Washington, Feb 25: Accusing Russia of "lying" about its activities in Ukraine, US Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday said Moscow is engaged in the most overt and extensive propaganda exercise since the very height of the Cold War.
Asked if Russia is lying when it says that there are no Russian weapons or troops in the Ukraine, Kerry replied in the affirmative.
"Yes," Kerry said when asked by Senator Thad Cochran: "Do you agree with me that when Russia says there are no Russian weapons or troops in the Ukraine, they're lying?" On being asked why do they lie, Kerry said, "You're asking me?" to peals of laughter.
"Russia has engaged in a rather remarkable period of the most overt and extensive propaganda exercise that I've seen since the very height of the Cold War," Kerry alleged. "They have been persisting in their misrepresentations -- lies -- whatever you want to call them -- about their activities there to my face, to the face of others, on many different occasions," he said.
"So, we can all collectively say that the Russian leadership lied when it comes to their behaviour in the Ukraine. Do you agree with me that the Russian dismemberment of the Ukraine has trampled the Budapest Memorandum?" Cochran asked. "Yes. It has, essentially," Kerry replied.
During the hearing, Senators urged the Obama Administration to arm the Ukrainians. "It is time for some more serious defensive arms to the Ukrainians. I think that the Russians at this point have proven that they are immune to other forms of influence," Senator Chris Murphy said.
Kerry said Russia is engaged in a massive effort to sway nations
"As a last resort, the United States now needs to stand up the Ukrainian army to a degree which significantly challenges the military calculation inside Russia. But I think that this very narrow debate over whether or not we arm the Ukrainians has obscured the larger project that we have ahead of us.
Which is that what we're seeing in Ukraine is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Russia's influence in the region," he said.
Kerry said Russia is engaged in a massive effort to sway nations. "How they present things and the lies about their presence in Ukraine and the training it's stunning. But it has an impact in places where it is encountered," he said.
"What we're trying to work towards, but we all need to be prepared to step up and be there economically for Ukraine as they reform and try to implement their dream and vision.
It's not good enough to have Poroshenko come here and get 40 standing ovations and then not step up and deliver what it's really going to take to help him create the democracy he wants to create," the Secretary of State added.