WATCH: House Oversight hearing on defending U.S. allies against Russia in Eastern Europe

A feared Russian invasion of Ukraine did not materialize on Wednesday, but the United States and its allies maintain that the threat remains strong, with Europe’s security and economic stability in the balance.

Watch the hearing in the player above.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signaled he wants a peaceful path out of the crisis, and U.S. President Joe Biden promised that the U.S. would continue to give diplomacy “every chance,” but he struck a skeptical tone about Moscow’s intentions.

Biden also insisted that Washington and its allies would not “sacrifice basic principles” respecting Ukraine sovereignty.

“Putin has continued to march forward on a much larger, destabilizing agenda of undermining democracy in his neighborhood,” Sanford University Professor Michael McFaul, told the U.S. House Oversight Subcommittee on National Security, Wednesday.

Adding, “Democratic expansion, not NATO expansion, threatened Putin and his autocratic regime,” he said.

Authorities before the subcommittee on Russia and Eastern Europe gave testimony on the importance of the Ukraine – Russia situation, as well as defending the international order that has helped to promote peace and security in Europe since the end of World War II.

“This is the riskiest thing that Putin has done in his 22 years in power,” said Dr. Andrea Kendall-Taylor, Director, Transatlantic Security Program Center for a New American Security.

“There is ample room for him to miscalculate as highly personalist authoritarian leaders are prone to doing, and including in ways that could destabilize him domestically. And so, it’s up to the United States and its allies to respond strongly and decisively to any escalation so that we’re sure that that external pressure that Putin faces is punishing.”

While U.S. officials have stated that a Russian invasion of Ukraine could begin “at any time,” President Biden and his Administration remain engaged in an intensive diplomatic effort to support our Ukrainian allies, reassure our NATO partners, and make clear to President Putin that Russia will pay a heavy price for any further aggression against Ukraine.

Russia has massed about 150,000 troops east, north and south of Ukraine, according to Western estimates. Moscow denies it has any plans to invade, and this week announced a pullback of some forces and weapons.

While details are scarce and the withdrawal is only partial, the Russian statements have lowered the political temperature following weeks of escalating tensions.