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07KYIV824, UKRAINE: POWER MINISTERS GIVE ASSURANCES THAT

April 6, 2007

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07KYIV824 2007-04-06 15:09 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv

VZCZCXRO7372
PP RUEHDBU
DE RUEHKV #0824/01 0961509
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 061509Z APR 07
FM AMEMBASSY KYIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1856
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 000824 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/06/2017 
TAGS: PGOV PHUM MOPS UP
SUBJECT: UKRAINE: POWER MINISTERS GIVE ASSURANCES THAT 
TROOPS/PERSONNEL UNDER CONTROL 
 
Classified By: DCM Sheila Gwaltney, reason 1.4 (b,d) 
 
1. (C) Summary: Ambassador met with Defense Minister 
Hrytsenko, Minister of Interior Tsushko, and acting head of 
the Security Service (SBU) Nalyvaichenko April 6 to discuss 
the security situation during the ongoing political crisis. 
Hrytsenko was the most optimistic of the three, giving 
assurances that all power ministry and law enforcement agency 
heads were in close coordination to keep the security 
situation calm; Tsushko and Nalyvaichenko confirmed this. 
However, Hrytsenko also stated that the main political actors 
realized the need to avoid provocations and seek a political 
compromise, regardless of their public rhetoric, and that 
there were no real "war camps" on either side.  Socialist 
Tsushko was more pessimistic, warning of the danger that both 
 
SIPDIS 
sides could bring large numbers of supporters into the 
streets starting April 10 if a political compromise were not 
reached by then.  Nalyvaichenko's comments are reported in 
other channels. 
 
2. (C) Comment:  Hrytsenko's characterizations were 
reassuring but not entirely convincing, particularly when 
taken together with concerns expressed by Tsushko and 
Nalyvaichenko.  Tsushko in general is a less confident person 
than Hrytsenko, and his usual nervousness may be exacerbated 
by the political reality that his Socialist party would have 
slim to no chance of crossing the three percent threshold and 
returning to the Rada if elections are held.  Both Hrytsenko 
and Tsushko appealed to Ambassador to play an active role in 
engaging the principals in the ongoing political crisis.  We 
will continue to stress to all actors and parties the need to 
avoid provocative acts or responding to provocations, as well 
as to seek compromise in a peaceful and legal manner.  End 
Summary and Comment. 
 
Hrytsenko/Tsushko: responsible people acting responsibly 
--------------------------------------------- ----------- 
 
3. (C) Chain-smoking Minister of Defense Hrytsenko told 
Ambassador April 6 that all Ukrainian power 
ministries/agencies were coordinating daily and sought to 
avoid provocations or allowing the situation getting out of 
hand.  There were two mechanisms, one under Yushchenko run by 
National Security and Defense Council Chair Haiduk, and the 
other out of the Cabinet run by deputy PM Radchenko, 
involving the MOD, General Staff, MOI, and SBU.  Radchenko 
chaired meetings at 1700 where troop placements and other 
issues were discussed.  Radchenko and Haiduk talked several 
times a day.  Both Tsushko and Nalyvaichenko separately 
confirmed this close cooperation.  Tsushko added that, due to 
past instances of the abuse of use of interior troops, he had 
agreed with Yushchenko and Yanukovych not to deploy them in 
Kyiv to maintain public order and to suspend the normal right 
of the head of Kyiv police to call on interior troop backup 
automatically. 
 
4. (C) Instead of internal troops, Tsushko explained, 1,165 
special police personnel, including 200 from Crimea, had 
arrived in Kyiv March 29 from other provinces, to serve as 
Tsushko,s personal police reserve prepared to respond to 
 
SIPDIS 
protect the Cabinet of Ministers, Rada, Supreme Court, 
Presidential Secretariat, and Central Election Commission. 
He had informed the National Security and Defense Council 
(NSDC) of this deployment at the April 5 NSDC meeting.  As a 
Ukrainian citizen, Tsushko did not want to see "blood on the 
streets" or civil unrest.  His security forces would do their 
best to avoid such an outcome.  As a politician from the 
coalition, he wanted to be above board and demonstrate that 
he was upholding the law. 
 
5. (C) Hrytsenko characterized his comments made at the 
emergency middle of the night Cabinet meeting April 2 after 
Yushchenko had announced the dissolution of the Rada and new 
elections as reassurances of legality on the part of the 
military, but also as a cold shower to potential adventurism. 
 He had stated clearly that troops would stay in the 
barracks, act in the framework of the law, and only follow 
orders of the Commander in Chief.  He had added also as a 
one-time warning, not to be repeated, that if MOI 
police/troops could not or would not stop potential 
bloodshed, or became part of the problem, the armed forces 
were available as a stabilizing force for calm and to prevent 
bloodshed.  Hrytsenko said his statement was similar to 
then-ground forces commander Petruk,s call to Interior 
Minister troop commander Popkov Nov. 27, 2004 to ensure 
Popkov did not send troops and APCs to clear the Maidan. 
Such warnings and showdowns would not be repeated, and did 
not need to be.  All currently commanding troops/forces were 
on the same wavelength. 
 
Hrytsenko: cautiously optimistic of a negotiated solution 
 
KYIV 00000824  002 OF 003 
 
 
--------------------------------------------- ------------ 
 
6. (C) Hrytsenko was, however, notably more optimistic than 
Nalyvaichenko and Tsushko regarding the stability of the 
situation and
low likelihood of a flash point, claiming no 
one wanted bloodshed or conflict, and denying that there were 
war camps within both Yushchenko and Yanukovych's entourage. 
Yushchenko and Yanukovych were talking daily, he stressed. 
Both realized that a negotiated settlement was the only way 
out for the sake of the country; key Regions' figure Akhmetov 
agreed; Hrytsenko was in close contact with Yanukovych, 
Akhmetov, and Regions' faction leader Bohatyreva.  (Note: 
Akhmetov briefly visited the embassy later April 6, 
confirming that he supports a negotiated settlement). 
 
7. (C)  Hrytsenko thought an agreement would be reached in 
the next 10 days-two weeks.  Yushchenko was ready to 
compromise on timing of elections. A political agreement 
could allow pushing back the timeframe. with elections 
perhaps in July-September.  Hrytsenko did not think 
Yushchenko would accept an offer to stop the coalition short 
of 300, because that would not be enough to rebalance the 
political system. 
 
8. (C) Hrytsenko explained that Yushchenko had signed the 
decree because Yanukovych and Regions had overreached in 
their power grab, breaking the hoped-for political model that 
proportional representation-formed parties representing 
society in the Rada could agree on a way forward for the 
country on the basis of compromise.  Regions' actions since 
returning to power in August had stripped the system of 
checks and balances.  Apart from Moroz, defection last 
summer, which was manageable, the second factor was the 
post-Soviet winner takes all psychology shared by Yanukovych 
and Tymoshenko.  Ukraine still lacked a western, European 
tradition to be responsible to national interests and 
responsive to public views.   Some other figures in Regions 
still did not see the need to compromise, because they felt 
close to winning everything. 
 
9. (C) Hrytsenko argued there needed to be a political deal 
because the 1996 constitution and subsequent legislation were 
the product of an elite which did not have the right culture 
and tradition of respect for the rule of law.  Legal experts 
would always find problems with any solution.  A Venice 
Commission seal of approval was irrelevant; the elite would 
ignore it.  What was important was to get the elites to play 
by an agreed set of rules and to change elite psychology. 
The 2004 election crisis, a force majeure requiring a 
political agreement, was fixed outside the Constitution.  The 
current crisis was a similar moment needing a similar 
political fix, he argued. 
 
10. (C) At the NSDC meeting April 5, Yushchenko had laid out 
a serious of specific developments since August which had 
moved events beyond those allowed in the constitution, 
including repeated announcements by Moroz and deputy speaker 
Martinyuk from the Rada podium announcing various expansions 
of the coalition by certain numbers of deputies.  At the NSDC 
session, Moroz had no argument in response (note: at the end 
of the NSDC April 5 session, the vote to direct the 
government to fund new elections passed 13-2, with FM Azarov 
and Tsushko voting against.  Moroz and Prosecutor General 
Medvedko were also opposed but did not vote.  Yanukovych had 
left the session prior to the vote.) 
 
11. (C) Hrytsenko maintained that elections could be a 
positive development.  The Socialists and communists could be 
removed from the political picture.  There was general 
consensus between the three main political forces -- Regions, 
BYuT, OU -- on issues like private ownership of land, 
European choice, changes in tax structure, energy issues, 
court system etc.  Thus, a political agreement should cover 
not only how to get to and conduct elections, but the future 
development of the country sixteen years after independence. 
Tymoshenko was the weak link, particularly if a deal were 
struck only between Yushchenko and Yanukovych.  Hrytsenko 
personally favored bringing her in as a third leg to any deal 
to help it stick and also to improve systemic checks and 
balances.  Let Yanukovych remain PM; allow her to be Speaker, 
and have a couple of allies in executive agencies, he 
counseled.  Concentration of power in one set of hands, no 
matter whose hands, was dangerous. 
 
Tsushko: April 10 a worrisome date 
 
SIPDIS 
---------------------------------- 
 
12. (C) Minister of Interior Tsushko proved less sanguine 
about the path forward than Hrytsenko.  Tsushko said he was 
concerned Yushchenko and Yanukovych could lose control of the 
situation, particularly because of the presence of "radical 
 
KYIV 00000824  003 OF 003 
 
 
elements."  Any provocation or escalation by either side 
could be dangerous.  Politicians needed to find a solution 
before April 10, he claimed, because he had information that 
both the coalition and the opposition were planning mass 
demonstrations, possibly involving 10,000 or more people. 
The necessary restrictions on police behavior and avoidance 
of the use of force could lead to an inadequate response if 
the demonstrations turned violent (note: there were upwards 
of 100,000 total protesters only 200 meters apart in downtown 
Kyiv on March 31 in two separate rallies, which took place 
peacefully without any incidents). 
 
13. (C)  In addition, Tsushko understood that trade unions 
from "industrial regions" were planning a nation-wide strike 
(note: called by Communist leader Petro Symonenko. end note) 
that could paralyze the entire country; Tsushko alleged this 
could include its gas transit systems.  In such a case, the 
Ukrainian domestic crisis would become a regional issue. 
Threats against officials was further evidence of a 
deteriorating situation.  He had ordered personal protection 
to Deputy Prime Minister Kluyev and to the former head of the 
Pechersk Regional Court Kolesnichenko, the latter dismissed 
by Yushchenko, in response to their complaints of receiving 
threatening telephone calls. 
 
14. (C) In contrast to Hrytsenko, who said a political deal 
was key to resolving the crisis, Tsushko claimed a 
Constitutional Court ruling on the legality of Yushchenko's 
decree was required.  Even if the Constitutional Court 
decided the Presidential decree was constitutional, however, 
Tsushko did not see how the physical preparations for an 
 
SIPDIS 
election could be completed by May 27.  Based on his 
experience and involvement in elections in 1994, 1998, and 
2004, falsification of voter lists could mean that the 
election would not be honest or support a peaceful outcome. 
 
 
15. (U) Visit Embassy Kyiv's classified website: 
www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/kiev. 
Taylor

Wikileaks

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