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09KYIV465, UKRAINIAN-GERMAN RELATIONS ON THE ROCKS

March 16, 2009

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09KYIV465 2009-03-16 12:43 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv

VZCZCXRO0618
PP RUEHDBU
DE RUEHKV #0465/01 0751243
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 161243Z MAR 09
FM AMEMBASSY KYIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7461
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 KYIV 000465 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/11/2019 
TAGS: PGOV PREL GM UP
SUBJECT: UKRAINIAN-GERMAN RELATIONS ON THE ROCKS 
 
Classified By: Ambassador William Taylor for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
1. (C) Contacts within the Presidential Secretariat, MFA and 
Cabinet of Ministers continue to view Germany as an obstacle 
in their drive towards EU and NATO membership, while 
underlining the importance of maintaining a constructive 
bilateral relationship with Berlin.  The Secretariat claims 
Berlin has turned down President Yushchenko's overtures for 
an invite, requiring signs of unity between him and PM 
Tymoshenko as a precondition.  German Embassy staff remain 
engaged on a series of bilateral issues, but describe an at 
times difficult relationship with the MFA.  The cumulative 
bilateral stresses were brought into focus by former National 
Security and Defense Council Chairman Horbulin, who recently 
gibed to us: "there are two Russian embassies in Kyiv; only 
one speaks German."  End Summary. 
 
Presidential Secretariat Regrets Lack of Engagement 
--------------------------------------------- ------ 
 
2. (C) Bohdan Yaremenko, Deputy Head of the Presidential 
Secretariat Foreign Policy Section, on March 11 told us that 
it was "no secret" that relations with Berlin were strained. 
He noted that Berlin had set GOU unity as a precondition for 
a Yushchenko visit, wanting to avoid getting in the middle of 
the ongoing fight between the President and PM Tymoshenko. 
He said there were also signals from Paris that a Yushchenko 
visit would not be welcomed until the GOU "spoke with one 
voice."  There is ongoing activity within lower level 
bilateral working groups, but the lack of engagement at 
senior levels risked harming the Ukraine-German relationship, 
according to Yaremenko.  He did note that Senior Presidential 
Foreign Policy Advisor Honcharuk was headed to Berlin on 
March 12. 
 
MFA Hopes for More Positive Relationship 
---------------------------------------- 
 
3. (C) Andrii Kuzmenko, MFA Deputy Director for the Second 
Territorial Directorate (which covers the EU and its 
members), on March 4 described Germany's approach toward 
Ukraine as "lacking in understanding."  He said Berlin sees 
the current levels and mechanisms of EU-Ukrainian interaction 
as sufficient, while Kyiv sought to "deepen, strengthen, and 
intensify" its engagement.  He noted disappointment in 
Chancellor Merkel's public comments regarding the Eastern 
Partnership as not necessarily representing an avenue to 
membership.  In general, Ukraine views the Eastern 
Partnership process as underfunded, with only euros 350 
million in new funding available in 2010 to all six partners, 
and lacking in specific goals.  Kuzmenko noted that Ukraine 
would have little interest in participating in the process in 
the event it "keeps us standing in place, while Armenia, 
Belarus, and Azerbaijan are slowly brought to our level." 
 
4. (C) Kuzmenko's personal irritation with Berlin's current 
approach was palpable, but he also highlighted the importance 
of remaining engaged with Germany.  He noted that Ukraine had 
recently been invited as a formal observer to the "Weimar 
Triangle" process that Germany and France developed with 
Poland in the 1990s.  Kuzmenko expressed hope that an avenue 
for more positive engagement would open following Germany's 
upcoming elections. 
 
Cabinet of Ministers Guarded 
---------------------------- 
 
5. (C) Vadym Triukhan, Director of the Cabinet of Ministers' 
Bureau of Euro and Euroatlantic Integration, told us that 
both Germany and France had adopted a tough position on 
Ukraine, not only in NATO in such issues as MAP, but also 
within the EU.  He cited the example of President Sarkozy 
initially proposing an "Association Partnership" with Ukraine 
in 2007, which was seen as a step backwards by Kyiv, before 
subsequently agreeing to the more palatable "Association 
Agreement" construct.  Triukhan also noted that Germany was 
the toughest within the EU regarding Ukrainian compliance 
with standards on all international agreements -- citing the 
ongoing talks on a visa regime and airspace deal. 
 
German Embassy Defensive; Donetsk Consulate Planned 
--------------------------------------------- ------ 
 
6. (C) Our German counterparts were notably taken aback by 
the series of sharp public attacks following the April 2008 
NATO Summit when Germany was widely portrayed in the local 
media as having blocked Ukraine's MAP application.  A mass 
demonstration by Party of Regions supporters in front of the 
German Embassy in support of Berlin's stance in Bucharest 
immediately after the Summit was an embarrassment to many of 
our contacts within the German mission.  Sigrun Meyer, Public 
Affairs Counselor, recently told us that she and her 
 
KYIV 00000465  002 OF 002 
 
 
colleagues were now used to being publicly attacked for 
issues ranging from German visa issuances to Berlin's stance 
in the latest gas crisis "as the GOU often needs us to hide 
their own failings."  She pointed out that Germany had 
doubled its long-term work visas in the previous year and 
eliminated their visa backlog, but that these developments 
hadn't been widely reported by a media that had
 grown used to 
negative portrayals of Berlin's bilateral efforts. 
 
7. (C) The Foreign Ministry had recently decided to replace 
their honorary consul in Donetsk with a consulate, focused on 
business outreach and providing visa services for Eastern 
Ukraine -- the announced opening of the consulate in 2010 had 
the Embassy scrambling to complete staffing patterns, 
property acquisition and other preparatory work, according to 
Meyer.   Meyer also highlighted the activities of her 
Ambassador, Heinz-Juergen Heimsoeth, in participating with 
several EU counterparts in a recent trip to Crimea.  Germany 
was refocusing its bilateral aid to concentrate in large part 
on the peninsula, launching a series of programs to support 
civic organizations in Sevastopol, Simferopol and other key 
centers.  (Note: Heimsoeth has been seen by some in the MFA 
as a downgrading by Berlin.  His  previous posting was as CG 
in New York and he had not previously held an Ambassadorial 
post.  Germany's previous Ambassador, Reinhard Schaefers, had 
served as Berlin's EU Envoy prior to is Kyiv assignment and 
is now serving as Ambassador in Paris.) 
 
Working Around the MFA 
---------------------- 
 
8. (C) Meyer indicated that MFA was viewed within the Embassy 
as increasingly ineffective, requiring notes verbale for 
basic requests and that officers were turning directly to 
action Ministries and especially to Cabinet of Ministers 
staff under DPM Nemyria to get timely action.  Meyer wouldn't 
speculate on whether it was a competence/experience question 
within MFA Germany Desk or more of a targeted effort by the 
MFA to signal their frustration with Berlin.  She added that 
Embassy personnel were increasingly frustrated by their 
inability to receive clear answers or fully understand the 
decision making process within the fractured political and 
Ministerial landscape in Kyiv. 
 
Comment 
------- 
 
9. (C) Germany's caution regarding Ukraine's EU/NATO 
membership aspirations has engendered frustration within the 
GOU.  German diplomats in Kyiv reject the notion that Berlin 
is too sensitive to Moscow's concerns in its relationship 
with Ukraine.  The Ukrainian political elite tends to feel 
otherwise, as evidenced by the gibe former National Security 
Advisor Horbulin recently shared with us: "there are two 
Russian Embassies in Kyiv -- only one speaks German." 
TAYLOR

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