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06KIEV1036, UKRAINE: EURO-ATLANTIC INTEGRATION BEFORE AND

March 16, 2006

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06KIEV1036 2006-03-16 15:51 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv
VZCZCXRO1366
PP RUEHDBU
DE RUEHKV #1036/01 0751551
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 161551Z MAR 06
FM AMEMBASSY KIEV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8187
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 KIEV 001036 

SIPDIS 

SIPDIS 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/16/2016 
TAGS: MARR PREL NATO UP
SUBJECT: UKRAINE: EURO-ATLANTIC INTEGRATION BEFORE AND 
AFTER PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS 

REF: A. KIEV 903 
     B. KIEV 604 

Classified By: Charge d'Affaires, a.i., for reasons 1.4 (b,d). 

1. (C) Summary:  Various interlocutors assessed the prospects 
for Ukraine's drive toward NATO membership after the March 26 
parliamentary elections during visits to Kiev by EUR DAS 
David Kramer's March 13 and by Project for Transitional 
Democracies head Bruce Jackson March 4-8.  Deputy Foreign 
Minister Buteyko said NATO should grant MAP status to Ukraine 
at the April NATO ministerial in Sofia.  He argued that 
Ukrainian foreign policy would stay on course after the 
elections since the President was constitutionally 
responsible for foreign policy and, even under constitutional 
reform, he would select the Foreign and Defense Ministers. 
Others were not so sure.  Former Deputy Foreign Minister 
Oleksandr Chaly felt that only a coalition between the 
pro-presidential Our Ukraine bloc and Yuliya Tymoshenko bloc 
(BYuT) would maintain the same pace toward NATO membership. 
Defense Minister Hrytsenko suggested the best outcome would 
be a "grand coalition" uniting the "Orange team" with the 
"Blue" Party of Regions.  Former Foreign Minister Zlenko, 
however, argued that the leadership within any coalition, 
whether Our Ukraine's or Regions', would determine whether a 
grand, or any other, coalition was a plus for Euro-Atlantic 
integration; BYuT foreign policy adviser Nemyrya opined that 
a grand coalition would not actively support NATO membership. 
 DefMin Hrytsenko said that NATO could better demonstrate the 
concrete benefits of joining the alliance and suggested that 
funding of a project to destroy "melange" rocket fuel would 
have a positive public relations impact.  Foreign Ministry 
officials were regularly visiting regional towns and cities 
as part of a NATO education campaign.  End summary. 

2. (U) At Charge's March 13 dinner in DAS Kramer's honor, 
attendees included former Foreign Ministers Kostyantin 
Hryshchenko and Anatoly Zlenko, Party of Regions foreign 
policy adviser Leonid Kozhara, Bloc Yuliya Tymoshenko (BYuT) 
foreign policy adviser Hyrhoriy Nemyrya, and former SBU Chief 
Ihor Smeshko.  They exchanged opinions on Ukraine's likely 
Euro-Atlantic integration policy after the March 26 
parliamentery elections.  Earlier, during a March 4-8 visit 
to Kiev of Bruce Jackson, we also heard various views during 
meetings with a range of figures, including Defense Minister 
Anatoliy Hrytsenko, Deputy Foreign Minister Anton Buteyko, 
National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) Deputy Secretary 
Serhiy Pyrozhkov, and former Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly 
Hayduk.  Washington-based foreign policy and national 
security analyst Randy Scheunemann, who arrived the afternoon 
of March 7, joined Jackson for the meeting with Hrytsenko. 
Views on NATO were also exchanged during NATO Liaison Officer 
Director Jim Greene's March 7 dinner in honor of Jackson and 
Scheunemann with Deputy DefMin Leonid Polyakov and directors 
and deputy directors from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 
Ministry of Economy, Cabinet of Ministers, and Presidential 
Administration. 

MAP in April, please 
-------------------- 

3. (C) In a March 6 meeting with Jackson, DFM Buteyko argued 
for a formal decision on a NATO Membership Action Plan (MAP) 
at the April 27 meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers in Sofia. 
He had made the rounds of NATO capitals with a letter from 
President Yushchenko containing this suggestion; Foreign 
Minister Tarasyuk went to Washington March 9-10 carrying a 
revised President Yushchenko letter that contained this point 
and other bilateral issues.  Buteyko emphasized that 
Ukraine's relationship with NATO should continue to be 
conducted on a "business-as-usual" basis even during the 
run-up to the March 26 parliamentary elections.  There was no 
question that the elections would be free and fair.  As a 
political party leader (deputy leader of the solidly Orange 
Ukrainian People's Party), he could attest to the immense 
difference between the current campaign and the 2004 
presidential campaign. 

4. (C) Buteyko said he understood that NATO members wanted to 
see how the parliamentary elections would be conducted and 
whether a pro-European majority would emerge.  Buteyko said 
he was positive the next parliament would be led by 
pro-presidential, "Orange Team" forces.  Even if Party of 
Regions and former Prime Minister Yanukovych were to hold 
sway, powerful forces in Parliament would ensure a pro-NATO 
momentum.  The elections would reform a parliamentary 
structure that had been created to cement ex-President 
Kuchma's hold on power.  Fringe parties excepted, there was 
broad agreement, even in Bloc Yuliya Tymoshenko and the 
opposition Party of Regions, on the Ukrainian government's 

KIEV 00001036  002 OF 004 

foreign policy.  Buteyko assured Jackson that any variety of 
parliamentary coalitions would preserve Ukraine's 
Euro-Atlantic momentum.  Yushchenko would still be president 
and, even with constitutional reform, he controlled the 
nominations for Foreign and Defense Minister.  Economic &
#x000A;policy might change, but not foreign policy, Buteyko averred. 

5. (C) Jackson questioned the timing of the Ukrainian push 
for a MAP decision in Sofia.  He said NATO allies had already 
decided not to make any decision on enlargement in Sofia. 
With uncertainty over the details of Ukraine's natural gas 
deal with Russia, NATO members were unlikely to rush to 
judgment regarding Ukraine's qualifications, and the U.S. 
Mission to NATO was unlikely to push a decision in this 
context.  Jackson advised Buteyko to be patient and wait 
until the Defense Ministerial in June, which would still 
permit Ukraine to have two full MAP cycles (which start in 
September) before NATO's enlargement summit in 2008.  Buteyko 
responded that a NATO MAP decision would be perceived as the 
regional community's positive judgment of the new government 
and would serve to energize the Ukrainian bureaucracy. 
(Note:  NATO Liaison Office's Greene observed to us that the 
MFA push for an April decision might have more to do with the 
MFA bureaucracy's desire to have the Foreign Minister be the 
one to bring MAP to Ukraine from the April summit rather than 
allowing the Defense Minister to do so in June.) 

On the Other Hand 
----------------- 

6. (C) In making his case, Buteyko conceded that the level of 
political support for NATO membership was low.  He said that, 
of the 45 blocs and political parties contesting the 
parliamentary elections, only the platform for his bloc, the 
Ukrainian People's Bloc of Kostenko and Plyushch (note: 
Buteyko is number 19 on the bloc's list of parliamentary 
candidates), unequivocally describes NATO membership as a 
Ukrainian objective.  The Our Ukraine bloc only mentions a 
European course, while the pro-European PORA-Reforms and 
Order Party bloc and the Socialist Party make no mention of 
Euro-Atlantic integration or NATO membership.  Buteyko said 
the political parties were generally shying away from the 
issue of NATO membership due to the fact that only 30 percent 
of the Ukrainian public supported it.  On the opposition 
side, however, the Ne Tak bloc was actively pushing a 
referendum on NATO membership and exploiting NATO as a 
political issue (note:  as is Vitrenko's People's Opposition 
bloc and, at times, Regions). 

7. (C) Former Deputy Foreign Minister Oleksandr Chaly 
accentuated the negative prospects for NATO membership in his 
meeting with Jackson later on March 6.  Chaly, who personally 
advocates neutrality for Ukraine along a Swedish model, said 
the Rada (parliament) would determine the mandate for 
Ukraine's foreign policy and that this mandate would depend 
on the shape of the Rada's governing coalition.  The best 
possibility for Euro-Atlantic integration would develop from 
a coalition between pro-Yushchenko Our Ukraine bloc and BYuT. 
 Any other coalition was likely to maintain the same policy 
line, but would not actively move toward NATO.  There was a 
real possibility that the Ne Tak bloc, which includes the 
Social Democratic Party of Ukraine (united) SDPU(o), might be 
able to realize its initiative for a NATO referendum in the 
next half year.  SDPU(o) had collected the requisite number 
of signatures.  Now the Central Election Commission needed to 
review the petition, after which the Rada needed to pass a 
resolution endorsing the referendum. 

8. (C) At Greene's dinner, Deputy DefMin Polyakov told 
Jackson that, while Ukraine's Euro-Atlantic course would be 
maintained, the shape of a parliamentary coalition would 
determine whether progress toward NATO would be faster or 
slower.  In a March 8 meeting, DefMin Hrytsenko said the best 
post-election possibility for a vigorous Euro-Atlantic 
integration policy lay in a "grand coalition" of Our Ukraine 
bloc, BYuT, and Party of Regions.  Any other grouping, he 
suggested, controlling only about 230 votes, would not be 
effective, since such a coalition would need a very high 
degree of unity to maintain its control. 

9. (C) BYuT's Nemyrya told Kramer, however, that such a grand 
coalition, which was more than a hypothetical possibility, 
would return Ukraine's NATO policy to the situation existing 
in 2000-2002 (i.e., when the government paid lip-service to 
the goal of NATO membership but made no real effort to 
achieve it).  He asserted that foreign policy would be a 
victim to the difference in grand coalition partners' 
strategic visions and that such a grouping would "be an 
amalgam, not a coalition."  Foreign policy analyst Oleksandr 
Sushko said an "Orange Team" coalition, if it included the 

KIEV 00001036  003 OF 004 

Socialist Party, would also be an "amalgam."  Zlenko noted 
that, even in government, the Socialists had been 
unequivocally opposed to NATO membership (note:  the 
Socialist Party's formal position is in favor of Partnership 
for Peace cooperation, but remaining neutral without joining 
any alliances).  Ukraine post-election foreign policy would 
depend on whether the Our Ukraine bloc or Party of Regions 
exercised leadership within a grand, or other, coalition. 

The Ukrainian Mood 
------------------ 

10. (C) At Charge's dinner for DAS Kramer, Party of Regions 
foreign policy adviser Kozhara said ironically that he would 
prefer NATO provide MAP to Ukraine before the parliamentary 
elections because such a step would cause the Our Ukraine 
bloc to lose some electoral support to Regions.  Regions was 
not opposed to NATO membership, he claimed, but preferred to 
cooperate with NATO to enhance mutual security, for example, 
in the Mediterranean and Black Seas, and in the conduct of 
military exchanges and exercises.  With only 16-17 percent of 
Ukrainians favoring NATO membership, Ukraine was not yet 
ready to join the alliance.  BYuT's Nemyrya rebutted 
Kozhara's claim, asserting that support for NATO membership 
would be political suicide for Regions' leader Viktor 
Yanukovych 

11. (C) At the same dinner, ex-Foreign Minister Zlenko 
declared the Ukrainian government faced a serious public 
relations problem with NATO membership, support for which had 
once stood as high as 40 percent, but now at 16 percent.  The 
parliamentary election campaign had polarized the public on 
the issue, with more against than for.  Zlenko and 
Hryshchenko both argued the Ukrainian government needed to 
demonstrate the concrete benefits of NATO membership.  Zlenko 
said, early on, NATO had take positive steps such as by 
destroying land mines, but the current emphasis on military 
reform and joint exercises did not resonate with the 
Ukrainian public.  After the elections, the Rada had the 
potential of improving public opinion toward NATO if the 
institution took a strong stance in favor of NATO membership. 
 Hryshchenko said the Ukrainian public was interested first 
and foremost in bread-and-butter issues.  The Ukrainian 
government should package NATO membership as part of its 
drive toward achieving European social and economic 
standards.
  He said, after the elections, the choice of prime 
minister would be critical, since he or she would represent 
the majority voice within parliament. 

12. (U) Note:  When the Razumkov Center asked 2009 
respondents December 20-27, 2005, "would you vote for or 
against NATO membership should the referendum be held today," 
61.4 percent responded that they would vote against, 16 
percent would vote in favor, 17.9 percent were undecided, and 
4.7 percent would refuse to participate in a referendum. 
Poll numbers on NATO membership vary widely depending on the 
specific wording of the question. 

In the Hustings 
--------------- 

13. (C) MFA NATO Directorate Deputy Director Vladyslav 
Yasnyuk told Jackson that, as part of the NATO education 
campaign, he visited regional towns and cities on an average 
of two days per week.  MFA's education effort was directed 
toward four principal audiences.  First, MFA officials 
attempted to inform security specialists and journalists, 
providing them with arguments and background that could be 
used to frame and inform the debate over NATO membership. 
Second, MFA officials met with local government officials to 
brief them on central government security policy and policy 
toward NATO.  Third, MFA officials met with students, 70 
percent of whom supported NATO membership.  Finally, MFA 
attempted to educate the general public, who had a low level 
of knowledge and awareness of NATO.  While about two-thirds 
of the public were opposed to NATO membership or undecided, 
Yasniuk said hostility toward NATO was not strong.  The 
Ukrainian public, however, generally preferred that Ukraine 
remain a neutral country.  Many Ukrainians did not want their 
country to be militarily aligned with either NATO or Russia. 

14. (C) Buteyko related an incident demonstrating that a NATO 
education campaign could make rapid gains.  He said that he, 
Defense Minister Hrytsenko, and presidential adviser Horbulin 
had appeared on a 1 1/2 hour television program.  At the 
start of the program, 38 percent of program viewers were in 
favor of NATO membership and 62 percent were against. 
Buteyko said that, at the end of the program, the NATO 
support level had risen ten percent among those who had seen 
the broadcast. 

KIEV 00001036  004 OF 004 

Melange Rocket Fuel 
------------------- 

15. (C) DefMin Hrytsenko told Jackson a NATO education 
campaign had to overcome various myths about the consequences 
of NATO membership (e.g., that NATO membership would lead to 
the stationing of nuclear weapons in Ukraine, result in the 
basing of NATO troops on Ukrainian soil, cause Ukraine to 
become involved in every NATO military operation, and weaken 
Ukraine's military-industrial complex).  In addition, the 
public needed to be informed as to how NATO membership would 
concretely benefit Ukrainians.  As it stood, the Ukrainian 
public did not understand why the Ukrainian government was 
footing the bill to transport Organization of African Unity 
peacekeeping forces to Darfur, Sudan. 

16. (SBU) With both DAS Kramer and Jackson, Hrytsenko urged 
the USG to consider funding the elimination of stores of 
melange rocket fuel, which posed an environmental and safety 
threat to Ukraine.  In the meeting with Jackson, Hrytsenko 
argured that rather than elimination of TU-22 Backfire 
Bombers, which created some controversy, the Ukrainian public 
would be very favorably impressed by Nunn-Lugar funding to 
dispose of the rocket fuel.  Hrytsenko said he had been 
surprised to hear that the U.S. Defense Department opposed 
USG funding for such an effort.  Scheunemann agreed that 
rocket fuel elimination could fall within the scope of the 
Nunn-Lugar program and promised to investigate further upon 
his return to the U.S. 

17. (U) DAS Kramer did not have an opportunity to clear this 
message. 

18. (U) Visit Embassy Kiev's classified website: 
www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/kiev. 
Gwaltney

 

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