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Opening Statement of Taylor to House Committees on Intelligence, Foreign Affairs, and Oversight Whistleblower Complaint on Ukraine (Kelly Smith, comp.) 1 (10/22/2019)

handle is hein.presidents/usgvtwht0098 and id is 1 raw text is: 



   Opening  Statement of Ambassador   William  B. Taylor - October 22, 2019

Mr. Chairman, I appreciate the opportunity to appear today to provide my
perspective on the events that are the subject of the Committees' inquiry. My sole
purpose is to provide the Committees with my views about the strategic
importance of Ukraine to the United States as well as additional information about
the incidents in question.

I have dedicated my life to serving U.S. interests at home and abroad in both
military and civilian roles. My background and experience are nonpartisan and I
have been honored to serve under every administration, Republican and
Democratic, since 1985.

For 50 years, I have served the country, starting as a cadet at West Point, then as an
infantry officer for six years, including with the 101st Airborne Division in
Vietnam; then at the Department of Energy; then as a member of a Senate staff;
then at NATO; then with the State Department here and abroad-in Afghanistan,
Iraq, Jerusalem, and Ukraine; and more recently, as Executive Vice President of
the nonpartisan United States Institute of Peace.

While I have served in many places and in different capacities, I have a particular
interest in and respect for the importance of our country's relationship with
Ukraine. Our national security demands that this relationship remain strong.
However,  in August and September of this year, I became increasingly concerned
that our relationship with Ukraine was being fundamentally undermined by an
irregular, informal channel of U.S. policy-making and by the withholding of vital
security assistance for domestic political reasons. I hope my remarks today will
help the Committees understand why I believed that to be the case.

At the outset, I would like to convey several key points. First, Ukraine is a
strategic partner of the United States, important for the security of our country as
well as Europe. Second, Ukraine is, right at this moment-while we sit in this
room-and   for the last five years, under armed attack from Russia. Third, the
security assistance we provide is crucial to Ukraine's defense against Russian
aggression, and, more importantly, sends a signal to Ukrainians-and Russians-
that we are Ukraine's reliable strategic partner. And finally, as the Committees are
now  aware, I said on September 9 in a message to Ambassador Gordon Sondland
that withholding security assistance in exchange for help with a domestic political
campaign  in the United States would be crazy. I believed that then, and I still
believe that.


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