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08KYIV1201, UKRAINE: NATO SYG/NAC VISIT

June 20, 2008

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08KYIV1201 2008-06-20 14:46 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv

VZCZCXYZ0022
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHKV #1201/01 1721446
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 201446Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY KYIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5879
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L KYIV 001201 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/20/2018 
TAGS: NATO PGOV PREL UP
SUBJECT: UKRAINE: NATO SYG/NAC VISIT 
 
Classified By: Ambassador for reasons 1.4 (b,d) 
 
1. (C) Summary and Comment.  The June 16-17 visit to Kyiv and 
Ukraine's regional capitals by NATO Secretary General de Hoop 
Scheffer and the North Atlantic Council (NAC) was seen as a 
strong positive by the MFA and Ukrainian pro-NATO political 
forces.  Extensive positive press coverage, the constructive 
and forward-leaning participation of PM Tymoshenko, the 
limited size and scope of protests, and the opportunity for 
delegation members to visit regional capitals and interact 
with civil society contributed to the positive assessment. 
The engagement by SYG de Hoop Scheffer in addressing local 
NATO myths (future NATO bases in Ukraine, forced 
participation in operations, etc) and countering Russian 
claims regarding negative consequences of NATO membership was 
much appreciated by the Ukrainian hosts.  Russian saber 
rattling in the run-up to the visit was ultimately seen in 
Kyiv as a net positive, potentially driving undecided 
Ukrainians away from the Russian position towards a 
reappraisal of closer ties with NATO. Continued measured 
engagement by Allies and support for the evolving NATO 
Information Campaign should produce positive results in 
broadening and informing the domestic debate in the run-up to 
the December Ministerial; continued domestic infighting and 
the specter of possible early elections remain unhelpful in 
creating the necessary political stability to counter MAP 
skeptics at Brussels. End Summary and Comment. 
 
MFA Very Pleased with Visit Outcome 
----------------------------------- 
 
2. (C) Our MFA NATO interlocutors believe the visit was 
extremely successful, noting especially the strong positive 
signals sent by PM Tymoshenko during her two meetings with 
the NATO delegation.  PM Tymoshenko's constructive role 
during the NAC meeting with President Yushchenko and the 
National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) and her strong 
statements during the subsequent meeting held with the 
Cabinet of Ministers were underlined by MFA NATO Deputy 
Director General Prystaiko.  Prystaiko noted the PM's support 
of MAP was more direct and forceful than during any previous 
NATO exchange, especially her statements that "I signed the 
MAP request letter and I stand by it," and "I want MAP in 
December."  Tymoshenko did maintain her more nuanced position 
on NATO/MAP in her public statements, emphasizing the need 
for the coalition to work together, focusing on former PM 
Yanukovych's support of NATO membership while in office, and 
underscoring that the question of membership would be decided 
by referendum. 
 
3. (C) Some attendees confided to the MFA that they had 
received Russian demarches in their capitals trying to derail 
the NAC visit, which Prystaiko described as clumsy and 
ultimately counterproductive.  The visit sent a strong signal 
of support to pro-NATO forces in Ukraine, according to 
Prystaiko, and countered any sense that a spate of recent 
Russian warnings would weaken either the government's resolve 
to achieve MAP or NATO's continued support of Ukraine's 
further integration into the Euroatlantic community.  The MFA 
believed Moscow's hard-line stance, combined with harshly 
anti-Ukrainian reporting in Russian media (seen in most of 
Ukraine) was increasingly pushing undecided Ukrainians into 
the pro-NATO camp. 
 
4. (C) The MFA was also very pleased with the proactive 
stance taken by SYG de Hoop Scheffer, noting his strong 
statements regarding NATO membership strengthening Ukraine's 
sovereignty and his rebuttal of Russian claims that NATO 
membership would gut Ukraine's defense industry and lead to 
the imposition of a visa regime with Russia.  The relatively 
low turnout of anti-NATO protesters and appearance of NATO 
supporters (primarily from the "NATO Tak" movement launched 
by the People's Union Our Ukraine (PUOU) party) was also 
viewed as a positive.  The 1,000 anti-NATO protesters who 
attempted to disrupt the NAC visit to Dnipropetrovsk were met 
by 300 NATO supporters -- and the demonstrations remained 
relatively peaceful without injuries or arrests reported. 
 
Germany Stands Out 
------------------ 
 
5. (C) The MFA noted also the "negative" approach taken by 
the German PermRep during the various meetings, which was in 
some instances viewed as an attempt to walk back the 
Bucharest Communique language.  The upcoming July 21 visit by 
Chancellor Merkel to Kyiv is viewed by the MFA as an 
opportunity to judge the level of resistance in Berlin to 
granting MAP in December.  Prystaiko described the German 
position as "dug-in" and said that the GOU would avoid direct 
confrontation on the issue, while trying to engage in a 
conversation on specific German concerns. (Embassy note. 
Ambassador Taylor has discussed with DFM Khandohiy and Deputy 
Head of the Presidential Secretariat Chaliy the need to avoid 
forcing Merkel to take a public position on MAP during the 
visit.  They agreed that this must be avoided, as her 
response would be negative and foreclose any chance at a 
positive outcome in December.  End note.) 
 
Russia Maintains the Pressure 
----------------------------- 
 
6. (U) The NATO delegation visit was preceded on June 14 by 
the celebration of the 225th anniversary of Sevastopol, 
headquarters of Russia's Black Sea Fleet (BSF).  Russian 
First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov attended and used 
the occasion to fire several rhetorical warning shots 
regarding Ukraine's NATO aspirations.  He noted that trade 
and industrial ties between Russia and Ukraine were sure to 
decrease following Ukrainian NATO accession, underlining that 
cooperation in the defense sector would cease.  He also 
opined that NATO was sure to force Ukraine to introduce a 
visa regime for Russia, thereby "complicating family, 
economic, and business ties of millions of Russians having 
relatives in Ukraine."  He added that U.S., British, and 
German tourists would not flock to Crimea to replace Russian 
visitors. The Ukrainian MFA responded in a statement that 
NATO and visas are unconnected issues as NATO membership, 
unlike EU membership, does not entail a visa regime with 
neighboring countries. 
 
7. (U) Ivanov also spoke about the future of Russia's BSF 
base in Sevastopol, noting that "From its (Sevastopol's) 
founding, it was inseparably linked with the Russian Empire, 
the Soviet Union, the entire population of Russia."  He also 
argued that the BSF defended not only Russian interests, but 
the southern borders of Ukraine as well.  In an oblique 
reference to the increased focus by Kyiv on the need to 
withdraw the BSF by the 2017 deadline, Ivanov said that "Loud 
blackmail, threats, and deviousness are something that have 
never produced good results."  Recent statements by Russian 
NATO Ambassador Rogozin predicting a popular uprising in 
Crimea if Ukraine joined NATO also received press coverage in 
Ukraine. 
 
8. (U) In addition, a June 13 Russian Foreign Ministry 
statement on purported illegal Ukrainian oil exploration 
activity in the Black Sea was widely interpreted as another 
signal of Moscow's displeasure with Ukraine's NATO overtures. 
 The Ukrainian MFA fired back with a statement that all 
exploration was taking place in areas clearly within 
Ukrainian territory and that claims of activity in any 
disputed areas were false.  Former Ukrainian Foreign Minister 
Borys Tarasyuk (current head of the Rada's European 
Integration Committee) presented the Russian charge as an 
attempt to question the existing border delineation in the 
Kerch strait and Sea of Azov and to signal Russia's continued 
intention to destabilize Ukraine. 
 
Euro 2008 Soccer Championship's NATO Angle 
------------------------------------------ 
 
9. (U) A very successful pro-NATO TV ad placement during 
half-time of Euro 2008 soccer games is creating a lot of buzz 
in Ukraine.  The 30-second spots highlight details about the 
two contesting countries, noting especially their membership 
in the EU and NATO -- effectively portraying NATO as an 
organization of "normal, friendly, open" countries, as 
described by one Embassy contact.  The ads also tie into the 
pride Ukrainians feel about hosting the upcoming 2012 
championship and enhance the focus on a "Western" 
orientation.  Mission will explore with GOU NATO Information 
Campaign leadership other opportunities for emphasizing focus 
on NATO members and sense of community this evokes in 
Ukrainian population. 
 
10. (U) Visit Embassy Kyiv's classified website: 
www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/kiev. 
TAYLOR

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