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December 27, 2006

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06KYIV4660 2006-12-27 16:01 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv

DE RUEHKV #4660/01 3611601
P 271601Z DEC 06

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 KYIV 004660 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/20/2016 
REF: KYIV 4597 
Classified By: Ambassador, reason 1.4 (b,d) 
1.  (SBU) Summary. Russian President Vladimir Putin made a 
compressed one-day visit to Kyiv December 22, his first since 
March 2005 and the second since Ukraine's November-December 
2004 Orange Revolution.  Putin and Yushchenko met for 
two-and-a-half hours alone, without notetakers.  After the 
formal launch of the Yushchenko-Putin bilateral commission, 
there was only time for a truncated joint press opportunity 
and a five minute Putin call on PM Yanukovych, though 
Yanukovych rode in Putin's car to the airport.  The primary 
achievements, Presidential Secretariat deputy head Chaliy 
told Ambassador, were the positive atmosphere and the 
launching of the formal Yushchenko-Putin Commission 
mechanism.  Of the four bilateral agreements signed, the ones 
on readmissions and intellectual property protection were 
more important than those on simplified border crossing 
procedures and cultural cooperation. 
2. (C) Comment: Putin's visit was important primarily for 
finally having happened after frequent delays over the past 
18 months.  Much commentary revolved around the potential 
impact on gas prices and deliveries in the wake of Turkmen 
President Niyazov's death, along with symbolic details: 
Yushchenko switching into Russian for the bulk of the joint 
news conference; Putin clinking champagne glasses with FM 
Tarasyuk, whom he is known to despise, after having allegedly 
delayed his departure from Moscow by 90 minutes to ensure 
Tarasyuk did not meet him on arrival; Yanukovych riding in 
Putin's Russian limo to the airport for a special chat. 
Ukraine's leading foreign policy expert Oleksandr Sushko told 
us he saw nothing special about what was a routine visit; it 
did not symbolize Ukraine's return to Russia's sphere of 
influence, and the most contentious bilateral issues, like 
the Black Sea Fleet, were not addressed head on.  Prominent 
commentator Serhiy Taran noted to us that while the visit, 
within the framework of the Yushchenko-Putin Commission, 
broke a perceived monopoly by Party of Regions on 
constructively engaging Russia by giving Yushchenko the 
preeminent role, it also highlighted the ongoing tensions and 
duality in Ukraine's two policy centers around the President 
and Prime Minister.   End Summary and Comment. 
A long-delayed working visit finally transpires 
--------------------------------------------- -- 
3. (SBU) Russian President Vladimir Putin led a high-ranking 
Russian delegation to Kyiv December 22 to launch the 
long-delayed Yushchenko-Putin Commission.  While four 
bilateral agreements (on readmission, IPR, borders, and 
culture) were signed during the visit, ministers, not 
presidents, endorsed the agreements.  Yushchenko and Putin 
talked one-on-one for two and a half hours and held a joint 
press conference, but they did not sign or issue any joint 
4. (SBU) Oleksandr Chaliy, head of the Presidential 
Secretariat's Foreign Policy Directorate, told Ambassador 
December 23 that a positive atmosphere surrounded the visit, 
which established the formal presidential commission 
mechanism after many delays.  Both Chaliy and Sushko 
highlighted the readmissions agreement, which is crucial for 
Ukraine to implement its readmission agreement with the 
European Union (note: nearly all illegal third-country 
migrants passing through Ukraine to the EU arrive from 
Russia.  Without a readmission agreement with Russia, Ukraine 
was at risk of a huge buildup of returned migrants from the 
5. (SBU) Chaliy noted that both presidents wanted more 
specifics for the action plan presented by subordinates, 
including the updating of the strategic partnership 
agreement.  The tentative schedule looking forward would be 
to have an action plan ready for review by the end of 
February, with the next presidential session tentatively 
scheduled for May/June 2007. 
6. (SBU) On specific issues of interest, Chaliy said both 
presidents endorsed resumption of negotiations on the status 
of Transnistria in the 5 2 format without preconditions, now 
that transportation/railroad problems between Russia, 
Moldova, the Transnistrian region, and Ukraine had been 
resolved.  Putin had stated that PM Yanukovych's request to 
coordinate transportation tariffs between Russia and Ukraine 
could only be considered in the context of the Single 
Economic Space (SES.  Note: currently, Ukraine's position is 
that it will only consider joining a free trade agreement but 
not more ambitious steps like a customs union advocated by 
Russia in the SES).  Also significant may have been what was 
not said.  For example, the issue of "synchronizing" WTO 
KYIV 00004660  002 OF 002 
accessions, raised by Russian PM Fradkov during his visit to 
Kyiv in October, was conspicuously absent from public 
The ghost of Turkmenbashi and the Tarasyuk factor 
--------------------------------------------- ---- 
7. (SBU)  The specter of the recent death of Turkmen &#x
000A;President Niyazov and potential implications for gas supplies 
hung over the Russian-Ukrainian talks.  PM foreign policy 
adviser Hryshchenko, not directly involved in the Putin 
visit, noted that both Ukraine and Russia were concerned 
about Niyazov's death.  Journalists asked Putin during the 
press conference about the stability of Russian gas supplies 
to Ukraine in light of developments in Turkmenistan.  Putin's 
answer, endorsing already reached agreements, reassured some, 
though evening news commentary noted that the January 4 
Russian-Ukrainian gas agreement set the price of Russian gas 
to Ukraine at $230/thousand cubic meters, with lower overall 
prices dependent on securing cheap Turkmen supplies.  The 
Cabinet of Ministers Press service reported that PM 
Yanukovych held parallel meetings with Gazprom and 
RosUkrEnergo (RUE) to discuss energy cooperation and RUE's 
development plan. 
8. (C)  The other side story to the Putin visit was the 
ongoing domestic Ukrainian struggle over FM Tarasyuk's 
status, in the wake of the December 1 Rada vote for his 
dismissal, court decisions reinstating him pending final 
appeals, Yushchenko's endorsement of Tarasyuk remaining as 
Minister, and concerted coalition efforts to prevent Tarasyuk 
from attending weekly cabinet meetings.  Despite the desire 
by PM Yanukovych's team, endorsed by Presidential Secretariat 
Head Baloha, to oust Tarasyuk prior to Putin's visit 
(reftel), Yushchenko named Tarasyuk as a member of the 
Ukrainian delegation to the Commission talks.  Putin, who is 
widely believed to have demanded in August 2000 that former 
Ukrainian Kuchma fire Tarasyuk as PM for being too 
anti-Russian, clinked ceremonial champagne glasses with 
Tarasyuk without exchanging words; press reports suggested 
that Putin's 90 minute delay in arriving in Kyiv was due to 
Russian insistence that Tarasyuk not greet Putin upon 
arrival, per usual protocol.  Both Chaliy and Hryshchenko 
told Ambassador after the visit that the issue of Tarasyuk's 
status had been put off for a time, because of, as Chaliy put 
it, "timing issues."  Hryshchenko maintained that Tarasyuk 
still must go, but that the President would have to take 
action to replace him. 
9. (U) Visit Embassy Kyiv's classified website: 




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