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09KYIV814, INTERIOR MINISTER TENDERS RESIGNATION OVER AIRPORT

May 13, 2009

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09KYIV814 2009-05-13 16:20 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv

VZCZCXRO3300
PP RUEHDBU
DE RUEHKV #0814/01 1331620
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 131620Z MAY 09
FM AMEMBASSY KYIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7794
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 000814 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/13/2019 
TAGS: PGOV PREL UP
SUBJECT: INTERIOR MINISTER TENDERS RESIGNATION OVER AIRPORT 
SCUFFLE 
 
Classified By: Acting DCM Colin Cleary for reasons 1.4(b,d) 
 
SUMMARY 
-------- 
 
1. (C) Minister oQInterior Yuriy Lutsenko submitted his 
resignation to the Rada on May 12 in response to German and 
Ukrainian media reports that he was detained by airport 
police in Frankfurt on May 4.  According to the reports 
Lutsenko was intoxicated and assaulted four German police 
officers while transiting Frankfurt airport with a Ministry 
of Interior delegation headed to South Korea.  Lutsenko 
submitted his resignation upon his return from Seoul. 
Contacts say there is little support in the Rada, apart from 
the opposition Party of Regions, for removing Lutsenko. 
German Embassy contacts are concerned that Lutsenko has begun 
to spin the story, claiming that the German police 
overreacted and were abusive towards his 19-year old son, who 
was a member of the delegation. End Summary 
 
LUTSENKO'S FRANKFURT FRACAS 
--------------------------- 
 
2. (SBU)  In a May 6 article, later carried in most Ukrainian 
press, German newspaper Bild reported that Ukrainian 
Minister of Interior Yuriy Lutsenko and his son were 
prevented from boarding a flight at Frankfurt airport to 
South Korea on May 4 because of severe intoxication. Lutsenko 
was leading a Ministry of Interior (MOI) delegation to 
meetings in Seoul. In the confrontation with airport staff 
and police that ensued, Bild claimed that Lutsenko injured 
four policemen and repeatedly called the German officers 
"Nazi swine." Lutsenko and his son were handcuffed and taken 
into police custody.  After verifying Lutsenko's identity the 
police released him and his son and allowed the delegation to 
board a later flight to Seoul. 
 
RESIGNATION LETTER SUBMITTED TO RADA 
------------------------------------ 
 
3. (SBU)  Lutsenko submitted his letter of resignation to the 
Rada on May 12 after his return from South Korea.  A absolute 
majority of MPs (226) will need to vote to accept Lutsenko's 
resignation for it to take effect.  In his resignation 
Lutsenko corroborates some of the facts of the Bild article, 
but disputes the claim that he was intoxicated or that there 
was a physical altercation.  He said that the delegation was 
denied boarding because they arrived at the plane after the 
last boarding call and that airport police overreacted to a 
verbal confrontation with Lufthansa staff.  Lutsenko said he 
submitted his resignation in order to protect the MOI from 
domestic political machinations and that he will sue Bild for 
defamation over its accusations that he was intoxicated. 
 
COALITION SUPPORTING LUTSENKO 
----------------------------- 
 
4. (C)  Prime Minister Tymoshenko's bloc (BYuT) will not vote 
to accept Lutsenko's resignation, according to BYuT MP 
Valeriy Pysarenko.  He told us that party leadership 
confiscated BYuT MPs' voting cards on the morning of May 12, 
to ensure that if a vote took place no BYuT MPs could break 
ranks and support Lutsenko's resignation.  Rada speaker 
Volodomyr Lytvyn told the Ambassador on May 12 that his party 
had not yet decided how to vote, but that the Communist party 
had been "influenced" to side with BYuT.  Pro-government MP 
Kirilo Kulikov, a member of Lutsenko's People's Self Defense 
party within pro-government OU-PSD, told us that while he 
personally believes that Lutsenko shoQd be removed, the 
faction will not vote to accept his resignation. 
 
OPPOSITION BLOCKS THE RADA, DEMANDS LUTSENKO'S OUSTER 
--------------------------------------------- -------- 
 
5. (C)  Opposition Party of Regions began blocking the Rada 
rostrum on May 12, preventing parliament from convening and 
demanding Lutsenko be removed.  Regions MP Hanna Herman said 
that Regions would continue to block the Rada's work until 
the governing coalition agrees to accept Lutsenko's 
resignation.  The effort within Regions to remove Lutsenko, 
according to Regions deputy faction leader Volodomyr 
Makeyenko, is being spearheaded by MP and businessman Borys 
Kolesnykov. He wants revenge for his four month detention in 
2005 when Lutsenko targeted him as part of an anti-corruption 
campaign.  Makeyenko said that the posters hung by Regions 
MPs in the Rada chamber on May 12 accusing Lutsenko of 
drunkenness and the empty vodka bottles accompanied by MOI 
badges placed on the rostrum were part of Kolesnykov's effort 
to shame Lutsenko. 
 
GERMAN EMBASSY DECLINES COMMENT 
 
KYIV 00000814  002 OF 002 
 
 
------------------------------- 
 
6. (C) German Embassy Political Counselor Manuel Mueller told 
us that media interest in the story has been extremely high. 
The Germans had decided to confirm Lutsenko's transit through 
Frankfurt, but to offer no comment or further information 
regarding the reported altercation.  Mueller noted that his 
Embassy was concerned that Lutsenko had begun to spin the 
story, claiming that German police had overreacted and 
assaulted his 19-year old son, who was a member of the 
delegation.  According to Mueller his government was also 
prepared for additional media stories castigating Germany for 
what many Ukrainians feel is a too rigid visa regi
me and 
dismissive or hostile treatment for Ukrainian visitors by 
German authorities. 
 
COMMENT 
------- 
 
7. (C)  The coalition seems inclined to back Lutsenko's 
continuation as Minister of Interior.  Lutsenko's ouster 
could expose divisions within the coalition over the choice 
of his replacement as MOI chief, and jeopardize the continued 
support of Lutsenko's party (17 MPs) within the pro-coalition 
part of the OU-PSD faction. 
TAYLOR

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