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09KYIV36, UKRAINIAN-RUSSIAN RELATIONS: BILATERAL

January 6, 2009

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09KYIV36 2009-01-06 15:54 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv

VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHKV #0036/01 0061554
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 061554Z JAN 09
FM AMEMBASSY KYIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6993
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L KYIV 000036 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/06/2019 
TAGS: PREL PARM MARR UP RS
SUBJECT: UKRAINIAN-RUSSIAN RELATIONS: BILATERAL 
PRESIDENTIAL COMMISSION INACTIVE 
 
Classified By: Ambassador William Taylor. Reasons 1.4 (b/d). 
 
Summary 
------- 
 
1. (C) Reflecting the poor state of bilateral ties beyond the 
natural gas crisis, the Russia-Ukraine presidential 
commission charged with coordinating the overall relationship 
and resolving disputes has been inactive since the August 
Georgia-Russia conflict.  Russia refuses to engage with 
Ukraine on key issues, such as any planning for removal of 
the Russian Black Sea Fleet from Sevastopol, despite the 
GOU's announcement that Russia must withdraw by 2017.  A 
Yushchenko initiative to invigorate Russia policy through 
establishment of an "Interagency Strategic Group" among 
Ukrainian Ministries has, to date, had no impact.  End 
Summary. 
 
Presidential Commission Inactive 
-------------------------------- 
 
2. (C) Embassy met with Volodimir Ivanov, acting Director 
General for Foreign Affairs at the Ukrainian National 
Security and Defense Council (NSDC).  Ivanov noted that the 
Ukraine-Russia Presidential Commission, established in 2005, 
had not met since the August 2008 Russia-Georgia conflict. 
The entire structure, involving a range of working groups and 
sub-groups on security, economic, political and other issues, 
is inactive.  Ivanov speculated that the Kremlin, having 
given up on Yushchenko, may be avoiding engagement until a 
more Moscow-friendly leadership emerges in Kyiv. 
 
GOU Forms "Interagency Strategic Group" 
--------------------------------------- 
 
3. (SBU) Ivanov pointed out that in order to demonstrate 
Ukraine's commitment to improving the bilateral relationship, 
 Yushchenko announced December 1 the creation of a new 
Ukrainian "Interagency Strategic Group."  Its task is to 
energize the GOU interagency to make the Bilateral Commission 
process productive and to begin tackling the substantial 
backlog of issues that have languished in the various 
sub-commissions. 
 
4. (SBU) Headed by National Security and Defense Council 
Secretary Raysa Bohatryeva, the GOU Interagency Strategic 
Group includes the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Defense and 
Finance; the heads of the intelligence services; the head of 
Naftohaz (the state gas monopoly); and the Industrial Policy 
Minister.  Konstantin Gryshchenko, Ukraine's Ambassador to 
Russia (who serves concurrently as First Deputy Secretary of 
the NSDC) serves as deputy chairman.  In announcing the 
Group's formation, Bohatryeva said that the GOU sought to get 
beyond the pattern of tit-for-tat accusatory statements 
coming from each country's Foreign Ministry and seek 
"constructive interaction" at all levels. 
 
5. (C) Ivanov noted that Russian observers had greeted the 
creation of the GOU internal coordinating group with 
skepticism, calling it window dressing.  He admitted that 
there is no specific Bilateral Commission meeting toward 
which the group would initially be working.  Reflecting on 
the possible role of the Russian Ambassador to Ukraine, 
Ivanov noted that Chernomyrdin is getting on in years and 
that his interest has mainly been in economic and trade 
issues, in particular, natural gas.  Ivanov did not foresee 
much of a role for Chernomyrdin. 
 
Black Sea Fleet 
--------------- 
 
6. (C) Ivanov lamented that the GOR refused to discuss key 
bilateral issues, such as modalities for the withdrawal of 
the Russian Black Sea Fleet in 2017.  He said that Russia 
continues to ignore fleet movement notification procedures 
imposed in July 2008, which were reiterated in August by 
presidential decree, and then again in the autumn by the 
Cabinet of Ministers.  Ivanov hoped the GOU Interagency 
Strategic Group would be able to elevate this issue to a 
higher level in the Bilateral Commission, where it currently 
falls under a subcommittee. 
 
Russian Identity Documents 
-------------------------- 
 
7. (C) Ivanov said that the issue, as reported in the press, 
of Moscow issuing special identity cards which would qualify 
citizens of the Former Soviet Union for residency, work, and 
educational benefits in Russia was something to watch.  The 
question of ambiguous or dual nationality is an issue for 
Ukraine with a number of other countries, including Poland 
 
and Romania, but has special significance with Russia.   He 
recalled an earlier Russian "technopark initiative" that 
provided incentives to attract young specialists and 
scientists to relocate to Russia.  Ukraine would monitor the 
development of the identity cards.  That said, Ivanov 
observed that reports that Russia had been recently issuing 
large numbers of passports to Ukrainians were exaggerated. 
There are many Russian passport holders, but most got their 
passports in the 1990s. 
 
Medvedev's Security Initiative and post-START 
--------------------------------------------- 
 
8. (C) Russia and Ukraine are also at odds on Security 
Architecture, Ivanov noted.   Ivanov said he had few details 
on Medvedev's concept; what little he
 did know about it, he 
did not like.  The goal for Ukraine in the post-Georgia 
environment, he said, is to clarify the nature of its 
security guarantees.  The 1994 Trilateral US-Russia-Ukraine 
Agreement and the broader Budapest Memorandum on Security 
Assurances were linked to START and Ukraine's decision to 
give up nuclear weapons.  In a post-START environment, Ivanov 
said, a new trilateral (perhaps multilateral) document is 
needed with new commitments and guarantees.  He noted that 
the 2008 Georgia events plus slower momentum on MAP leaves 
Ukraine with "much to think about" on security. 
 
Comment 
------- 
 
9. (C) While our conversation with Ivanov preceded the 
current natural gas crisis, his comments reflect the overall 
disconnect between the two sides that characterizes the gas 
issue.  Ivanov seemed to be of the view that Russia has 
written off Yushchenko and put any interest in improving 
relations with Ukraine on ice until Ukraine can present a 
more amenable (pro-Kremlin) partner. 
TAYLOR

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