Skip to content


September 18, 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. #06KIEV3553.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06KIEV3553 2006-09-18 12:46 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv

DE RUEHKV #3553/01 2611246
P 181246Z SEP 06

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 KIEV 003553 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/18/2016 
REF: KIEV 3463 
Classified By: Ambassador, reason 1.4 (b,d) 
1.  (C) Summary.  Ukraine-NATO relations was a primary theme 
in EUR Assistant Secretary Fried's meetings September 6-7 
with FM Borys Tarasyuk, Defense Minister Anatoliy Hrytsenko, 
and PM Viktor Yanukovych.  Holdover "orange" Ministers 
Tarasyuk and Hrytsenko have been the two staunchest advocates 
of Ukraine's NATO aspirations since Yushchenko became 
President in January 2005.  PM Yanukovych is the linchpin 
official looking forward; his September 14 visit to NATO will 
be crucial in determining the way forward, and he will need 
to play a key role in engaging his anti-NATO electorate of 
the benefits of Euro-Atlantic integration.  A/S Fried made 
clear the two basic requirements for countries aspiring to 
join NATO: exhibiting the serious political will to join; and 
meeting the alliance's standards and values.  Ukraine over 
the past four months had not sent a clear signal of its 
intent; the U.S. could not support Ukraine's aspirations more 
than Ukraine itself.  That said, the U.S. would support 
Ukraine moving forward at a pace of its choosing; the U.S. 
would not walk away from Ukraine.  Yanukovych reacted to this 
message with relief, Tarasyuk with acceptance, and Hrytsenko 
with some distress.  Reftel covers the Yanukovych meeting; 
discussions on foreign policy, domestic politics, and 
economic/gas issues are in septels.  End Summary 
Tarasyuk - NATO policy key for blue-orange 
2. (C) FM Tarasyuk told A/S Fried September 6 that NATO 
policy had been the major subject of roundtable negotiations 
fiercely debated before the signing of the "Universal" 
national unity agreement and the formation of a coalition 
government under PM Yanukovych in early August.   All parties 
save the communists agreed that Ukraine needed to deepen its 
beneficial relations, re-endorsing the landmark June 2003 Law 
on National Security which states clearly that NATO 
membership forms the basis for Ukraine's foreign policy. 
While Regions "hid" behind the requirement to hold a national 
referendum, Yushchenko had convinced Yanukovych that Ukraine 
had no other strategic choice besides joining NATO, Tarasyuk 
claimed. Tarasyuk appealed to the U.S. to take an expected 
Yanukovych letter to NATO requesting that Ukraine be granted 
MAP with a positive response. 
3. (C)  A/S Fried stressed that the road forward on 
NATO-Ukraine relations depended on what Yanukovych said at 
NATO September 14 and how he said it.  NATO members had 
adopted a "wait and see" approach to Ukraine after the long 
delay in government formation, and MAP at Riga was highly 
unlikely given all the unknowns.  The major question now was 
not how the alliance would react to Ukraine's NATO 
aspirations, but what would be Yanukovych's attitude.  Given 
how crucial the September 14 meetings were, Tarasyuk 
indicated he would seek Yushchenko's permission to break 
precedent and travel with the PM to Brussels.  (Note: 
Normally the FM travels with the President, a DFM with the 
PM.  On September 8, the MFA told us that Yushchenko had 
given his permission and that the FM had asked the PM for 
approval to travel with him to Brussels.  End Note.) 
4. (C) A/S Fried emphasized that the Riga document would 
include language on enlargement, some focused on the Balkans 
aspirants, some on Ukraine and Georgia, although the text on 
the latter two remained open.  Many Europeans remained 
cautious on Ukraine, worried about the Russian angle.  In 
contrast, what mattered most to the U.S. was: how committed 
was Ukraine?  Tarasyuk thanked Fried for the frank answer; in 
reply he openly acknowledged that he could only guarantee the 
response for President Yushchenko and himself, not for 
Yanukovych.  With the blue-orange team only a month into 
cohabitation, the parties were still adjusting to each other 
as partners. 
5. (C) Tarasyuk asked whether the GOU could count on U.S. 
support to convince skeptical alliance members on MAP if 
Ukraine did its part.  Fried stressed that the U.S. and the 
alliance would respond if Ukraine demonstrated the serious 
political will to join NATO and do the work necessary to meet 
all the standards, not just in military reform.  President 
Bush's guidance had been clear on this point for the past six 
years: if a country really wanted to join and was ready, the 
U.S. would make it happen.  The U.S. would not walk away from 
Ukraine, but neither did we want a country in NATO which did 
not really want to be in the alliance or was not ready to 
contribute.  Ukraine also needed to renew efforts to get key 
European countries to resume thinking about Ukraine's future. 
Hrytsenko - pushing for more to shape Yanukovych 
--------------------------------------------- --- 
KIEV 00003553  002 OF 003 
6. (C) Defense Minister Hrytsenko reacted with more concern 
to the same NATO message September 7, suggesting adjustments 
for A/S Fried's subsequent meeting with Yanukovych, who had 
advisers like Orel and Radchenko spinning an anti-
perspective and pushing for a focus on Ukraine-NATO 
military-technical cooperation.  Hrytsenko claimed that only 
NATO membership and revised terms of its energy relationship 
with Russia could guarantee Ukraine's genuine independence, 
which should matter to the West.  He appealed for the U.S. to 
help shape Yanukovych's geopolitical perceptions and policy 
priorities and options.  Yanukovych would have to struggle to 
escape the political baggage of the 2004 and 2006 campaigns 
even as he sought respect among foreign partners in the West. 
 In the end, personalities like Yanukovych were transitory; 
geopolitical choices would reverberate much longer. 
7. (C) Acknowledging slim chances for MAP at Riga, Hrytsenko 
nevertheless pitched for some substantive advance beyond the 
current Intensified Dialogue (ID), both to send a signal to 
Ukraine's pro-NATO forces and to take advantage of 
Yanukovych's willingness to move beyond ID but reluctance to 
embrace MAP immediately.  MAP would solidify Yushchenko's 
status in the country, the values and policy directions he 
espoused.   A/S Fried stressed that the U.S. could not want 
Ukrainian membership in NATO more than Ukraine itself; it was 
a decision for Ukraine's political class and Ukrainian 
society to make, and the new government had not proved 
capable of sending a clear signal. 
8. (C) While acknowledging Fried's points, Hrytsenko feared 
that, without a strong signal at Riga, and only the standard: 
"the door is open, all up to you" message, there would be 
backsliding in the minds and activities of those now in power 
in Ukraine.  The previous GOU, without any legal basis, had 
given away equipment used by its contingent in Iraq, and 
transferred an additional $15 million' worth of munitions, 
for free.  It had also provided strategic airlift, for 
instance for the SEEBRIG to Afghanistan, at below cost (only 
fuel and landing fees, not covering operating expenses), at 
three times less than the Russian offer.  In the past 18 
months, the GOU had made such decisions to send positive 
signals to NATO partners, but he feared the new government 
would not make such decisions in the future. 
9. (C) On a positive note, Hrytsenko stressed that many of 
the steps Ukraine needed to take to meet NATO standards would 
be taken regardless of the GOU's attitude towards MAP/NATO 
and NATO's response: reform of the judicial system; continued 
free and fair elections; maintenance of media freedoms; and 
improvements in transparency/accounting standards.  In the 
defense sphere, there was less to be done in the short-term, 
and less controversy: ratifying the NATO-Ukraine strategic 
airlift support MOU, which Yanukovych said he backed; 
initiating active participation in Operation Active Endeavor, 
easier now that Russia itself had already started; and 
securing a real defense budget allowing for continued reform. 
10. (C) On a negative note, Hrytsenko claimed that the 
German-based consortium that draws on both Russian and 
Ukrainian Ruslan AN-124 planes to fill NATO stratlift 
contracts on a preferred basis was a mini-RosUkrEnergo 
nontransparent deal that skimmed profits to Russia's benefit. 
 Hrytsenko urged that NATO take a closer look. 
Yanukovych - I'm the man, let's do business 
11. (C) A/S Fried's discussion with Yanukovych on the primary 
points of Ukraine-NATO relations and U.S. perspectives is 
covered septel.  Of additional importance, given the need for 
the GOU to reach out to Yanukovych's overwhelmingly anti-NATO 
electorate, was Yanukovych's assertion that he saw himself as 
NATO's chief "imagemaker" in Ukraine, given the challenge of 
public opinion to Ukraine's Euro-Atlantic integration. 
12. (C) Yanukovych claimed he had a good sense for how 
Ukrainians felt about NATO-related issues.  In contrast, the 
two orange governments in office from January 2005 - July 
2006 had tried to rush the NATO accession issue, increasing 
negative attitudes towards NATO.  The May-June protests 
against an exercise in Feodosia, Crimea lacking parliamentary 
approval were an prime example in his view.  However, once 
the Universal was signed in August, the Rada had quietly 
approved foreign exercises, and there was no negative 
reaction to this approval (note: not entirely true; the 
Communists and Natalya Vitrenko's Progressive Socialists 
protested).  Yanukovych stressed that it was essential that 
the discussion on Euro-Atlantic integration be a balanced, 
calm process to convince society; this would take time. 
13. (C) As predicted by Hrytsenko, Yanukovych focused on 
KIEV 00003553  003 OF 003 
potential military technology collaboration that could 
benefit Ukraine and serve as a "heavyweight" argument for 
Ukrainians in favor of NATO membership.  He mentioned 
detailed discussions with Polish PM Kaczinski September 6 on 
Poland,s possible involvement in the AN-70 military 
transport project, a nearly completed project now in jeopardy 
after Russia had decided to pull out (note: in favor of 
pursuit of a partnership with France instead. end note). 
There was no clarity regarding how much the AN-70 would cost 
to realize, but Yanukovych expressed confidence it could be 
very profitable.  He noted NATO had no aircraft with its 
characteristics, particularly taking off and landing on 
runways as short as 300 meters. 
14. (SBU) The PM also floated the idea of armored personnel 
carrier (APC) joint production.  He claimed a Donetsk company 
had developed an advanced design for an APC with a new type 
of layered metal armor that was highly effective in 
deflecting bullets.  He suggested a joint project could be 
launched to combine this design with NATO country components, 
such as armaments, engines, and transmissions.  Production 
and assembly could be in Ukraine; the company's location 
offered low production costs due to nearby subcontractors and 
close access to a seaport.  Yanukovych requested the USG 
spread word about these two defense cooperation proposals. 
15. (U) A/S Fried has cleared this message. 
16. (U) Visit Embassy Kiev's classified website at: 



Leave a Comment

Post tour comment here

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

You are commenting using your 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: