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08KYIV612, UKRAINE: KOSOVO – GOVERNMENT HOLDS ITS GROUND,

March 25, 2008

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08KYIV612 2008-03-25 03:18 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv

VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHKV #0612/01 0850318
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 250318Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY KYIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5277
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE

C O N F I D E N T I A L KYIV 000612 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT ALSO FOR EUR/UMB, EUR/SCE AND EUR/RPM 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/24/2018 
TAGS: PREL MARR KDEM NATO UNMIK KV UP
SUBJECT: UKRAINE: KOSOVO - GOVERNMENT HOLDS ITS GROUND, 
OPPOSITION SEEKS ADVANTAGE 
 
REF: KYIV 600 
 
Classified By: Ambassador for reasons 1.4 (b,d). 
 
1. (C) Summary: At a March 21 meeting, the National Security 
and Defense Council (NSDC) determined that Ukraine should not 
change the nature of its participation in Kosovo peacekeeping 
activities in the wake of a March 17 incident in Mitrovica, 
Kosovo, during which a Ukrainian policeman was killed. 
Earlier in the day, the opposition Party of Regions attempted 
to make political hay from the controversy by submitting a 
bill calling for the immediate withdrawal of Ukrainian 
peacekeepers from Kosovo.  Parliamentary Speaker Yatsenyuk 
adjourned the session after promising to present the position 
of Parliamentary factions to the NSDC meeting.  (Parliament 
will reconvene April 1.)  In a March 20 meeting with CODEL 
Price, Foreign Minister Ohryzko argued that Ukraine's best 
course should be to remain deliberately vague regarding 
whether or not to recognize Kosovo's independence.  End 
summary. 
 
The Mitrovica Incident 
---------------------- 
 
2. (U) After a March 21 NSDC meeting, Foreign Minister 
Volodymyr Ohryzko reasserted the Ukrainian government's 
intention not to change the nature of its involvement in 
Kosovo peacekeeping activities (reftel) but also sought to 
tamp down the political controversy following an opposition 
Party of Regions resolution in parliament demanding the 
immediate withdrawal of Ukrainian peacekeepers from Kosovo. 
During a press conference, he said that "a withdrawal of the 
peacekeeping contingent from Kosovo is not under 
consideration."  At the same time, he noted that he respected 
parliamentarians' right to debate the issue of Ukraine's 
involvement in Kosovo and said Ukraine would seek higher 
salaries for its servicemen participating in KFOR to reach 
parity with other states.  Ohryzko said Ukraine was awaiting 
the results of a UN inquiry and might ask to participate in a 
follow-up review of UN's handling of the March 17 incident in 
Mitrovica, Kosovo, in which a Ukrainian UNMIK peacekeeper 
died and 20 others were wounded (two seriously). 
 
3. (U) NSDC Secretary Raisa Bohatyryova also issued a 
statement after the NSDC meeting, saying the NSDC had decided 
to continue honoring Ukraine's UN commitments.  The statement 
said, "Peacekeeping and consolidation of efforts with the 
European Union, the United States, Russia and other members 
of the United Nations to maintain peace on the sites of 
current conflicts form the universal and sovereign basis for 
the policy of Ukraine, which is a cofounder of the United 
Nations."  Also on March 21, commander of the Interior 
Ministry's special peacekeeping unit in Kosovo Bohdan Salyuk, 
commander of the special dog unit in Kosovo Svitlana 
Abdrazakova, and commander of the Ukrainian contingent of the 
UN civil police in Kosovo Viktor Drobotenko signed a letter 
urging that decisions regarding deployment of peacekeeping 
units not be taken "under the influence of emotions, much 
less political populism." 
 
4. (U) Earlier on March 21, Parliamentary Speaker Arseniy 
Yatsenyuk forestalled a possible Party of Regions disruption 
of the parliamentary (Verkhovna Rada) session by proposing 
that he would present the Rada political factions' positions 
at the NSDC session and adjourned the session until March 25, 
after Regions deputies grudgingly agreed to this approach and 
allowed other political factions to speak.  Party of Regions 
leader Viktor Yanukovych had announced live on television 
that his party had registered a resolution calling for the 
withdrawal of Ukrainian peacekeepers from Kosovo.  He claimed 
the Ukrainian police contingent had been used as a shield and 
continued that the conflict in Kosovo "was not ours."  He 
said Ukraine would no longer "dance to the tune of those 
global political forces which fan military conflicts across 
the globe."  (Note: The government coalition should be able 
to defeat the resolution, should it come to a vote.) 
European Integration Committee Chairman, and former Foreign 
Minister, Borys Tarasyuk and Rada Speaker Yatsenyuk refuted 
Regions' claim that NATO was responsible for the operation 
conducted by UN policemen. 
 
Kosovo Independence 
------------------- 
 
5. (U) During the press conference after the NSDC meeting, FM 
Ohryzko also responded to questions regarding Ukraine's 
stance on Kosovo independence.  He said Ukraine was 
continuing "very serious" consultations with many countries 
and international organizations to decide whether to 
recognize Kosovo's independence.  Ohryzko was more candid, 
however, during a March 20 meeting with CODEL Price. 
Representative David Price mentioned that the status of 
Kosovo had been a topic during an earlier meeting with 
chairmen of Rada committees in the national sec
urity sphere. 
He had been surprised by a reluctance to recognize Kosovo 
independence that was expressed with surprising unanimity 
across political party lines. 
 
6. (C) Ohryzko responded that Kosovo's status was an 
important issue, regarding which Ukraine had to be cautious 
due to a combination of external and internal factors. 
Internationally, Ukraine exercised a leading position in the 
regional GUAM grouping.  Of the four member states (Georgia, 
Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Moldova), only Ukraine was free of a 
territorial issue resembling Kosovo.  Moldova had 
Transnistria, Georgia had South Ossetia, and Azerbaijan had 
Nagorno-Karabakh.  Since the other three GUAM members had 
clearly stated that they would not recognize Kosovo's 
independence, Ukraine was put in an awkward position. 
Domestically, if it recognized Kosovo's independence, 
Ukraine's political leadership would be the target of strong 
criticism from some political elements; if it did not, 
however, other elements would be equally critical.  Ohryzko 
concluded that the best approach for the moment would be for 
Ukraine not to take a clear position. 
 
7. (C) Ohryzko said the Foreign Ministry had reviewed the 
historical record after Ukraine's declaration of 
independence.  Only 15-16 countries had recognized Ukraine in 
the first month and broad recognition of Ukraine's status had 
taken three to four months, even though there had been no 
legal issues regarding Ukraine's right to declare 
independence under the Soviet constitution.  Ohryzko urged 
the CODEL to be patient, asserting that Ukraine was heading 
in the right direction but that now was not the right time to 
clearly articulate a position. 
 
8. (C) Price responded that, while he understood Ukraine's 
difficulties, he wanted to emphasize that Kosovo's situation 
was unique and had no relation to the numerous conflicts 
regarding regional status that existed elsewhere.  Ohryzko 
noted that Russia was using the Kosovo precedent as an excuse 
to step up its activity in Abkhazia, which Russia recognized 
de facto, if not de jure. 
 
9. (U) Visit Embassy Kyiv's classified website: 
www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/kiev. 
Taylor

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