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09KYIV1033, SEA BREEZE LEGISLATION FAILS AGAIN

June 16, 2009

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09KYIV1033 2009-06-16 06:26 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv

VZCZCXRO9511
PP RUEHDBU
DE RUEHKV #1033/01 1670626
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 160626Z JUN 09
FM AMEMBASSY KYIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7968
INFO RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE
RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 KYIV 001033 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/03/2019 
TAGS: MCAP PGOV PINR PREL UP
SUBJECT: SEA BREEZE LEGISLATION FAILS AGAIN 
 
REF: KYIV 953 
 
Classified By: Charge James Pettit for reasons 1.4(b,d). 
 
SUMMARY 
-------- 
 
1. (C) The Rada made two failed attempts on June 12 to 
consider legislation authorizing foreign military exercises 
in Ukraine, affecting Sea Breeze and ten other foreign 
exercises.  The votes fell short as the divided OU-PSD 
faction which favors Ukraine's integration into Euro-Atlantic 
institutions failed to deliver needed support.  The bloc of 
Rada Speaker Lytvyn played hot and cold with the measure. 
Lytvyn had explained to Charge that deputies in his bloc fear 
a backlash by voters in Eastern Ukraine who oppose exercises 
by U.S. and NATO member forces.  Prime Minister Tymoshenko's 
bloc offered solid support.  End Summary. 
 
VOTE TO CONSIDER JOINT EXERCISES AUTHORIZATION FAILS TWICE 
--------------------------------------------- ------------ 
 
2. (SBU)  An attempt on June 12 to consider legislation 
authorizing foreign military personnel to participate in 
joint training exercises on Ukrainian territory twice failed 
to garner the 226 votes needed for the bill to come to the 
floor of the Rada.  In the Rada's morning session a vote to 
add the legislation to the daily agenda failed with only 219 
votes.  Prime Minister Tymoshenko's bloc (BYuT) and the 
pro-coalition subset of the fractured Our Ukraine-People's 
Self Defense bloc (OU-PSD) voted in favor, with 152 and 57 
votes respectively, but Rada Speaker Lytvyn's bloc only 
contributed 10 (out of 20) votes for the measure.  After a 
coalition conference meeting during the Rada's mid-day break, 
Lytvyn called for a vote to consider returning to the 
legislation so that it could be included on the agenda.  The 
vote to return to the bill failed, but this time with 150 
BYuT, 20 Lytvyn bloc, and only 47 OU-PSD MPs supporting it. 
The next opportunity to consider the legislation will be June 
23 when the Rada reconvenes. 
 
LYTVYN EXPLAINS BILL'S SENSITIVITIES 
------------------------------------ 
 
3. (C) In a meeting with the Charge on June 11, Lytvyn 
explained his difficulty in voting for the legislation. 
Although the law is necessary for Ukraine to conduct eleven 
training exercises planned for 2009 with various countries, 
it is most closely associated with the annual Sea Breeze 
US-Ukraine joint exercise conducted with other NATO members 
and partners in the spirit of the Partnership for Peace. 
Lytvyn said that passage of the bill would have been simple 
had a broad coalition between BYuT and Regions formed in the 
Rada.  However, following the collapse of the attempt at a 
broad coalition, all groups were being careful with the 
presidential election approaching.  Lytvyn made clear his 
reluctance to vote for legislation was because it was 
perceived as pro-NATO and would leave him "exposed" to a 
backlash from voters in Eastern Ukraine. 
 
HRYTSENKO SEES DAMAGE TO READINESS, IMAGE 
----------------------------------------- 
 
4.  (SBU) Former defense minister and Chairman of the Rada 
Committee for National Security and Defense Anatoliy 
Hrytsenko told the press on June 3 that failure to pass the 
legislation would negatively impact both Ukraine's 
international image and the combat capacity of the armed 
forces.  Earlier in the year both Hrytsenko and then Defense 
Minister Yekhanurov stated that the 2009 defense budget was 
significantly below levels needed to meet GOU reform goals 
and regular military training requirements. 
 
COMMENT 
------- 
 
5. (C) The divided and disorganized OU-PSD group, whose 
members in principle favor Ukraine's Euro-Atlantic 
integration, failed to support the measure in sufficient 
numbers.   This was due to two factors: some allowed 
hostility to the current coalition to outweigh their support 
for the measure; others just simply failed to show up for the 
final vote, apparently out of carelessness.   For his part, 
Lytvyn played hot and cold with the measure, but, in response 
to Charge's urging, ultimately voted in favor of bringing it 
up for debate despite sensitivities within his bloc.  With a 
tight defense budget, the armed forces stand to lose valuable 
training opportunities if exercises like Sea Breeze are 
canceled.  The message that Ukraine's political forces cannot 
get their act together to approve legislation that would 
enhance interoperability with NATO allies and improve their 
integration chances was also clear. 
 
KYIV 00001033  002 OF 002 
 
 
PETTIT

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