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May 24, 2007

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07KYIV1243 2007-05-24 14:01 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv


DE RUEHKV #1243/01 1441401
P 241401Z MAY 07

C O N F I D E N T I A L KYIV 001243 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/24/2016 
Classified By: Ambassador for reasons 1.4(a,b,d). 
1.  (SBU) Undersecretary Sega:  We look forward to welcoming 
you to Kyiv.  For more than seven weeks Ukraine has been in 
political turmoil and paralysis as the President and Prime 
Minister search for ways to reach agreement on a date for 
pre-term parliamentary elections and a way forward on 
resolving contradictions in a newly-amended constitution that 
came into force in 2006 with existing law.  During your Kyiv 
meetings, I recommend that you raise the following themes 
with your counterparts: 
-- Good Partners:  Ukraine has been a good partner and we 
hope it will remain so in the future.  We appreciate 
Ukraine's ongoing and past contributions to coalition 
operations and Ukraine's support for U.S. policies/operations 
in Kosovo, Iraq, and Afghanistan.  We look forward to 
strengthening our relationship. 
-- As appropriate, you may wish to reiterate our position on 
the current political crisis.  Our approach is that the 
problem is Ukraine's to solve, but we urge all parties to 
take responsibility for their supporters and not permit 
street demonstrations to deteriorate into violence.  We 
support a solution to the current crisis that is consistent 
with Ukraine's recent democratic past. 
President and PM Continue to Search for Agreement 
--------------------------------------------- ---- 
2.  (SBU) Ukraine may be heading into early parliamentary 
elections sometime this year as the continuing political 
power struggle between President Yushchenko on the one hand 
and PM Yanukovych's Cabinet and the Rada (parliament) on the 
other has led to deadlock within the government.  In the two 
years and a half since the Orange Revolution and Viktor 
Yushchenko became President, Ukraine has been feeling its way 
forward on democratic development and Euro-Atlantic 
integration.  Internecine squabbling in the Orange camp 
slowed reform in key areas during Yushchenko's first 18 
months in office.  In March 2006, Ukraine held fully free and 
fair Rada elections for the first time since independence; 
after months of political wrangling, a new coalition emerged 
in August to form a government led by PM Yanukovych, 
Yushchenko's 2004 opponent. 
3.  (SBU) Poorly-crafted new constitutional amendments, 
introduced in January 2006, created ambiguities in the 
division of authority between the President and PM, leading 
to the current political power struggle.  This conflict came 
to a head in early April when Yushchenko issued a decree 
disbanding the Rada and calling for preterm parliamentary 
elections.   The Rada and Prime Minister ignored the decree 
and appealed to the Constitutional Court for a ruling on its 
constitutionality--the Court has not yet issued an opinion. 
Both sides initially turned their supporters onto the 
streets, but the President and PM reached a general agreement 
on May 4 to hold early parliamentary elections and implement 
certain legislative changes that President Yushchenko wanted, 
although the date for a new vote is still a point of 
contention.  Security, military, and law enforcement 
structures have been careful to remain professional and 
outside this fray.  Our policy is not to prescribe an outcome 
to the Ukrainians, but we have urged all sides to refrain 
from violence and to seek a solution consistent with 
Ukraine's democratic norms. 
4.  (SBU) Despite all the political maneuvering, Yanukovych 
and Yushchenko share a strategic goal of Ukraine joining the 
EU and NATO, although they differ on timing and tactics.  For 
example, Yanukovych in a key speech at NATO last September 14 
made clear Ukraine supported deepened cooperation with NATO 
and an information campaign about NATO but would not ask for 
a Membership Action Plan (MAP), as desired by Yushchenko and 
Defense Minister Hrytsenko.  While defense reform has 
continued forward progress, wider security sector reform has 
been slowed by the political wrangling and the return of a 
number of reform-averse figures to the Ministry of Interior 
in particular. 
Other Issues of Interest: NATO and Russia 
5.  (SBU) NATO has become the most contentious issue in 
Ukraine's security/foreign affairs sphere; public opinion, 
based on outdated Soviet-era stereotypes and fanned by two 
electoral cycles, remains largely negative, even though the 
overwhelming majority of Ukraine's policy and defense experts 
support NATO membership as soon as possible.  Within days of 
taking office, new FM Yatsenyuk visited Brussels (March 26) 
to meet with the NATO Secretary General as well as key EU 
officials; after his April 16 visit to Moscow, Yatsenyuk just 
concluded a good April 30-May 1 visit to Washington.  PM 
Yanukovych has set the current government policy as 
supportive of cooperation with NATO, but not actively 
pursuing membership via a MAP or pursuing an information 
campaign that might help improve popular attitudes toward 
6.  (SBU) Relations with Russia, al
ways complex, feature 
energy issues as the current dominant factor, not to 
Ukraine's advantage; the status of the Russian Black Sea 
Fleet and its lease on facilities in Crimea through 2017 is 
another key element in the bilateral relationship.  The 
Yanukovych Government managed to conclude a positive price 
deal for the 2007 winter season soon after coming to power, 
although it is not clear if the price came at the cost of 
other national interests.  While Russia clearly hopes to take 
control of Ukrainian energy infrastructure, the Ukrainian 
government has held the line against Russian acquisition of 
gas pipelines. 
Defense Situation: Continued Reform, Difficult Environment 
--------------------------------------------- ------------- 
7.  (SBU) Defense Minister Anatoliy Hrytsenko, one of two 
ministers (along with FM Yatsenyuk) nominated by Yushchenko, 
continues to push his aggressive defense reform program, 
amidst renewed efforts by some in the majority coalition to 
remove him for his outspoken loyalty to President 
Yushchenko's agenda.  Unfortunately, lack of adequate 
funding, continued political uncertainty, and some 
misdirected policies have increased the level of frustration 
among senior military officers who are ordered to implement 
the programs.  Major programs are moving forward, but not 
without problems and delays.  The Armed Forces are creating 
professional NCOs, but many are choosing to leave military 
service because of dissatisfaction with pay and housing. Lack 
of combat training funds continues to take a toll on 
equipment, readiness, and morale.  The uncertainty about the 
future composition of the Ministry of Defense and a possible 
change in speed or direction it may take with regard to 
Euro-Atlantic integration is causing many senior officers to 
hunker down in the trenches until the dust settles. Hrytsenko 
continues to be outspoken regarding NATO membership and the 
lack of an adequate military budget, but has been able to 
work with the Yanukovych government. 
8.  (SBU) The Ukrainian General Staff and the Ground Forces 
have consistently reiterated their intent to continue 
modernization and reform along a path toward NATO MAP 
readiness independent of on-going political uncertainty. They 
have maintained that their objective is to meet NATO 
standards in anticipation that eventual political 
circumstances will permit receipt of a MAP. 
9.  (SBU) Despite cancellation of the land portion of SEA 
BREEZE (SB) 2006 exercise, the U.S.  and Ukraine conducted 
two highly successful training exercises in 2006 (RAPID 
TRIDENT and ROUGH AND READY).  In addition, lessons gleaned 
from Ex SB06 have led to much improved interagency planning 
and coordination among Ukrainian ministries concerning 
logistics and force protection. 
10.  (C) Under Ukrainian law, the participation in exercises 
by foreign units on Ukrainian territory requires 
parliamentary approval each year.  With President 
Yushchenko's April 2 dissolution of the Parliament, the 
status of the 2007 foreign exercise law is currently 
uncertain.  The Rada majority, which continued to work 
despite the presidential decree, approved the 2007 exercise 
authorization legislation April 6, but Yushchenko refuses to 
recognize any actions taken by the Rada after April 2.  The 
Ukrainian constitution has provisions that will permit the 
Rada to promulgate a law, such as the exercise legislation, 
even if the president refuses to sign it, but the Rada has so 
far chosen not to use those provisions, instead preferring to 
hold the bill frozen in an effort to force the President to 
sign the law.  Interim guidance from Commander EUCOM, based 
on our input and EUCOM J5 concurrence, is to continue 
planning for all exercises pending greater clarity in the 
political situation. 
11.  (SBU) During the on-going political turmoil surrounding 
the Rada dissolution and attendant street protests, the 
General Staff and Ground Forces have remained studiously 
quiet.  No uniformed figure has made any public comments 
concerning divisive issues.  Only Defense Minister Hrytsenko 
has commented on the situation.  He has reiterated the 
constitutional role of President Yushchenko as Commander in 
Chief and "Guarantor of the Constitution," while making clear 
the armed forces will only act within the framework of the 
Current Operations outside of Ukraine 
12.  (SBU) Ukraine currently has contingents and personnel 
serving in various operations in nine countries. 
13.  (SBU) Iraq.  Ukraine maintains 43 personnel in Iraq 
currently; it is the only non-NATO country to have trainers 
involved in NATO's Iraq training mission.  Forty personnel 
serve on headquarters staffs and in training of Iraqi forces. 
 Three personnel serve in the NATO training mission training 
Iraqi security personnel.  (Note:   One of the three was 
severely wounded by an IED and has returned to Ukraine.  End 
14.  (SBU) Kosovo.  Ukraine recently completed a rotation in 
which, for the first time, a formed and intact unit deployed 
as opposed to a unit which was created from personnel from 
several different units.  Ukraine has a contingent of 182 
personnel in Kosovo serving in the UKRPOLBAT and headquarters 
staffs.  Two personnel serve on U.S. staffs. 
15.  (SBU) UN Peacekeeping Mission, Liberia.  Ukraine 
maintains a helicopter unit in Liberia with a contingent of 
301 personnel. 
16.  (SBU) Lebanon.  The United Nations ordered Ukrainian 
Forces to depart Lebanon in April 2006 after a July 2005 UN 
investigation of alleged corruption activities by the 
leadership of their engineering battalion serving in UNIFIL. 
This engineering battalion went to Lebanon under the Kuchma 
regime (prior to the Orange Revolution).  Since this 
incident, Minister Hrytsenko has implemented several measures 
to prevent and guard against unlawful activities during 
deployed operations.  Ukraine offered military troops for 
Lebanon to assist in their 2006 crisis but that offer was 
rejected by the UN.  Currently, Ukraine is coordinating with 
Italy and Belgium to send medical personnel to Lebanon with 
Italian/Belgian forces. 
17.  (SBU) Afghanistan.  Ukraine provided airlift to 
transport the Southeast European Brigade Headquarters to 
Afghanistan in February 2006.  Ukraine has sent one medical 
doctor with the Lithuanian PRT and may send up to ten 
personnel.  Due to its history in Afghanistan during the 
Soviet-Afghanistan war, in which Ukrainians bore a 
disproportionate brunt of Soviet casualties, Ukraine will not 
entertain sending combat troops. 
18.  (U)  Visit Kyiv's classified website: 




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