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06KYIV4302, UKRAINE: PM YANUKOVYCH TELLS A/S FRIED: UKRAINE’S

November 17, 2006

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06KYIV4302 2006-11-17 16:08 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv

VZCZCXRO2477
PP RUEHDBU
DE RUEHKV #4302/01 3211608
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 171608Z NOV 06
FM AMEMBASSY KYIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0414
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 KYIV 004302 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/17/2016 
TAGS: PREL PGOV UP
SUBJECT: UKRAINE: PM YANUKOVYCH TELLS A/S FRIED: UKRAINE'S 
EUROPEAN CHOICE HAS BEEN DECIDED 
 
Classified By: Ambassador, reason 1.4 (b,d) 
 
1.  (C) Summary.  PM Yanukovych told visiting EUR A/S Fried 
and Ambassador November 16 that he was determined to bring 
Ukraine to Europe, meaning the WTO soon, and eventually into 
the EU and NATO.  The latter would take time, both to change 
currently ambivalent public opinion and also to strengthen 
Ukraine,s economic position, including developing energy 
alternatives to Russia, particularly through cooperation with 
Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan.  Yanukovych was defensive about 
the Orange Revolution but conciliatory toward Yushchenko, 
whom he clearly (and possibly accurately) believed to be 
beaten politically.  He said that he shared the strategic 
objective of a European future with Yushchenko, but differed 
on tactics and timing. 
 
2. (C) Comment: The PM is no born democrat, and probably not 
even a born-again democrat.  Still, two things came through 
that we can make use of:  Yanukovych clearly wants respect 
and, in particular, to get rid of the label of having been 
the villain of the Orange Revolution.  Second, though 
Yanukovych does not think in terms of values, he does seem to 
be thinking in terms of Ukraine,s national interest, its 
sovereignty, and its freedom of action, especially vis a vis 
Russia.  Yanukovych seems to want, in other words, to be the 
leader of a sovereign country, not a stooge of the Kremlin. 
This give us something to work with, including during his 
December 4-5 visit to Washington.  End Summary and Comment. 
 
Lunch with the Hunter 
--------------------- 
 
3. (C) EUR A/S Fried and Ambassador had lunch November 16 
with PM Viktor Yanukovych and two of his foreign policy 
advisers, Konstantin Hryshchenko and Andriy Fialko.  Fried 
stressed to Yanukovych how important his scheduled meeting 
with the Vice President in Washington would be in presenting 
a new face for himself and changing perceptions of his role 
in the 2004 Presidential elections.  The Vice President would 
listen carefully to Yanukovych's vision for Ukraine's 
direction, its energy policy, and relations with Russia and 
Central Asia.  The U.S. considered that Yanukovych had 
prevailed in post-election maneuvering through the democratic 
process and would work with him on that basis.  Ukraine's 
internal politics were not the USG's concern; Ukraine's 
policies were. 
 
4. (C) Yanukovych, who in a November 5 lunch with Ambassador 
had bragged how he had brought down three boars from 70 
meters with single shots, replied that "I am a hunter; I know 
how to be patient and when to take the right shot."  He had a 
vision and a strategy for Ukraine which was in line with 
Yushchenko's; the differences were over the tactics, and what 
speed to pursue the strategic goals.  On the WTO, Yanukovych 
said the recent U.S.-Russia bilateral agreeemnt was an 
incentive for Ukraine to finish quickly; he intended to 
complete all steps by mid-December to allow for possible 
accession in February. 
 
5. (C) Yanukovych claimed to be doing everything possible to 
stabilize his relationship with Yushchenko and form an 
effective partnership (note: the pair met for eight hours 
November 13).  Yanukovych and Regions wanted a strong 
President with higher ratings, but Yushchenko had advisers 
like Tarasyuk whose suggestions hurt the President.  The 
chief sticking point remained the presence in Yanukovych's 
cabinet of ministers who claimed that they were in opposition 
to the coalition government.  Either they should state their 
clear support for the government as opposed to their parties' 
positions, or they should quit the cabinet, in which case 
Yushchenko could name replacements, and Yanukovych would work 
to secure Rada approval. (note: it appeared Yanukovych was 
referring to all five remaining "orange" ministers - Foreign 
Affairs, Defense, Interior, Health, and Youth/Family/Sports). 
 
6. (C) Two times later in the conversation, the PM returned 
to the theme of support for Yushchenko, affirming his "100% 
support for higher ratings" for the President.  He said the 
only way to ensure a second term for Yushchenko was to give 
him credit now for positive news on the economy.  "I propose 
that we shake hands and move forward together."  And "after 
the parliamentary elections I extended my hand in 
partnership.  I do so again.  He thinks a lot; I act.  We 
both want a partnership." 
 
Ukraine's European Choice 
------------------------- 
 
7. (C) Yanukovych claimed that Ukraine had already made its 
European choice; the question of how to get there depended on 
political will and capabilities.  Ukraine could not enter 
 
KYIV 00004302  002 OF 003 
 
 
Europe with a dirt poor population; it had to help them get 
richer, convince them to work hard and not steal, clean up 
corruption, and continue reform, including improving the 
investment climate.  A/S Fried suggested starting with 
resolving long-standing investment disputes. 
 
