Opening statement of Marie L. Yovanovitch to House of Representatives permanent select committee on intelligence, committee on foreign affairs, and committee on oversight and reform, Oct. 11, 2019

Click here to access the opening statement >

An excerpt reads:

Corruption is a security issue as well, because corrupt officials are vulnerable to Moscow. In short, it is in our national security interest to help Ukraine transform into a country where the rule of law governs and corruption is held in check.

An additional excerpt reads:

Recent Ukrainian History

Ukraine is a sovereign country, whose borders are inviolate and whose people have the right to determine their own destiny. These are the bedrock principles of our policy. Because of Ukraine’s geostrategic position bordering Russia on its east, the warm waters of the oil-rich Black Sea to its south, and four NATO allies to its west, it is critical to the security of the United States that Ukraine remain free and democratic and that it continue to resist Russian expansionism.

Russia’s purported annexation of Crimea, its invasion of Eastern Ukraine, and its de facto control over the Sea of Azov, make clear Russia’s malign intentions towards Ukraine. If we allow Russia’s actions to stand, we will set a precedent that the United States will regret for decades to come.

‘Unfounded and false claims by people with clearly questionable motives’

An Oct. 11, 2019 Reuters article is entitled: “Abandoning diplomat’s discretion, ex-Ukraine ambassador takes Trump to task.”

An excerpt reads:

In her prepared testimony, Yovanovitch said the State Department had brought her back to Washington because of pressure from the White House that was based, in part, on disinformation spread by people including the president’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.

“Although I understand that I served at the pleasure of the President, I was nevertheless incredulous that the U.S. government chose to remove an Ambassador based, as best as I can tell, on unfounded and false claims by people with clearly questionable motives,” Yovanovitch said according to a copy of her prepared remarks published by the Washington Post.

She also said diplomats took risks to defend U.S. interests in part because of a belief that “our government will have our backs and protect us if we come under attack from foreign interests. That basic understanding no longer holds true.

“Today, we see the State Department attacked and hollowed out from within,” she added.

Previous posts about Ukraine and Russia

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The experience of warfare: Svetlana Alexievich

An Oct. 12, 2019 Guardian article is entitled: “Svetlana Alexievich: ‘Most children caught up in war die early’: The Nobel prize-winning author on using oral history to convey the horrors of war, her regard for Dostoevsky, and Greta Thunberg’s activism.”

An excerpt reads:

Svetlana Alexievich gave a lecture last week commemorating the work of murdered Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya. Alexievich’s book Last Witnesses: Unchildlike Stories was published in June in the UK, more than three decades after it first appeared in the USSR to critical acclaim. It is based on interviews with a Soviet generation that experienced the second world war as children and has lived ever since with trauma. In 2015 Alexievich, now 71, won the Nobel prize for literature. The committee praised “her polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time”. She lives in Minsk, Belarus, and is currently writing books about love and death.

Why are you in the UK?

I came because of Anna [Politkovskaya]. I loved and respected her so much. We met in 2005 at a prize ceremony in Oslo. There were many people there but Anna was somehow on her own, separate from the others. She was a person of extreme integrity bordering on fanaticism. We had a coffee, talked. There was one theme that united us: war. She was traumatised, at that point very close to a nervous breakdown, and full of pain and frustration. Anna was unhappy that she couldn’t explain the situation [in Chechnya]. She wasn’t able to make the west understand. She told me about the threats she was receiving. Her assassination [in 2006] came as a complete shock. I knew from our conversations that she was more or less prepared for this to happen. As a writer, I imagine what she was going through when she entered the lift of her apartment and the killer was there. It’s hard to imagine.

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