Install

Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

U.S. to Review Russia Relations

WASHINGTON -- U.S. lawmakers next month will examine the U.S.-Russia relationship in light of Moscow's military moves into neighboring Georgia, but no decisions have been made on whether legislation will be advanced, aides said.

The House of Representatives' committee on foreign affairs plans to hold an hearing in September that will attempt to probe whether Russia is embarking on a more muscular military stance in the world, or whether the new administration of President Dmitry Medvedev is getting off to a rocky start that could stabilize, according to a Democratic aide who asked not to be identified.

The hearing, which has not yet been scheduled, would solicit testimony from White House officials and private sector experts, according to the aide.

Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz, a Pennsylvania Democrat and congressional point person on Georgia, said it was hard to assess how much support there was for the $1 billion in aid to Georgia suggested by Senator Joseph Biden, a Delaware Democrat who has since been tapped as Barack Obama's vice presidential running mate.

"We're not in session at the moment," Schwartz said in a telephone interview from Denver. "Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi is very supportive."

"It's for humanitarian aid and economic aid, it's emergency assistance. Georgia has experienced a serious loss of infrastructure, road and bridges," Schwartz said.

Earlier this month, Moscow sent tanks and troops into Georgia and on Tuesday declared the breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia were now independent states. The moves have drawn rebukes from the Bush administration and European leaders.

The Russian military engagement led two House members to propose nonbinding legislation calling on the International Olympic Committee to revoke Russia's designation as host of the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi. It was not clear if a House floor vote on the measure will be scheduled.

The House aide would not detail other legislative steps that might be considered next month.

Meanwhile, U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney on Wednesday called Russia's actions in Georgia an "unjustified assault" and pledged to ensure the small U.S. ally's territorial integrity.

"We will work with our allies to ensure Georgia's territorial integrity as a free and independent nation," Cheney told a meeting of armed forces veterans in Phoenix, Arizona, ahead of his trip to the Georgian capital Tbilisi next week.

U.S. President George W. Bush has condemned Moscow's recognition of the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as an action that "only exacerbates tensions and complicates diplomatic negotiations."

Bush, who spoke with Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili on Tuesday night, was to receive an update on the conflict from U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Wednesday evening, White House spokesman Tony Fratto said.

"The Georgian people won their freedom after years of tyranny, and they can count on the friendship of the United States," Cheney said. "That young democracy has been subjected to an unjustified assault."

Fratto told reporters traveling with Bush to Washington from Texas that Russia knows where the United States stands. "I think Russia has gotten the message," he said.