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Helsinki Commission Hearing to Assess Russia’s Decade-Long Occupation of Georgia

WASHINGTON—The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the Helsinki Commission, today announced the following hearing:

RUSSIA’S OCCUPATION OF GEORGIA AND THE EROSION OF THE INTERNATIONAL ORDER
Tuesday, July 17, 2018
11:00 a.m.
Dirksen Senate Office Building
Room 124

Live Webcast: http://www.senate.gov/isvp/?type=live&comm=csce&filename=csce071718

In 2008—just months after a NATO summit in Bucharest where Georgia and Ukraine failed to secure a concrete roadmap to membership despite U.S. support—Russia invaded Georgia and seized South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Today, Russia’s occupation of one-fifth of Georgia’s sovereign territory remains a critical threat to U.S. interests and international security.

Moscow’s invasion of Georgia demonstrated the Kremlin’s willingness to use military force to unilaterally re-draw European borders and challenge the right of its neighbors to choose their own futures. The war in Georgia set the stage for Vladimir Putin’s subsequent war in Ukraine, including the illegal occupation of Crimea and the Donbas and the attempted annexation of Crimea.

The human costs of the Russian occupation of Georgia have been tragic. Tens of thousands of Georgians remain internally displaced and face arbitrary detention, mistreatment, and even death if they attempt to visit their property and communities across the Russian-imposed internal administrative boundary. De facto authorities have also worked to eliminate Georgian language and culture from South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

Ten years after the invasion and the fateful 2008 NATO Bucharest Summit, the Helsinki Commission will convene expert witnesses to assess the present state of the conflict and its implications for U.S. interests and international security. The hearing will explore the continued costs of the occupation, as well as steps U.S. policymakers can take to restore Georgia’s territorial integrity and advance its full integration into the Euro-Atlantic community.

Witnesses scheduled to testify include:

  • His Excellency David Bakradze, Ambassador of Georgia to the United States
  • Luke Coffey, Director of the Allison Center for Foreign Policy, Heritage Foundation
  • Damon Wilson, Executive Vice President, Atlantic Council

 

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