8. (C) Yanukovych said that "if he happened to bump into the 
President" in Washington, h
e would make a pitch for help with 
EU leaders, particularly Merkel, to give Ukraine a signal for 
prospects, to show that the door was not shut in their face. 
Yanukovych expressed a distaste for current Italian PM Prodi, 
who as European Commission head in 2004, when Yanukovych was 
previously PM, had categorically ruled out Ukrainian 
membership.  Ukraine needed a ten-year framework as an 
incentive to reform and give it hope for eventual membership. 
 A/S Fried cautioned that Ukraine should not expect much on 
membership from the EU, but the U.S. agreed on the importance 
of keeping the EU,s door open until Europe was in a less 
inward-looking frame of mind and Ukraine looked more like a 
viable member. 
 
9. (C) Turning to relations with NATO, Yanukovych asked to be 
judged on actions, not words.  He did plan to act, citing 
Regions' support of the military exercise bill passed the 
same day he had been named PM in August, a move criticized 
only by pro-Russian radical Natalya Vitrenko.  Yanukovych had 
argued to the Regions Rada faction that the bill made sense 
because: it supported the European choice; it was cheaper 
than exercising alone; it prepared against possible terrorist 
acts; and Ukraine's forces needed training.  (note: 
Yanukovych also disingenuously criticized his predecessors 
for failing to secure earlier passage of the annual bill; 
such efforts failed because Regions repeatedly voted against 
it, both before and after the March elections, until they 
formed the new Rada coalition majority). 
 
10. (C) Yanukovych stated that he had budgeted for a NATO 
information campaign (note: $600,000 in 2007, less than in 
2006, and far less than what is needed.  End note) and 
claimed that, while at NATO September 14, he had asked NATO 
SYG de Hoop Scheffer for programs and speakers for the 
education campaign (note: Yanukovych took U.S PermRep Nuland 
aside with such a request, but NATO staffers in Kyiv claim no 
knowledge of such a request to the SYG.  End note).  The 
effort would "probably" take three years, he predicted, to be 
marked by a gradual increase in support, and decrease in 
opposition.  The three year period would extend past the 
Russian Presidential elections in 2008. 
 
11. (C) Returning to his hunter analogy, Yanukovych said that 
there was a need to be patient, in the meantime improve the 
economy, save and diversify energy, and become less dependent 
on Russian gas.  A quick move towards NATO now would lead the 
Russians to raise gas prices to $180/tcm this winter, which 
would drive the Ukrainian chemical and metallurgical sectors 
into deep crisis and significantly decrease support for NATO. 
 Once Ukraine was stronger, it would be in a better position 
to engage Russia on why Ukraine in NATO could be good for 
them too.  Internally, Ukrainians would not believe FM 
Tarasyuk if he tried to assure them that NATO had no 
intention of putting military bases on Ukrainian territory. 
If he or his advisers gave the same assurances, Ukrainians 
would believe them. 
 
Energy, Russia, Central Asia, CIS 
--------------------------------- 
 
12. (C) In particular, Yanukovych stressed, Ukraine needed to 
develop energy alternatives to escape Russian monopoly 
control.  In practical terms, this meant putting off a 
confrontation with Russia in the near term, i.e., not 
challenging current pipeline arrangements, but seeking 
instead to work effectively with Kazazkh President Nazarbayev 
and Azeri President Aliyev, whom Yanukovych respected and 
liked, on non-Russian controlled gas supplies.  (Note: This 
may be wishful thinking, as A/S Fried pointed out, since 
Russia will not easily allow Ukraine to escape the energy 
"iron ring" that Moscow appears intent on constructing.  End 
note)  Yanukovych also raised Ukraine,s long-term interest 
in developing gas relations with Iran once the current 
nuclear problem was resolved.  Fried urged caution in any 
approach to Iran. 
 
13. (C) Yanukovych raised a companion political element to 
cooperation with Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan: to mitigate 
Russian regional domination.  When he met with other CIS 
leaders in Sochi in August, Yanukovych said they pleaded with 
him not to allow Ukraine to leave the CIS, since Ukraine 
provided the counterweight to total Russian domination. 
Without Ukraine, they agreed, Putin would treat the remainder 
as little brothers.  Tarasyuk's suggestion that Ukraine leave 
 
KYIV 00004302  003 OF 003 
 
 
the CIS had no benefits, only costs, he claimed. 
 
Orange Revolution: celebration would be divisive 
--------------------------------------------- --- 
 
14. (C) Yanukovych said he had urged Yushchenko not to 
politicize the November 22 second anniversary of the Orange 
Revolution.  Ukraine should remember the events, recognize 
the achievements and failures, and agree on the values of 
freedom and democracy.  But celebrating the anniversary would 
be divisive. 
 
15. (U) A/S Fried did not have the opportunity to clear this 
cable. 
 
16. (U) Visit Embassy Kyiv's classified website: 
www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/kiev. 
Taylor

Wikileaks

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