Skip to content

06KIEV2590, UKRAINE: ACTING NSDC SECRETARY ON ENERGY, RUSSIA

July 5, 2006

WikiLeaks Link

To understand the justification used for the classification of each cable, please use this WikiSource article as reference.
Discussing cables
If you find meaningful or important information in a cable, please link directly to its unique reference number. Linking to a specific paragraph in the body of a cable is also possible by copying the appropriate link (to be found at theparagraph symbol).Please mark messages for social networking services like Twitter with the hash tags #cablegate and a hash containing the reference ID e.g. #06KIEV2590.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06KIEV2590 2006-07-05 15:18 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv
VZCZCXRO9518
PP RUEHDBU
DE RUEHKV #2590/01 1861518
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 051518Z JUL 06
FM AMEMBASSY KIEV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0280
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 KIEV 002590 

SIPDIS 

SIPDIS 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/03/2016 
TAGS: PREL ENRG EPET ETRD MARR PGOV NATO RS UP
SUBJECT: UKRAINE: ACTING NSDC SECRETARY ON ENERGY, RUSSIA 
RELATIONS, NATO 

REF: A. KIEV 400 

     B. KIEV 57 

Classified By: Ambassador for reasons 1.4 (b,d). 

1. (C) Summary:  In a free-wheeling conversation during 
Ambassador's July 3 introductory call, Acting National 
Security and Defense Council (NSDC) Secretary Volodomyr 
Horbulin focused on Russia and Russia's manifold impact on 
Ukraine.  In contrast to its obvious behavior during the 2004 
presidential election, the Kremlin had shrewdly and subtly 
worked to influence Ukraine's domestic political situation 
through the Russian language media and surrogates such as 
Nataliya Vitrenko and the "Ne Tak" bloc.  The controversy in 
Feodosiya surrounding the arrival of U.S. military reservists 
had been one result.  Despite Feodosiya, Horbulin declared 
the Ukrainian government (GOU) would stay the course with 
regard to NATO membership; PM-candidate Yuliya Tymoshenko 
also supported Ukraine's Euro-Atlantic course.  Ukrainian 
electoral support for the Party of Regions had not been a 
sign of Ukrainian political support to Russia but a sound 
rejection in the East and South of President Yushchenko's 
leadership.  To build a durable governing coalition, Horbulin 
opined that the Orange Coalition should allow Party of 
Regions to chair more parliamentary committees; allocation of 
responsibilities in Parliament after the 2002 elections 
provided a sound precedent for this approach.  Ukraine was 
interested in the Single Economic Space only for its economic 
benefits, but was trying not to rebuff Russia and Russia's 
interest in establishing "supra-national entities" that 
threatened Ukrainian sovereignty.  Horbulin listened with 
interest to Ambassador's suggestion that Ukraine issue a 
statement regarding energy security to counter possible 
Russian criticism at the G8 summit; he eagerly accepted 
Ambassador's offer to put him in touch with USG-funded energy 
experts.  End summary. 

Russia and Domestic Politics 
---------------------------- 

2. (C) Considered by many to be Ukraine's top strategic 
thinker, Horbulin agreed with former U.S. National Security 
Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski's view, as related by Ambassador, 
that the relationship with Ukraine is one of the USG's top 
four strategic relations worldwide because of the impact that 
Ukraine's strategic orientation, whether to the West or to 
Russia, would have on Russia's internal development. 
Horbulin opined that Russia's internal political 
infrastructure would not change without a democratic Ukraine; 
conversely, a Ukraine that remained in Russia's orbit would 
serve to strengthen Russia's authoritarian tendencies. 
Today, building on its energy relations, Russia increasingly 
aspired to "great nation" status, seeking to consolidate its 
hold among the successor nations of the former Soviet Union. 
In post-Soviet space, a democratic Ukraine would become a 
major obstacle toward reaching this goal. 

3. (C) Horbulin observed that Russia had ratcheted up its 
pressure after Ukraine's March elections, partly due to the 
electoral success of the Russia-oriented Party of Regions. 
During the 2006 election cycle, Russia had behaved more 
shrewdly and subtly than during the 2004 presidential 
election, providing media support and most probably financial 
support to favorable candidates and parties.  Results of the 
parliamentary (Rada) elections, however, continued 
developments evident in the presidential elections.  With the 
exception of the Communist Party, parties that ran on a 
pro-Russia, anti-NATO platform, like Nataliya Vitrenko's 
Progressive Socialist Party and the Social Democratic Party 
of Ukraine (United)-led Ne Tak! bloc, had failed to achieve 
the three percent threshold needed to obtain seats in the 
Rada.  The electoral preferences of the East and South of 
Ukraine should not be seen as an endorsement of Party of 
Regions' or former PM Viktor Yanukovych's policies, but as a 
protest against President Yushchenko and his policies. 

Chairmanships to Party of Regions 
--------------------------------- 

4. (C) Asking us not to take notes on his next comments, 
Horbulin said that, in order to ensure that the Rada could 
function and the government coalition would be effective and 
durable, a good plan for distribution of Rada chairmanships 
needed to be worked out.  He felt that Regions had a valid 
point in pushing to have more chairmanships.  Horbulin 
recalled that, when President Yushchenko's Our Ukraine bloc 
had made an unexpectedly strong showing after the 2002 
parliamentary elections, Our Ukraine had filled the chair of 
key influential Rada committees such as the Budget Committee 
and Committee on Freedom of Speech.  Regions would recall the 
precedent that former President Leonid Kuchma's government 

KIEV 00002590  002 OF 003 

had provided concession to Our Ukraine bloc because it had 
the lar
gest plurality of seats in the Rada.  (Note:  The 
non-partisan Horbulin has spoken favorably of Regions 
previously.  See ref B.  In 2002, Our Ukraine filled the 
chairman's seat on a number of other committees that Horbulin 
did not cite, including the committees on human rights, 
culture and spirituality, legal policy, and with Borys 
Tarasyuk, now Foreign Minister, chairing the Committee on 
European Integration.) 

Russia and Ukraine's NATO Membership 
------------------------------------ 

5. (C) Horbulin said Russia continued to be active in Ukraine 
on a broad front.  A recent example of Russia's influence was 
the anti-NATO hysteria, partially whipped up by the Russian 
language media, over the arrival of U.S. military reservists 
and construction equipment in the port city of Feodosiya on 
the Crimean Peninsula.  The GOU had settled the situation 
down partly by bringing together all law enforcement agencies 
and having them work together as one unit to avoid violence 
in Feodosiya.  This had been a good lesson, with other 
lessons still to be drawn (comment: including, presumably, 
some negative ones) in the GOU's handling of the situation. 
The July 3 observation of Navy Day in Sevastopol had proven 
that controversial events could take place without incident 
if handled properly. 

6. (C) Horbulin emphasized that, in the aftermath of 
Feodosiya, Ukraine had not wavered from its Euro-Atlantic 
course.  President Yushchenko had made this clear.  The new 
government also had to reinforce this message with a clear 
statement of its intentions.  Without naming names, Horbulin 
said, with respect to the key portfolios that President 
Yushchenko could fill on his own prerogative (such as the 
Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Defense), Yushchenko had 
candidates who would support the Euro-Atlantic course.  If 
the next Prime Minister were a woman, Horbulin commented that 
he had no doubts regarding her orientation although, as a 
woman, "she had her prerogatives."  Ambassador responded that 
President Yushchenko and the woman prime minister (Yuliya 
Tymoshenko) had to be united regarding both NATO and EU 
membership. 

7. (C) Horbulin said, while Russia had grudgingly yielded on 
NATO membership first for the central European states such as 
Poland and then for the Baltics, Ukraine's NATO membership 
was qualitatively different, of another order of magnitude. 
While Ukraine did not object to Russia's efforts to ensure 
its security in a European framework, he could not understand 
why Russian did not allow Ukraine to do the same.  Russia 
today enjoyed a closer and more fruitful relationship with 
NATO than Ukraine.  U.S. aerospace company, Boeing, for 
example, had begun working in Moscow on a project which also 
involved Ukrainian engineers, to develop a wing using 
titanium alloys.  (Note:  The Russian firm, VSMPO-Avisma, 
leads the world in titanium production and supplies Boeing. 
Horbulin may be referring to Russian involvement in designing 
part of the new Boeing 787 "Dreamliner," a purely commercial 
venture.)  Russia was now cooperating with a French company 
(note: possibly EADS, "European Aeronautics, Defense, Space") 
in the development of an "Airjet" passenger aircraft, which 
would be in direct competition with the Ukrainian-Russian 
An-128, but Ukraine had not made a single demarche in protest. 

Russia and EU Membership 
------------------------ 

8. (C) After Horbulin said Ukrainians were united on the 
benefits of EU membership, with even the Party of Regions 
supportive but only after Ukraine had joined the 
Russia-sponsored Single Economic Space, Ambassador inquired 
whether Ukraine could maintain the momentum to NATO or EU 
membership while still a member of the Commonwealth of 
Independent States (CIS) and other Russian-sponsored 
organizations.  Horbulin answered that basic membership in 
the Single Economic Space (SES) (of Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, 
and Kazakhstan) free trade zone would not be an obstacle to 
EU membership. 

9. (C) However, with respect to SES, Ukraine had to walk a 
fine line akin to "balancing on a razor blade," since free 
trade zones were only the first step to establishing the SES. 
 The next step would be the creation of a range of 
supra-national entities, which, Horbulin implied, would be a 
real problem.  Ukraine was sincerely interested in promoting 
closer economic cooperation particularly with Russia, with 
which it has strong economic ties, but also with Kazakhstan. 
While Ukraine was emphasizing the trade promotion and 
economic elements, Russia evidently had the creation of the 
supra-national organizations as its main goal with respect to 

KIEV 00002590  003 OF 003 

SES.  Ambassador said he hoped Russia would not view U.S. 
relations and its own relations with Ukraine as a zero-sum 
game, with one side losing if the other gained. 

Russia and Energy 
----------------- 

10. (C) Horbulin stressed that energy was the number one 
national security concern.  Energy policy, however, was more 
than just diversifying oil and natural gas supplies.  It also 
involved efforts to promote energy efficiency and 
conservation.  Energy policy required finding ways to solve 
problems in the coal mining sector, including in the Donbas 
region (of Donetsk and Luhansk regions), where accident rates 
were still unacceptably high.  Any assistance to the coal 
mining sector would revise Ukrainian perceptions and have an 
impact politically as well, he suggested.  Ambassador said 
the USG would continue and expand its assistance on coal 
mining safety and energy efficiency, as well as continuing 
providing expert advice to the Ministry of Fuels and Energy. 

11. (C) Horbulin said he expected Russia to continue using 
the natural gas issue to achieve political ends.  During the 
G8 summit, Russia was likely to do all that it could to 
convince the world that Ukraine was an unreliable transit 
country.  Horbulin admitted that Ukraine had also contributed 
to this perception problem, which he had realized after he 
had begun delving into the question two weeks previously.  He 
had no solutions now, but he would work on the problem with 
the NSDC staff and the new government.  Horbulin recognized 
that Ukraine had displayed weaknesses in its negotiations 
with Russian over natural gas supplies.  Ambassador agreed 
with this perspective and said two USG-funded energy experts 
had some suggestions on how Ukraine might overcome these 
deficiencies.  Horbulin eagerly accepted Ambassador's offer 
to put him in touch with the energy experts. 

12. (C) Horbulin continued that he expected Russian President 
Putin, during his G8 summit speech, to use Ukraine's alleged 
unreliability to support his proposals to find ways to 
deliver natural gas to Western Europe without transiting 
Ukraine.  In addition to the pipeline project under the 
Baltic Sea, the proposals would in
clude shipment of liquefied 
natural gas (LNG) through the Barents Sea and greater 
reliance on a southern route through Turkey and Greece. 
Ambassador suggested the GOU issue a statement before the G8 
summit that would stress Ukraine's desire to ensure energy 
security for Western Europe.  The statement would confirm 
Ukraine's commitment to ensure oil and natural gas transit 
according to transparent arrangements that met European 
standards and invite the Europeans and Russia to sit down 
with Ukraine to establish such arrangements.  The statement 
would admit shortcomings of the past and commit to high 
standards in the future.  Horbulin smiled, clearly pleased 
with Ambassador's idea, and said, while he could not make a 
decision on Ambassador's proposal, he would relay it to 
President Yushchenko. 

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

Wikileaks

Advertisements

From → CONFIDENTIAL

Leave a Comment

Post tour comment here

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: