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August 28, 2008

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08KYIV1706 2008-08-28 11:09 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv


DE RUEHKV #1706/01 2411109
P 281109Z AUG 08

C O N F I D E N T I A L KYIV 001706 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/06/2017 
REF: A. STATE 91894 
     B. STATE 89769 
     C. STATE 91908 
Classified By: Ambassador William B. Taylor for reasons 1.4 (b, and d) 
1.  (C) Summary:  The Government of Ukraine has made strong 
public statements condemning Russia's decision to recognize 
South Ossetia and Abkhazia.  In both public statements and in 
meetings with the Ambassador, Democratic Coalition leaders 
remain committed to Euro-Atlantic collective security and to 
Georgia's territorial integrity while the leader of the 
opposition Party of Regions publicly spoke in favor of 
Russia's position.  The Presidential Secretariat provided the 
Ambassador with excerpts of a letter from President Medvedev 
to President Yushchenko, which in strong language condemned 
Yushchneko's support for Georgia and his decrees regulating 
Russia's Black Sea Fleet.  Deputy Foreign Minister Khandogiy 
told the Ambassador that Ukraine will continue to address the 
crisis in Georgia with a balanced approach to Russia, firmly 
asserting its security prerogatives while trying not to 
provoke Russia.  The Ambassador delivered reftel demarches to 
Deputy Foreign Minister Khandogiy 
MFA Strongly Condemns Russian Position 
2.  (U) On August 26, in a strongly worded statement, 
Ukraine's MFA stated that Russia's decision to recognize 
South Ossetia and Abkhazia was a "gross violation of the 
norms and principles of international law (and) bilateral and 
multinational treaties...."   It went on to state that "the 
actual annexation of part of Georgia's territory through the 
creation of puppet regimes and support for them is evidence 
that the doctrine of the 'law of force' in resolving 
international problems is being reinvigorated in the Russian 
Federation."   The MFA "categorically" condemned Russia's 
decision and called on the international community to join 
efforts to maintain the territorial integrity of Georgia and 
implementation of Russia's international obligations. 
Leaders Take Sides 
3.  (U) On August 27, President Yushchenko stated that 
Ukraine does not support Russia's decision and stressed the 
inviolability of the principle of territorial integrity of 
any country.  He told the press that Ukraine regrets Russia's 
decision and found it unacceptable.  He stated that Ukraine 
is ready to participate in restoring Georgia's territorial 
integrity and that Russia's recognition of the territories 
"threatens peace and stability in our region and in 
Europe..."  Prime Minister Tymoshenko stated on August 27 
that her government supports Georgia's territorial integrity 
and that "Georgian territory is a sacred issue both for 
Georgia and Ukraine", she told reporters.  Vice PM Hryhoriy 
Nemyrya of BYuT stated August 26 that Ukraine's position on 
Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity remains 
unchanged.  He added that "Ukraine has been supporting 
Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity.  This 
position is based on principle and is unchangeable", he said. 
 OU-PSD faction leader Vayacheslav Krylenko told the press 
that Our Ukraine condemns facilitation of separatist 
movements and supports Georgia's territorial integrity. 
Speaker of the Rada Arsiniy Yatsenyuk said that the conflict 
in Georgia will have serious consequences for geopolitical 
security and that it is violation of international law.  He 
went on to say that only the UN has the right to decide on 
the independence of the territories, and also noted that 
Kosovo's independence was far from complying with 
international laws. 
4.  (U) Leader of the Party of Regions and former Prime 
Minister Yanukovych told the press on August 26 that Ukraine 
should support the will of the people of Abkhazia and South 
Ossetia and back their independence.  He stated that Russia's 
decision was a "logical" consequence of the West's decision 
to recognize Kosovo.  Regions' MP Taras Chornovil took a more 
cautious approach telling reporters that Ukraine should 
follow international law when recognizing new states, the way 
it did with Kosovo.  In the case of South Ossetia and 
Abkhazia, international laws were violated said Chornovil. 
He said that if Ukraine recognizes these regions, it will 
open itself up to problems in Crimea and Transdniestria. 
Serhiy Tsekov, First Deputy Speaker of Crimea's Parliament, 
told the press on August 26 that that he supported Russian 
recognition.  He explained that he supports their position 
because of referendums in the breakaway regions indicating 
public support for independence and noted that the 
international community set an example by recognizing Kosovo 
as an independent state. 
Medvedev writes to Yushchenko about "Deep Resentment" 
5.  (C) In a meeting with Presidential Secretariat Deputy 
Goncharuk on August 26, the Ambassador was given an excerpt 
of a letter he said
 was from Russian President Medvedev to 
President Yushchenko.  Goncharuk expressed shock at the tone. 
 Post's translations of the letter's excerpt reads: 
"I must frankly say that the position of the Ukrainian 
authorities regarding Georgia's aggression arouses deep 
resentment in Russia.  Official Kiev has in fact taken the 
side of Saakashvili's criminal regime, which it actively 
armed during recent years, including supplies of heavy 
weapons.   One still has to look into the role of Ukrainian 
military experts in training the Georgian army, and their 
actions during military operations against South Ossetia. 
Attempts to hush that up will fail. 
I would also like to caution you against new ill-considered 
actions regarding the Russian Federation's Black Sea Fleet, 
which we keep in our special focus.  The fleet is acting in 
strict accordance with international agreements and 
directives issued by me as the Commander-in-Chief. 
Unqualified interference in these matters may have a negative 
impact on the range of Russian-Ukrainian relations." 
Deputy FM says that Ukraine will seek a Balanced Approach 
--------------------------------------------- ------ 
6.  (C) On August 27, Ambassador Taylor met with Deputy 
Foreign Minister Khandogiy to deliver reftel demarches.  When 
the Ambassador raised Ref A points, Kandogiy referred to the 
MFA's statement of August 26 condemning Russia's decision to 
recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia noting that the Russian 
move was "unfortunate" but not surprising.   He mentioned 
that the situation had changed significantly in the Caucuses 
because of Russia's decision.  He said the MFA was reviewing 
steps it could take to address the situation with NATO MAP 
being the strongest step to improve Ukraine's security.  He 
explained that the MFA was engaging with its partners and had 
noticed a possible positive shift in Germany's position 
toward Ukraine's desire for MAP in recent statements by 
Chancellor Merkel.   He told the Ambassador that Ukraine was 
also considering a call for Russia and other signatories to 
observe security guarantees it made in the 1994 Budapest 
Memorandum and that it would also look to reinforce security 
provisions within international organizations including the 
OSCE and UN as well as work to expand security cooperation 
through bilateral agreements. 
7.  (C) When asked by the Ambassador if Members of Parliament 
had had changed their views on Euro-Atlantic integration 
because of the crisis in Georgia, Khandogiy replied that 
little had changed in regards to the positions of the main 
political parties but it was still too early to be sure.  He 
agreed that the Party of Region's statement in support of 
Russia's position was disappointing but hoped that Yanukovych 
would at least not attempt to disrupt the already tenuous 
unity of the ruling Rada coalition.  Khandogiy agreed that 
the current coalition was the best option for Ukraine at the 
moment and that the "democratic" forces had to take the 
stability of the country especially seriously at this time. 
He opined that public opinion may have become more favorable 
towards the Government's pro-NATO stance because of Russia's 
recent actions. 
8.  (C)  In response to the Ambassador's discussion of Ref B 
points, Khandogiy said that Ukraine would take a balanced 
approached towards Russia, firm but not overly provocative. 
He said a firm stance was needed because Russia has a 
tendency to exploit signs of weakness, but he agreed with the 
Ambassador that unnecessarily provoking Russia was not in 
Ukraine's best interest.  He explained that Ukraine's intent 
to join NATO and recent presidential decrees to regulate 
movement of Russia's Black Sea Fleet based in Ukraine were 
legitimate policies to promote Ukraine's security, and not 
intended to antagonize anyone.  He mentioned President 
Medvedev's recent letter to President Yushchenko noting that 
the Russians sometimes take on an arrogant tone and seem to 
forget that the agreements on the basing of the Black Sea 
Fleet include respect for Ukrainian law.  He said that 
Ukraine was considering a call to change the format of the 
peacekeeping force in Georgia with the UN General Assembly, 
noting that its mandate will be extended on October 15. 
9.  (C) When asked about Serbia's proposal to refer Kosovo's 
declaration of independence to the International Court of 
Justice (Ref C), Khandogiy replied that he would have to 
study the issue before he could provide Ukraine's position on 
the issue.  Khandogiy confirmed that the GoU was still 
considering its position on Kosovo independence and mentioned 
a strong legal argument would have to be made to clearly 
separate the issue of Kosovo independence and the 
independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.  The Ambassador 
reiterated the USG position on the legality of Kosovo's 




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