Yesterday, before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Daniel Fried testified on U.S.-Russia relations in the aftermath of the Georgia crisis. We know DipNote's readers are interested in the subject and thought you would want to read what Assistant Secretary Fried said:
"Chairman Berman, Ranking Member Ros-Lehtinen, Members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to discuss with you today the implications of Russia’s attack on Georgia.
On June 18, in testimony before this Committee, I outlined a series of examples of increasing Russian pressure on Georgia and expressed concern that these activities risked igniting a wider conflict.
Today, with regret, I must report to you that these concerns have been realized. Russia's intensified pressure and provocations against Georgia -- combined with a serious Georgian miscalculation -- have resulted not only in armed conflict, but in an ongoing Russian attempt to dismember that country.
The causes of this conflict -- particularly the dispute between Georgia and its breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia -- are complex, and all sides made mistakes and miscalculations. But key facts are clear: Russia sent its army across an internationally recognized boundary, to attempt to change by force the borders of a country with a democratically-elected government and, if possible, overthrow that government -- not to relieve humanitarian pressures on Russian citizens, as it claimed.
This is the first time since the breakup of the Soviet Union that Moscow has sent its military across an international frontier in such circumstances, and this is Moscow's first attempt to change the borders that emerged from the breakup of the Soviet Union. This is a troubling and dangerous act.
Today I will seek to explain how we got here, how we're responding, and the implications for our relationship with Russia."
Read the continuation of Assistant Secretary Fried's statement.