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June 18, 2009

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09KYIV1040 2009-06-18 16:10 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv

P 181610Z JUN 09

C O N F I D E N T I A L KYIV 001040 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/18/2019 
REF: STATE 59226 
Classified By: Political Counselor Colin Cleary.  Reasons 1.4 (b/d). 
1. (C) The Ukrainian MFA agrees with U.S. views on the 
benefits of a "constructive dialogue" on European Security at 
the OSCE Corfu informal Ministerial.  However, the MFA 
Security Department Director took the opportunity of our 
discussion about Corfu to reiterate concerns about Ukraine 
being shut out of the post-START process and left without 
security guarantees.  End Summary. 
2. (C) Polcouns met with Oleksandr Nikonenko, Director of the 
MFA Arms Control and Military Cooperation Department, June 16 
to seek support (ref) for using the OSCE informal Ministerial 
in Corfu to launch a constructive dialogue on ways to enhance 
European Security.  Nikonenko endorsed the U.S. approach, 
raising no objections.  He added that the dialogue was a good 
idea since Medvedev's statements on European Security were 
vague.  Nikonenko confirmed that Acting FM Khandogiy would 
attend the Ministerial. 
3. (C) Embassy also discussed our position on Corfu with 
Maryna Mikhailenko, Counselor and Head of the International 
Relations Division of the MFA's Political Directorate. 
Mikhailenko said that the GoU position on the Russian 
proposal for European security was still in formation -- as, 
in fact, is the proposal itself.  She commented that there is 
not enough substance to the proposal for Ukraine to react to, 
and went on to stress that Ukraine is quite satisfied with 
existing European security dialogues and mechanisms, 
specifically, the OSCE, EU, and NATO.  She noted that these 
organizations have comprehensive principles which Ukraine 
shares, and also well-established mechanisms for dialogue and 
conflict resolution. 
4. (C) Mikhailenko agreed that some aspects of existing 
institutions could be improved, and observed that the 
security dimension suffers from lack of trust and lack of 
efficiency.  Russia itself, she said frankly, bears 
responsibility for creating this situation, and she commented 
that it is not clear how European countries should regard the 
Russian proposal for new mechanisms that are redundant and 
whose principles Russia appears to have violated.  Ukraine 
welcomes the opportunity to hold an open-ended discussion, 
and sees the OSCE as the correct place to have such a 
GUAM and Corfu 
5. (C) Mikhailenko also raised a problem with the 
organization of the Ministerial.  She said that both the 
Ukrainian Ambassadors to Greece and to the OSCE had raised 
with the Greek MFA and the CIO the question of an invitation 
for GUAM to attend Corfu.  Mikhailenko said that Ukraine, 
like the U.S., believes there are economic dimensions to 
security in Europe that should be part of the discussion. 
GUAM is a relevant multilateral actor for a significant 
region of Europe, and GUAM's members each are party to a 
"frozen conflict".  Mikhailenko said Ukraine's request for an 
invitation for GUAM appears to have been rebuffed, yet both 
the CIS and CSTO have been invited to attend.  Mikhailenko 
said that the Ukrainian Ambassadors in Athens and Vienna were 
informed by their Greek interlocutors that the invitations to 
the CIS and CSTO were extended personally by the CIO, and 
because they are "security" related organizations.  The GoU 
does not find it appropriate that some regional organizations 
be included and others excluded, but does not intend to 
pursue the matter further. 
6.  (C) Director Nikonenko took the opportunity of our 
discussion on European Security to reiterate Ukraine's 
concerns about being "excluded" from the post-START process. 
He contended that neither Belarus nor Kazakhstan sought to 
participate in post-START talks but that Ukraine still did. 
Ukraine would like the U.S. to change its decision to conduct 
the post-START talks bilaterally.  If it can not, Ukraine 
seeks security guarantees from the U.S. to compensate for 
Ukraine's exclusion.  The guarantees would replace the 
assurances contained in the 1994 Budapest Memorandum 
(endorsed by all nuclear powers), which accompanied Ukraine's 
decision to give up nuclear weapons. 
7. (C) Nikonenko said it was clear that there was no 
near-term prospect for NATO membership for Ukraine. 
Nonetheless, Ukraine needs a security "anchor" -- a "new 
umbrella."   There is also no doubt Russia seeks to restore 
its influence and is working to bring Ukraine under its sway. 
To combat this, Ukraine needs a security guarantee from the 
U.S.  Such a guarantee could be open to others, as was the 
Budapest Memorandum.   Nikonenko maintained that Ukraine 
could not remain indefinitely between CSTO and NATO; a 
security guarantee from the U.S. would, however, "buy time." 
Nikonenko clamed that there would be broad support in Ukraine 
for such guarantees (though he admitted that public opinion 
was against NATO membership). 
8.  (C) Acting FM Khandogiy would welcome the chance to 
discuss this with Secretary Clinton if a bilateral meeting 
could be arranged in Corfu, Nikonenko said.  If that is not 
possible, the GoU would seek other opportunities to discuss 
its concerns with the U.S.  We replied that at the U.S. was 
open to discussion with Ukraine on security issues and that 
we would pass the request along. 
9. (C)  The plea for U.S. security guarantees takes place 
less than a week after the Rada failed to pass legislation 
needed for "Sea Breeze" and other military exercises 
involving foreign forces in Ukraine to proceed.  On one hand 
the MFA seeks U.S. security guarantees; on the other, the 
specter of military exercises with the U.S. and other NATO 
partners is so politically toxic that the Rada runs away from 
it.  The desire for a security guarantee from the U.S. 
reflects the views of President Yushchenko and the MFA (one 
of only two Ministries which answer to him).  However there 
is little indication of a broader consensus in Ukraine behind 
the idea -- or any notable public discussion of it. 




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