Director-General of the World Trade Organization, 1980-1993


26:55 Arthur Dunkel: If I look back at the last 25 years, what did we have? We had two worlds: The so-called Market Economy world and the centrally planned world; the centrally planned world disappeared. One of the main challenges of the Uruguay round has been to create a world wide system. I think we have to think of that. Secondly, why a world wide system? Because, basically, I consider that if governments cooperate in trade policy field, you reduce the risks of tension – political tension and even worse than that."


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