The Foreign Press Centers’ Ukraine and Russia Series provides foreign journalists with background, context, and detailed information on the U.S. government’s response to the Russian Federation’s unprovoked and unjustified war against Ukraine as well as the views of senior U.S. government officials and U.S. experts on Russian disinformation.
October 11, 2022, following Russia’s illegal annexation of parts of Ukraine, and Russia’s veto of a UN Security Council resolution condemning its sham referenda, Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield discusses how the United States is continuing to pursue accountability at the United Nations in the General Assembly.
On September 16,2022 research experts from the Yale School of Public Health’s Humanitarian Research Lab (Yale HRL) discussed recent research and evidence of Russia–perpetrated attacks on food storage facilities in Ukraine. A link to the report can be found at ConflictObservatory.org.
Experts from Yale University, Human Rights Watch, and the Ukrainian NGO Media Initiative for Human Rights (MIHR) joined the FPC on September 15, 2022, to discuss updated information on Russian Filtration Operations and the human impact they have in Ukraine.
After months of negotiation, the UN helped broker a deal between Ukraine, Russia, and Turkey that enabled the resumption of Ukrainian grain exports through the Black Sea. In just one month of operation, this deal has facilitated over 100 ships safely crossing the Black Sea, shipping over 2 million metric tons of agricultural exports to global markets. The deal is a marked success already and has concretely improved global food security, lowering prices, stabilizing markets, and increasing availability. In the coming weeks and months, we expect to see even greater benefits for global food security from the Initiative as commercial shipping in the Black Sea continues to scale up. On September 09, 2022, the DCFPC hosted Ambassador Jim O’Brien to brief on these topics. Ambassador Jim O’Brien is the head of the Office of Sanctions Coordination since April 2022. Ambassador O’Brien has decades of foreign policy experience, having held senior position at the Department and the private sector. The Office of Sanctions Coordination oversees work on sanctions and further strengthens cooperation with allies and partners in the use of this critical tool. It promotes accountability for corruption and human rights abuse and deters and disrupts activities that threaten U.S. national security.
August 30, 2022, U.S. lead negotiator for a UN Cybercrime Treaty, retired Ambassador. Deborah McCarthy reviews progress made on the Cybercrime Treaty negotiations taking place the last week of August. Amb. McCarthy is joined on the panel by Andrea Martin-Swaby, Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions and Head of Jamaica’s Cybercrimes and Digital Forensics Unit, and Mr. Terlumun George-Maria Tyendezwa (Nigeria), Vice-Chair of the Ad Hoc Committee to Elaborate a Comprehensive International Convention on Countering the Use of Information and Communications Technologies for Criminal Purposes. The United States, along with key multilateral partners, is playing a pivotal role in working with other UN Member States and stakeholders to draft a global instrument focused on improving the investigation and prosecution of cybercrime. The three briefers highlight the importance of maintaining an open, inclusive, transparent, and multi-stakeholder process that will encourage all Member States to commit to a new global anti-cybercrime instrument.
On August 19, 2022, the DCFPC hosted a briefing with USAID Deputy Administrator for Police and Programming Isobel Coleman and the State Department’s Head of the Office of Sanctions Coordination Ambassador Jim O’Brien which focused on U.S. efforts to alleviate global food insecurity through the purchase and shipment of Ukrainian wheat. After months of negotiation the UN helped broker a deal between Ukraine, Russia, and Turkey that enabled the resumption of Ukrainian grain exports through the Black Sea. USAID Administrator Samantha Power announced that the United States, through the U.S. Agency for International Development, is providing over $68 million in additional funding to the UN World Food Program (WFP) to purchase, move, and store up to 150,000 metric tons of Ukrainian wheat to help respond to the global food crisis. This sum represents the latest in more than $5.4 billion in humanitarian contributions from the United States this fiscal year.
On August 12, 2022, the Washington Foreign Press Center hosted a background briefing on Russia’s attempted annexation of parts of Ukraine with a senior government official. The senior government official provided new information on Russia’s attempts to legitimize its malign actions in Ukraine through planning “sham referendums.” They also discussed recent opinion polls that clearly demonstrate that the Ukrainian people do not want to join Russia, disproving Russian propaganda on this topic.
On August 10, 2022, the Washington Foreign Press Center hosted an on-the-record hybrid briefing on The Economic Impact of Sanctions on Russia with Yale Professors Jeffrey Sonnenfeld and Steven Tian. Professors Sonnenfeld and Tian’s briefed on their research, including the Foreign Policy article “Actually, the Russian Economy Is Imploding,” which has received extensive coverage in recent weeks. Participants asked about energy shortages in Europe, access to information in Russia, budget deficits, and the long term economic impacts of sanctions.
