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08KYIV1968, ICRC RECONSIDERS DECISION TO CLOSE DELEGATION IN

October 3, 2008

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08KYIV1968 2008-10-03 12:06 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv

VZCZCXYZ0005
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHKV #1968 2771206
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 031206Z OCT 08
FM AMEMBASSY KYIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6445
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 0141

C O N F I D E N T I A L KYIV 001968 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/06/2017 
TAGS: PGOV PHUM UP
SUBJECT: ICRC RECONSIDERS DECISION TO CLOSE DELEGATION IN 
KYIV 
 
REF: KYIV 1553 
 
Classified By: Charge James Pettit for reasons 1.4 (b,d) 
 
1.  (C)  Summary:  Representatives from the International 
Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) told us that it was 
reconsidering its plan to close the ICRC delegation in Kyiv 
(Reftel) and said that they perceived a high level of tension 
among the ethnic Russian, Crimean Tatar, and Ukrainian 
communities during their recent visit to Crimea.  They said 
the ICRC would consider whether recent developments in 
Georgia and ongoing domestic political uncertainty warrant 
continuation of its mission in Kyiv with a focus on conflict 
resolution activities in Crimea.  End Summary. 
2.  (C) On September 30, the ICRC's Head of Operations in 
Eastern Europe, Pascale Meige-Wagner, and the head of the 
ICRC Regional Delegation for Ukraine, Belarus, and Moldova, 
Jean-Jacques Bovay, told the Charge that the ICRC was 
reconsidering its decision to close its delegation in Kyiv 
(Reftel).  They explained that because of the recent conflict 
in Georgia and uncertainty about the Ukrainian domestic 
political scene, Pascale had traveled from Geneva to 
determine if the ICRC should remain in Kyiv to support 
humanitarian assistance in the event of conflict in the 
region and implement conflict resolution efforts in Crimea. 
 
3.  (C) Pascale and Bovay described their recent travel to 
Crimea where they met with representatives from the ethnic 
Russian, Crimean Tatar, and Ukrainian communities to assess 
the potential for interethnic conflict and the level of 
support among ethnic Russians for closer political ties with 
Russia.  They concluded that there is little trust and 
dialogue among Crimea's ethnic communities.  They came away 
from their meetings with a sense that ethnic Russians felt 
relatively secure because of Crimea's autonomous status and 
what they perceive as the stabilizing influence of the Black 
Sea Fleet.  However, Pascale remained concerned that issues 
such as mandatory Ukrainian language in schools and public 
institutions, accession to NATO, and the departure of the 
Black Sea Fleet could inflame latent separatist sentiments 
among the ethnic Russian community.  Crimean Tatar community 
leaders told the ICRC delegation that, although they 
continued to support the central government, there was a 
sense of disappointment with what they see as Kyiv's 
inadequate response to long standing issues such as land 
restitution and discrimination.  The Crimean Tatars told the 
ICRC that they would avoid provoking confrontation with their 
neighbors and were prepared to rely on themselves if the 
central government did not support them, without providing 
further details on their self-reliance to the ICRC. 
 
4.  (C) Pascale explained that the ICRC would consider 
whether the situation in Crimea, in the wake of the 
Russia-Georgia conflict, and recent developments requires the 
ICRC to continue its mission in Ukraine.  If the ICRC does 
stay, its primary focus would be on humanitarian support in 
conflicts and assistance with conflict resolution.  ICRC 
still plans to hand over responsibility for its current 
international humanitarian law programs with Ukraine's law 
enforcement agencies and military to the GoU and run its 
other activities from the Moscow delegation.  ICRC's support 
for the Ukrainian Red Cross Society would continue at 
slightly higher levels regardless if the ICRC leaves Kyiv. 
 
5.  (C) Comment:  Although the ICRC was not clear on what 
plans it has for conflict resolution activities, its 
assistance has the potential to be helpful in reducing 
tension among Crimea's ethnic communities. 
PETTIT

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