Washington, D.C. – Today, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed legislation promoting the territorial integrity of Georgia, a strong U.S. partner.  Introduced by Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX), H. Res. 660 condemns Russia’s military intervention and occupation of Georgia and calls on Russia to stop undermining Georgia’s sovereignty.

On the House floor last night, Chairman Royce delivered the following remarks in support of the resolution:

“Since it regained its independence back in 1991 with the collapse of the Soviet empire at the time, Georgia has repeatedly proven that it indeed is a strong partner of the United States.

But Russian President Vladimir Putin is trying to sever our connection in order to reestablish Russia’s domination over Georgia.  That’s part of the problem here.

And ever since he came to power in 2000, President Putin has pursued an aggressive policy toward Georgia that has included economic coercion, and armed conflict, and occupation of the regions of Abkhazia and of South Ossetia.

This is similar to his ongoing campaign frankly against Ukraine, where Russia has annexed Crimea outright.

President Putin has these territorial ambitions in Georgia as well, and is promoting separatist forces in Abkhazia and in South Ossetia with the ultimate goal of annexing those regions outright or in all but name.  In fact, Russia has already formally recognized these two regions as independent countries.

As part of that effort, Russia is using its enormous propaganda machine to convince the Georgian people that the U.S. and the West have abandoned them and that they have no option but to submit to Moscow – to submit to its imperial ambitions.

This strategy will soon be put to the test in Georgia’s parliamentary elections on October 8th. Moscow is hoping that its campaign of disinformation will convince the Georgian people that they are alone and helpless and that they must give up close ties with the West or that they will face greater hardship.  Our broadcasts through Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty should be an important counter to this harmful propaganda.

By voting overwhelmingly for this resolution, the House will send a powerful message that will be heard not only throughout Georgia but in the Kremlin as well; and that message is: the United States will not accept Russia’s efforts to undermine Georgia’s sovereignty and their territorial integrity, and that we will always remain a strong partner of this embattled democracy and of the brave Georgian people.”