Skip to content

06KIEV2962, UKRAINE: DAS KRAMER’S NATO-RELATED DISCUSSIONS

July 31, 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. #06KIEV2962.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06KIEV2962 2006-07-31 14:45 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv
VZCZCXRO5969
PP RUEHDBU
DE RUEHKV #2962/01 2121445
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 311445Z JUL 06
FM AMEMBASSY KIEV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0734
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 002962 

SIPDIS 

SIPDIS 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/31/2016 
TAGS: PREL PGOV PARM UP
SUBJECT: UKRAINE: DAS KRAMER'S NATO-RELATED DISCUSSIONS 

REF: A. KIEV 2932 
     B. KIEV 2461 

Classified By: Ambassador, reason 1.4 (b,d) 

1.  (C) Summary.  Ukraine's relations with NATO in the 
context of ongoing domestic political roundtable discussions 
and fading chances for a Membership Action Plan (MAP) 
invitation at the Riga Summit were discussed in EUR Deputy 
Assistant Secretary (DAS) David Kramer's July 28 meetings 
with Acting Foreign Minister Tarasyuk, Acting Defense 
Minister Hrytsenko, Rada Speaker Moroz, Party of Regions 
leader Yanukovych, and deputy FM Veselovsky.  Tarasyuk, 
Moroz, and Yanukovych talked more generally in terms of 
Ukraine's strategic course in the framework of the roundtable 
discussions and a possible "broad coalition" involving their 
three parties (Our Ukraine, the Socialists, and Regions). 
The non-partisan Hrytsenko explored what Ukraine might do to 
improve increasingly slim chances of receiving a MAP in Riga, 
mulled his own future, described budgetary challenges, and 
highlighted recent exercises to improve Ukraine's combat 
readiness. 

2. (C) Comment:  Ukraine's roundtable discussions stalled 
July 29 after ten hours of inconclusive discussions between 
Yushchenko, Moroz, and Yanukovych; differences on NATO 
policy, along with language policy and federalism, emerged as 
the unreconciled issues in the talks (ref A).  Hrytsenko's 
frustration over the budget situation suggests that, no 
matter who serves as Defense Minister in the next government, 
advancing the defense reform agenda Hrytsenko has vigorously 
implemented since coming into office in February 2005 will be 
a challenge.  Hrytsenko, who is non-partisan but expresses 
opinions that more often align with the perspectives of 
Yuliya Tymoshenko than Yushchenko, spent most of the meeting 
discussing Ukraine's ongoing domestic political impasse, 
revealing a personal preference for repeat elections rather 
than a "broad coalition" with Yanukovych as likely Premier. 
In this, Hrytsenko parted ways with Ukraine's other 
enthusiastic endorser of early NATO membership, Acting 
Foreign Minister Borys Tarasyuk, now a proponent of a "broad 
coalition" involving Our Ukraine and Regions.  End Summary 
and Comment. 

NATO policy in roundtable discussions, coalition negotiations 
--------------------------------------------- ---------------- 

3. (C) Commenting on the July 27 roundtable talks which he 
attended as an Our Ukraine (OU) representative, Acting FM 
Tarasyuk highlighted Yushchenko's support for NATO membership 
(ref A).  Tarasyuk said OU and Regions had agreed on a 
separate protocol, outside a possible formal coalition 
agreement, on NATO that went further than previous agreements 
with the Socialist Pary or Tymoshenko's Bloc (BYuT) 
negotiated as part of the Coalition of Democratic Forces 
formed June 22.  Regions and OU had agreed that, as soon as 
the new government was formed, the new PM would send a letter 
to the NATO Secretary General expressing Ukraine's interest 
in receiving MAP (note: Tymoshenko was to have sent a similar 
letter had she become PM again; see ref B).  Kramer cautioned 
that, while such a letter would be helpful, Ukraine's chances 
of receiving MAP at Riga remained slim. 

4. (C) Regions' leader Yanukovych, whose chances to become PM 
again seemingly rose in the aftermath of the July 27 
roundtable discussions, told Kramer that Regions "supported 
cooperation with NATO, but with a slight change in emphasis." 
 In Yanukovych,s view, Ukraine should not be making 
declarations and repeating slogans about NATO.  Ukraine and 
NATO needed instead to focus on concrete actions; this 
depended upon NATO, he claimed.  On the issue of MAP, 
Yanukovych responded simply, "we agree with the President" 
before changing the subject. 

5. (C) Speaker Moroz, whose Socialist party had balked at 
more forward-leading NATO-language in the defunct Coalition 
of Democratic Forces agreement and pushed similar positions 
during the roundtable discussions July 27-28, nevertheless 
confirmed to Kramer that the Regions-led "anti-crisis 
coalition" supported the strategic goal of joining NATO and 
the importance of making Ukraine a part of the European 
security system.  Moroz pledged that the Rada would soon pass 
the annual authorization for foreign military exercises, 
confiding that the Rada had not yet passed it to pressure 
Yushchenko to forward Yanukovych's PM nomination for 
approval. 

Does Ukraine still have a shot at MAP in Riga? 
--------------------------------------------- 

6. (C) Deputy FM Veselovsky told Kramer that the roundtable 
"Universal" document under discussion affirmed the Ukraine's 

KIEV 00002962  002 OF 003 

desire for membership, with the issue of actually joining 
NATO decided later on the basis of a referendum.  He said 
that once Ukraine received MAP, it would work on public 
opinion over a period of two to three years before holding a 
referendum.  Veselovsky said there would be two occasions 
when the next prime minister could personally convey 
Ukraine's interest in MAP to his NATO cou
nterparts.  On 
September 14, the PM attend a EU-Ukraine cooperation council 
meeting in Brussels, making an additional visit to NATO HQ 
possible. On October 27, President Yushchenko and a number of 
cabinet members would attend the Ukraine-EU summit in 
Helsinki.  This meeting would be a second opportunity for 
high-level contacts with European officials prior to Riga. 

7. (C) Defense Minister Hrytsenko asked DAS Kramer the extent 
to which the West would be willing to engage Ukraine if 
Yanukovych were to become PM, and specifically whether 
Ukraine still had a chance to obtain MAP at the Riga Summit. 
Hrytsenko's interest was personal as well as professional; he 
needed to "decide whether to stay or go" as Defense Minister 
in the next government.  Kramer reminded Hrytsenko of their 
previous conversation in May, when he had stated that MAP 
would be difficult if Ukraine did not have a government in 
place by July.  Ukraine's friends had little to counter the 
Ukraine skeptics within NATO, and the May-June controversy 
over the canceled Sea Breeze exercise in Feodosia, Crimea had 
been an unfortunate setback, raising fresh doubts about 
Ukraine's readiness and commitment. 

8. (C) An early letter from a newly-seated PM Yanukovych to 
NATO SYG de Hoop Scheffer reiterating Ukraine's desire for 
MAP at Riga would not be enough, stated Kramer.  Two early 
steps Ukraine could take would be passage of a long-stalled 
bill authorizing foreign exercises in Ukraine, as well as 
ratification of the 2004 NATO-Ukraine MOU on strategic 
airlift signed by then PM Yanukovych.  Hrytsenko opined that 
both should be possible in September, once the Rada 
reconvened from its August recess.  Kramer stated that, were 
Yanukovych to become PM, he would need to travel to Brussels 
early on and to demonstrate sincere interest in relations 
with NATO.  Ukrainian officials needed to make their case 
again in Paris, the Hague, and other capitals; there was no 
magic formula, but such reinvigorated efforts after a 
government formed could increase the currently slim chances 
of a MAP invitation.  Ambassador added that the GOU could 
publicize the successful, recently completed Rapid Trident 
computer simulation exercise, which had occurred without 
fanfare or press coverage. 

Possible Lebanon contribution? 
------------------------------ 

9. (C) DAS Kramer also suggested that Ukrainian contributions 
to a possible international peacekeeping force in Lebanon 
would send a positive signal to NATO partners.  Hrytsenko 
asked that such a contribution not be added to a "must do" 
list for MAP, since the requirement for Rada approval of any 
unit deployment could complicate implementation; however, he 
confirmed that he was already contemplating what Ukraine 
might offer.  If the air defense environment in southern 
Lebanon were permissive, for instance, Ukraine could 
contribute air lift capability. 

10. (C) Note: Deputy Foreign Minister Veselovsky had told 
Kramer and Ambassador earlier July 28 that Ukraine was 
considering non-combat elements--airlift, trucks, and other 
logistical support communications; medical; etc.--that 
Ukraine would be ready to deploy within a month of being 
asked.  He implied that the Ukrainian military relished the 
chance to move beyond UN PKO charges of past Ukrainian 
military wrongdoing in forces in Lebanon (note: force 
commanders in 2004 skimming money by manipulating fuel 
rations).  In order to avoid the need for Rada approval, 
Ukraine would dispatch individual personnel, and not entire 
units. 

Defense Budget challenge for whomever is the next Minister 
--------------------------------------------- ------------- 

11. (C) Hrytsenko said the decision on who might serve as the 
next Defense Minister is Yushchenko's, but that he would not 
automatically agree to stay even if asked.  A primary factor 
would be the situation around the defense budget, which was 
dependent in turn on who served as Prime Minister and Finance 
Minister.  Current PM Yekhanurov and Finance Minister 
Pynzenyk had underfunded the Defense Ministry in 2006; 
instead of the promised 8.6 billion hryvnia in the budget, 
Yekhanurov and Pynzenyk had pre-allocated only 7 billion, 
though Hrytsenko had fought for a partial reclama.  The 
preliminary 2007 budget resolution passed July 27 in the Rada 
by the so-called "anti-crisis coalition" was similarly 
worrisome.  Hrytsenko had not discussed the matter with 

KIEV 00002962  003 OF 003 

Regions' leader Yanukovych, but Budget Committee Chair (and 
likely Minister of Finance in a Regions-led government) 
Mykola Azarov was aware of the issue. 

12. (C) Given fuel price increases, the 2006 underfunding had 
set back operations by 5-6 years, endangering the ambitious 
reform plans Hrytsenko had undertaken.  In order to retain 
motivated personnel, the military needed to increase basic 
pay to the same level as that for troops in the Ministry of 
Interior, the security services (SBU), and the Ministry of 
Emergencies, as well as continue to fund exercises and 
operations.  If other GOU personnel only paid lip service to 
the cause of defense reform without funding it, Hrytsenko saw 
no reason to stay in office without an ability to implement 
his agenda, merely to "push papers around my desk and serve 
as a friendly face for the West to engage." 

13. (C) Ending on a positive note, Hrytsenko described an 
ongoing joint air-ground exercise, including what he said was 
Ukraine's first night-time drop operations in 15 years, as 
proof of a renewed commitment to improving the combat 
readiness of Ukrainian forces.  An anti-terror scenario had 
forced air defense troops and the Air Force to react to a 
potential terrorist threat against Ukrainian nuclear 
facilities, scrambling to respond to army helicopters 
approaching from different flight directions than those used 
by international aviation.  The army was also putting 
together a new short-notice exercise to deploy three platoons 
to Crimea and along the border to Transnistria as a initial 
effort at "realistic scenario" training; Hrytsenko said the 
efforts to make training exercises more relevant to 
contemporary threats had been well received in the ranks. 

14. (U) Visit Embassy Kiev's classified website at: 
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: