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December 10, 2007

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07KYIV3034 2007-12-10 13:23 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv


DE RUEHKV #3034/01 3441323
P 101323Z DEC 07

C O N F I D E N T I A L KYIV 003034 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/24/2016 
REF: A. KYIV 2718 
     B. KYIV 2943 
Classified By: Ambassador for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
1.  (C) Summary and Comment.  The Ukrainian Government is 
taking steps to combat the increase in racially-motivated 
crimes in Ukraine this year.  Acting Minister of Interior 
Korniyenko highlighted to the Ambassador several initiatives 
undertaken by the Ministry including increased security for 
diplomatic missions, meetings with expatriate groups, 
meetings with university administrators, and the creation of 
a special MOI unit to investigate crimes committed both 
against and by foreigners.  MOI Deputy Minister Kupianski 
provided details regarding investigations into incidents that 
have occurred in 2007 as compiled by the Embassy.  Korniyenko 
agreed that the MOI should coordinate with other ministries 
and law enforcement bodies, including the Office of the 
Prosecutor General (OPG) and Security Service of Ukraine 
(SBU).  In a separate meeting Ministry of Foreign Affairs' 
(MFA) newly appointed Ambassador at Large to Combat 
Xenophobia, Racism, and Discrimination Oleksandr Horin told 
the Ambassador that he will coordinate efforts between the 
MFA and other ministries in this area and he outlined several 
proposals to include creation of an inter-agency task force, 
provision of tolerance education in schools, improvement of 
accurate media reporting on xenophobia, and an increase in 
video surveillance in public areas.  Horin also mentioned 
that he was following the property dispute between the city 
of Uman's Jewish community and a Ukrainian construction 
company over the grave site of one of the most important 
religious figures for Hassidic Jews, Rabbi Nachman. 
2.  (C) Comment.  We were impressed by Korniyenko's openness 
and how seriously his staff reviewed our list of incidents to 
prepare for the meeting.  They have made progress in 
acknowledging the seriousness of the problem since a previous 
meeting last May.  However, we think that the MOI special 
unit's dual mission of investigating crimes by and against 
foreigners may not be the most effective set-up and could 
lead to racial profiling.  It also remains to be seen when 
the unit will become fully operational.  We will support 
Ambassador Horin's efforts to encourage much needed 
coordination between the MOI, PGO, and SBU as well as to act 
as a point of contact within the MFA to respond to the 
international community's concerns.  End Summary and Comment 
Acting Minister of Interior Not Defensive, cites Progress 
--------------------------------------------- ------------ 
3.  (C) Acting Minister of Interior Korniyenko met with the 
Ambassador and his counterparts from Israel, Egypt, Germany, 
Nigeria, and the UK, as well as the head of the Kyiv office 
of the International Office of Migration (IOM) Jeffrey 
Labovitz, on November 29.  The meeting was held at the 
Ambassador's request in order to obtain an update on steps 
taken by the MOI to fight the recent increase in 
racially-motivated crime.  Korniyenko was accompanied by 
Deputy Ministers Kupianski, Bodnar, Fatkhutdinov, Marmazov, 
the head of the International Relations Department Kaliuk, 
and the MOI's department chief for Kyiv Lieutenant General 
Krykun.  (Embassy note:  The Ambassador, along with several 
of his counterparts, met with Korniyenko on May 14, 2007, to 
discuss the same issue.  End note.) 
4.  (C) Korniyenko, who appeared more open and less defensive 
than at the meeting in May, highlighted several steps taken 
over the past months to address the problem of attacks 
against foreigners and people of non-Slavic appearance.  He 
said that MOI had taken steps to increase security for 
diplomatic missions in Kyiv, met with expatriate groups, met 
with university administrators where several of these 
incidents have occurred, and directed regional and city 
police to make fighting racially-motivated crime a priority. 
He noted that the MOI established a special unit in August to 
investigate crimes committed both against and by foreigners. 
(Comment:  Human rights groups object to the unit's task of 
investigating crimes committed by foreigners since this could 
reinforce stereotypes that certain ethnic groups are prone to 
commit crimes and could also result in racial profiling.  End 
Comment)  Korniyenko noted that the MOI has also established 
an action plan to fight racially-motivated crime, established 
public councils including human rights NGO participation, and 
cooperated with mobile monitoring groups that monitor prison 
Deputy MOI Responds to Embassy's List of Incidents 
--------------------------------------------- ----- 
5.  (C) Deputy Minister Kupianski gave a detailed response to 
a list of violent incidents in 2007 targeting foreigners, 
mostly of non-Slavic heritage, compiled and presented by the 
Embassy to the MOI in advance of the meeting.  (Comment:  We 
compiled this list from media reports, human rights 
monitoring websites, and information provided to the Embassy 
by U.S. citizens.  The Ambassador has shared this list with 
numerous senior-level Ukrainian government officials &
#x000A;including PM Viktor Yanukovych, possible next PM Yuliya 
Tymoshenko and former FM Yatsenyuk.  End comment.)  Kupianski 
explained that the MOI had instructed police officers to meet 
with youths involved in skinhead groups (and their parents) 
to try to dissuade them from accepting the skinheads, 
intolerant ideology.  According to Kupianski, the police 
found that parents often had no idea their children were 
involved in these groups and that the police intervention had 
yielded positive results. 
6.  (C) Kupianski explained that 256 of the 353 crimes 
committed against non-CIS country foreigners had been solved, 
with the vast majority of these crimes involving robbery, 
theft, extortion and other similar crimes.  (Comment: 
Korniyenko mentioned that there were 1,032 crimes committed 
against foreigners in 2007, however this number included 
victims from CIS countries.  End Comment).  Kupianski said 
the MOI was aware of 11 of the cases involving grave bodily 
injury or death in 2007 with one case still under 
investigation.  He said that motives, including xenophobia, 
racism, and religious intolerance, were always considered by 
investigators but could only be determined onced the suspect 
was detained.  He explained that the MOI reviewed the 
Embassy's list of violent incidents and of the 40 cases 
listed, 20 criminal cases had been initiated, 12 suspects had 
been identified, and in 13 cases there was not enough 
evidence to confirm a crime had been committed.  The MOI was 
not aware of seven cases on the list, all reported by the 
media, but was trying to confirm what occurred. 
Diplomats Acknowledge Progress, See Need for Improvement 
--------------------------------------------- ----------- 
7.  (C) When asked by IOM Head Jeffrey Labovitz about MOI 
coordination with other ministries and law enforcement 
bodies, Korniyenko stated that the SBU and OPG had expressed 
interest in the MOI's action plan and he agreed with Israeli 
Ambassador Kalay-Kleitman that the MOI should cooperate with 
the SBU's recently established foreign crime unit.  In 
response to Labovitz's concern about the lack of prosecutions 
under Ukraine's article 161 of the Criminal Code on inciting 
ethnic, racial, or religious hatred, Korniyenko noted that 
the hate crime law stipulates a five-year maximum penalty 
while prosecution for assault and murder have stiffer 
penalties.  His preference was to charge perpetrators of 
racially-motivated crime for more serious offenses when 
possible, or at least combining such charges with hate crime 
charges, to impose the greatest punishment allowed by the 
8.  (C) When asked by the German DCM what the MOI was doing 
to prevent crimes and raise public awareness, General 
Fatkhudinov explained that the MOI was creating a system to 
educate and train police officers and police cadets on 
combating xenophobia in preparation for the upcoming 2012 
European soccer championship to be co-hosted by Ukraine and 
Poland.  He added that the MOI wanted to increase video 
surveillance in public places and station more security - 
either private or MOI - at synagogues and Jewish schools.  He 
added that they were paying particular attention to soccer 
fan clubs where skinheads tend to congregate.  He said the 
MOI was open to exchanges with foreign police forces to gain 
from their experiences. 
9.  (C) The Nigerian Charge expressed frustration with the 
slow progress in the trial of three men accused of murdering 
a Nigerian citizen in 2006, one of whom is being tried for 
committing a hate crime (see ref B).  Korniyenko explained 
that the Ministry of Justice, and not the MOI is responsible 
for the court proceedings but assured her that he would look 
into delays in transporting the defendants to court, an MOI 
responsibility, which had caused the hearing to be postponed 
twice.  Korniyenko also assured Israel's ambassador that the 
MOI was actively carrying out President Yushchenko's orders 
to fight xenophobic and anti-Semitic crimes (see ref A) and 
cited examples such as regional police meetings with Jewish 
communities, and greater cooperation with the SBU in 
exchanging information, and joint operations with the SBU to 
investigate hate crimes. 
Ambassador meets with MFA Ambassador at Large on Xenophobia 
--------------------------------------------- -------------- 
10.  (C) The Ambassador met with the MFA's newly appointed 
Ambassador at Large to Combat Xenophobia, Racism, and 
Discrimination Oleksandr Horin on November 30.  Horin 
requested the meeting to introduce himself and explain his 
responsibilities.  Horin, who was appointed to this 
newly-created position on November 13, previously served as 
Ukraine's Ambassador to Singapore and Brunei.  The MFA 
announced that this position was established to coordinate 
efforts between the MFA and other GoU ministries. 
11.  (C) Horin confirmed that he will coordinate activities 
to fight xenophobia, adding that President Yushchenko's 
mandate to establish this position gave him the authority 
needed to accomplish his job.  He acknowledged that 
xenophobia and racism will be hard to eradicate from 
Ukrainian society and that the GOU will have to use a 
"multi-pronged" approach rather than only law enforcement. 
His vision of a multi-pronged approach included new 
legislation to meet international standards, improved 
coordination of government activities through the creation of 
an inter-agency task force, the promotion of tolerance 
through educational programs at schools, and the development 
of media standards to encourage more balanced and 
professional reporting on racism and xenophobia. 
12.  (C) Horin noted that the creation of special foreign 
crime units at the MOI and SBU showed that the GOU now 
recognizes the problem of hate crime and that it was 
important for Ukrainians to understand that these incidents 
were damaging its international image.  Although Horin 
acknowledged there is a problem, he noted that statistics 
show that other European countries have higher levels of hate 
crimes.  He opined that xenophobia can be tied to low living 
standards and Ukraine's history of anti-Semitism.  Horin drew 
a sharp distinction between traditional anti-Semitism, which 
he acknowledged still exists in Ukrainian society, and the 
virulent and violent ideology seen from extremist "skinhead" 
groups, which he believes have backing from Russia.  He found 
repugnant MAUP's attempt to play the role of victim, fighting 
in the courts to defend academic freedom, and stated the SBU 
needed to do more to investigate MAUP's funding, especially 
from external sources that Horin called "significant." (Note: 
 MAUP, the Interregional Academy of Personnel Management, is 
a private commuter university and Ukraine's largest purveyor 
of anti-Semitic rhetoric. End note.) 
13.  (C) Horin said he would soon meet with the Foreign 
Minister to discuss his plans for
an inter-agency task force 
on xenophobia and the establishment of public councils, to 
include NGO participation.  His suggestions will include an 
increased security presence at university campuses and 
increased video surveillance in public areas.  He expressed 
interest in visiting other countries to gain insight on 
different methods of combating xenophobia and seemed most 
interested in the U.S. model.  Horin was also exploring other 
approaches, such as Singapore's, which he felt used a more 
authoritarian approach.  He added that Israel and Ukraine had 
agreed to cooperate in historical research on UPA (Ukrainian 
Insurgent Army) leader Roman Shukevych's role as a partisan 
leader in World War Two and his alleged collaboration with 
Nazi war criminals. 
Will oversee Dispute over Rabbi Nachman's Gravesite 
--------------------------------------------- ------ 
14.  (C) Horin confirmed the MFA's announcement that he will 
work to resolve a property dispute between the Breslav 
Hassidim and a Ukrainian owned construction company in Uman, 
which could result in the transfer of ownership of Rabbi 
Nachman's grave site to the non-Jewish Ukrainian company. 
Horin promised to review each side's arguments scrupulously 
and agreed with the Ambassador on the importance that the 
annual pilgrimage and religious observances at the venerated 
site should not be disrupted by the property dispute. 
15. (U) Visit Embassy Kyiv's classified website: 




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