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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) questioned John Sullivan, President Trump’s nominee to be the next ambassador of the United States to Russia. Barrasso pressed Sullivan on nuclear arms control treaties, European energy security and countering Russian influence and cyber security threats.

Sullivan, who serves as the U.S. deputy secretary of State, testified at today’s Senate Committee on Foreign Relations nomination hearing.

On Nuclear Arms Control Treaties:

“Congratulations, good to visit with you again.

“I know you’ve had a lengthy discussion about Russia’s new strategic nuclear weapons, and I wanted to just go back a bit to the New START Treaty, which I always believed was a one-sided agreement.

“I voted against it. I have major concerns about it, and to me, it was more about reducing the United States strategic nuclear forces but not Russia’s forces because that treaty required the United States and Russia to reduce our deployed nuclear war heads to numbers that Russia was already below.

“I thought it was one sided, unfair, and that we made significant reductions to get below the limit.

“So in future arms control negotiations with Russia, are you committed to ensuring that the United States isn’t entering into a one sided arms control agreement where we are a party required to make more reductions when Russia is not?”

Click here for video of Sen. Barrasso questioning Mr. Sullivan on nuclear arms control treaties.

On European Energy Security:

“One of the things that we discussed when you came to my office was the issue of Europe’s reliance on Russian energy, and Russia’s effort to addict Europe to their energy sources.

“Europe is trying to work on a number of initiatives to counter this influence.

“The European Union members at least have identified the risks associated with it, although, Germany is moving ahead with the pipeline to Nord Stream II.

“We look at some things that people are trying to do avoid this dependence. Lithuania, as we discussed, created that floating LNG terminal called the Independence.

“Efforts to increase interconnection, reverse flow capacities of European pipelines, you can see what they’re trying to do running up and down Montenegro and Croatia and that area.

“Despite these efforts it does seem clear that more needs to be done, especially in light of Russia’s efforts to build Nord Stream II.

“As we look at the steps our allies and partners in Europe can take to promote energy security, what efforts do you think need to be the top priorities here?”

Click here for video of Sen. Barrasso questioning Mr. Sullivan on European energy security.

On Countering Russian Influence and Cyber Security Threats:

“Russia, to me, continues to use economic instruments and propaganda to achieve its objectives and exert influence in Europe, and we see this when we travel in Europe and visit with our NATO allies.

“They try to influence and exert control over countries through a variety of means: military intimidation, energy dependence, cyber attacks, trade.

“Would you speak to what you see as Putin’s ultimate objective?

“What are the most effective tools and leverage points that we can use in trying to change Russian behavior?”

Click here for video of Sen. Barrasso questioning Mr. Sullivan on Russian influence and cyber security threats.