On July 13, 2022, Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Molly Montgomery, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic and Business Affairs Erik Woodhouse, and Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Security and Nonproliferation Affairs Gonzalo Suarez discussed the sanctions the United States has imposed on the Russian Federation, in close coordination with Allies and partners, on account of Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified war on Ukraine. DAS Montgomery is responsible for U.S. relations with Western Europe and the European Union. DAS Woodhouse is responsible for counter threat finance and sanctions. Acting DAS Suarez oversees ISN’s counterproliferation efforts in the areas of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) and dual-use technologies.
On July 7, 2022, the Washington FPC hosted an on-the-record, in-person briefing with Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Douglas D. Jones, where he discussed key outcomes from the Madrid Summit and next steps with Ukraine and Russia. Deputy Assistant Secretary Jones answered questions about the PRC as a strategic threat to NATO, force posture deployments, security challenges from the south, prospects for Georgian membership, holding Russia accountable for stealing Ukrainian grain, and broader security for non-NATO members in the Caucasus.
In this on-the-record, hybrid briefing on June 15, 2022, Ambassador-at-Large for Global Criminal Justice (GCJ) Beth Van Schaack briefed foreign media on war crimes and accountability in Ukraine and discussed U.S. policy and efforts to hold the Russian Federation accountable for these crimes.
On June 8, 2022 Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs Karen Donfried provided a 45-minute, on-the-record, live streamed briefing on U.S. policy on Russia and Ukraine and the big picture of our relationship with Europe as the NATO Summit approaches. Journalists posed questions regarding the U.S.-NATO alliance, the impact of the war on global food security, and European unity, among others
Since 2019, the number of people facing acute food insecurity has more than doubled, driven by COVID-related supply shocks and climate impacts, and exacerbated by regional conflicts. On May 16, 2022, Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield discussed why, for a second time, she will bring a spotlight to rising global food insecurity during the United States’ rotating presidency of the UN Security Council. Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield previews a Ministerial Summit on May 18 convened by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, as well as a May 19 Security Council Open Debate called by the United States. She additionally previews other events happening during the U.S.-led Days of Action on Global Food Security. These Days of Action aim to rally the world to take steps to bolster food supply chains and mitigate the worst impacts of the global food security crisis.
This April 29, 2022, briefing discusses the work of the partnership between Smithsonian’s Cultural Rescue Initiative (SCRI) and the Cultural Heritage Monitoring Lab (CHML) at the Virginia Museum of Natural History, as they race to help Ukraine protect its national treasures threatened by the conflict. The CHML/SCRI team of archaeologists, historians, and high-tech mapping experts are monitoring over 26,000 cultural heritage sites in Ukraine, using satellite imagery to help protect heritage sites, alert Ukrainian officials to damage, and help officials track attacks. This effort began in April 2021, and it employs a combination of remote sensing, open-source research, and satellite imagery tasking to gather evidence of cultural heritage damage. The partners have released an impact report, which provides a summary of potential impacts to cultural heritage sites following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The initiative is supported by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
This briefing, which took place on April 27, 2022, unpacks the Russia-China disinformation nexus, with a focus on the Global South, as well as the countries’ increasing information warfare campaigns, within the context of Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine.
Anne Neuberger, Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor for Cyber and Emerging Technology, traveled to New York City on April 19, 2022, to continue the Biden-Harris Administration’s engagement with international partners on responsible state behavior in cyberspace. She met with various government and UN officials to discuss norms of responsible state behavior, opportunities to enhance shared cybersecurity capacity to address threats, and Russia’s use of malicious cyber activity in support of its unjustified war in Ukraine. Her trip builds on the Biden Administration’s ongoing work to build international cooperation to address cyber threats. This press briefing serves as a readout of her engagements.
On April 7, 2022, in this on-the-record telephonic briefing Assistant Secretary for Economic and Business Affairs Ramin Toloui discusses global food security in light of the Russian Federation’s invasion of Ukraine and the steps the U.S. government is taking to address the issue.
In this on background briefing on March 18, 2022, senior State Department officials discussed the sanctions the United States has implemented against the Russian Federation for its premeditated and unprovoked war against Ukraine and the close U.S. coordination with our Allies and partners on those sanctions.
On Thursday, March 3, 2022, the FPC hosted an in-person, on-the-record briefing for selected Russian media, where Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs (EUR) Christopher Robinson provided an overview of current U.S. policy on President Putin’s premeditated and unprovoked attack on Ukraine.
On January 24, 2022, Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield discusses the United States’ intensive diplomatic engagement with Ukraine, Russia, our partners, and allies, as it seeks to avert a crisis of peace and security, not just for Ukraine and Europe, but for every UN Member State.
In this background telephonic briefing on January 22, 2022, two senior State Department officials provide a brief overview of the Russia-Ukraine situation, including U.S. diplomatic efforts with Allies and partners, and discuss Russian disinformation in the context of ongoing U.S. efforts to deter further aggression against Ukraine.