WASHINGTON—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today made the following statement:

“This week marks 10 years since the Russia-Georgia conflict of 2008, when Russia illegally occupied Ossetia and South Abkhazia using military force. Today, Russian-backed forces continue to flout international law, taking more Georgian territory bit by bit in the dead of night—pushing the border with new checkpoints and barbed-wire fences—all in violation of the peace agreement.

“This continued aggression, along with a range of other harmful activities, signals clearly that President Putin has not demonstrated any real interest in improved relations with the United States. Not only must the Kremlin halt its subversion of our democracy and that of our allies, but it must return the land it has taken since hostilities ended in 2008.

“But that’s just a starting point. Russia must also put an end to its illegal occupation of Crimea, its aggression in eastern Ukraine, and the use of chemical weapons to murder its critics.  U.S.-Russia relations cannot improve so long as Russia continues to violate international agreements and ignore the sovereignty of independent countries, whether Georgia or elsewhere.”

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