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09KYIV1091, GERMAN, POLISH FOREIGN MINISTERS’ ROCKY VISIT

June 29, 2009

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09KYIV1091 2009-06-29 17:18 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv

VZCZCXRO1705
PP RUEHDBU RUEHSL
DE RUEHKV #1091/01 1801718
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 291718Z JUN 09
FM AMEMBASSY KYIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8032
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 001091 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/05/2019 
TAGS: PGOV PREL UP GM PL
SUBJECT: GERMAN, POLISH FOREIGN MINISTERS' ROCKY VISIT 
 
Classified By: Political Counselor Colin Cleary for reasons 1.4 (b,d). 
 
SUMMARY 
-------- 
 
1. (C)  The German and Polish Foreign Ministers visited Kyiv 
on June 17 to push political cooperation in dealing with the 
economic crisis and the need for stability in gas transit to 
Europe.  President Yushchenko unexpectedly put off the 
meeting with the FMs, sending them (unwillingly) sightseeing 
instead.  He then used his meeting to complain about Prime 
Minister Tymoshenko.  Tymoshenko focused on the need for 
European financial help to pay for Ukrainian gas imports and 
her failed attempts to form a broad coalition government. 
Following the visit, DFM Yeliseyev told Polish Deputy PM 
Pawlak that Yushchenko had considered the Foreign Ministers' 
visit "a waste of time."  End Summary. 
 
 
MINISTERS PUSH GENERAL MESSAGE ON ECONOMY, GAS 
--------------------------------------------- - 
 
2. (C)  The June 17 visit of German Foreign Minister 
Steinmeier and Polish Foreign Minister Sikorski focused on 
convincing Kyiv of the need for political consolidation to 
deal with Ukraine's economic crisis and the need for 
transparency in the energy sector, according to the Polish 
Embassy in Kyiv.  Polish Embassy Officer Bogaslaw Gertruda 
told us that Warsaw and Berlin are concerned about the effect 
a Ukrainian financial collapse could have for the region, 
especially if leads to a renewed conflict with Russia over 
gas supplies.  Gertruda complained that while the broad 
themes of the visit were coordinated between Warsaw and 
Berlin, the specifics of the message were not, leading to 
some uncertainty about what message each Minister would 
deliver in the meetings. 
 
 
YUSHCHENKO DELAYS, THEN FROTHS 
------------------------------ 
 
3. (C)  Gertruda told us that upon arriving at their first 
scheduled meeting of the day with President Yushchenko, the 
Foreign Ministers were informed that Yushchenko was "too busy 
to meet."  They were taken on an almost two-hour long tour of 
the Kyiv Pecherska Lavra monastery until Yushchenko was free 
to meet with them.  Steinmeier and Sikorsky were "furious" 
over the delay and considered canceling the Yushchenko 
meeting and continuing on with their schedule.  Sikorski 
called the delay "a clearly staged stunt" and an "insult." 
 
4. (C) In the subsequent meeting, according to Gertruda, 
Yushchenko dominated the conversation with complaints and 
accusations against Prime Minister Tymoshenko.  Yushchenko 
accused the PM of collusion with the Kremlin and a 
willingness to return Ukraine to de-facto Russian control. 
The President also said that Tymoshenko deserves most of the 
blame for the current economic crisis which was caused by her 
"populist policies."  At the end of the meeting Yushchenko 
apologized for his earlier unavailability and said he hoped 
that the delay "would not force them to cancel any of their 
later meetings" which Sikorski took to mean their meeting 
with Prime Minister Tymoshenko. 
 
 
TYMOSHENKO REQUESTS LOANS 
------------------------- 
 
5. (C)  After canceling their meeting with Acting Foreign 
Minister (and Yushchenko subordinate) Khandogiy, Steinmeier 
and Sikorski were able to arrive on-time to their meeting 
with PM Tymoshenko, Gertruda told us.  The discussion focused 
on Ukraine's difficulties in paying for imported Russian gas 
and the recent failed "broad" coalition talks.  Tymoshenko 
defended her willingness to form a coalition with opposition 
Party of Regions as the only way to tackle the economic 
crisis.  She said that painful economic decisions could only 
be made if most of the political establishment was onboard, 
otherwise no one would be willing to risk the ire of voters 
in the upcoming presidential election.  Tymoshenko requested 
German and Polish support for a "bridge" loan from either the 
EU or a European financial institution to help pay for winter 
gas that is now being pumped in to underground storage.  She 
emphasized that Ukraine was in a precarious financial 
situation paying for gas imports and that Europe should have 
great interest in ensuring that the Ukrainian-Russian gas 
relationship functions smoothly. 
 
 
YANUKOVYCH, LYTVYN ON ELECTION, YATSENYUK "VACANT" 
--------------------------------------------- ---- 
 
 
KYIV 00001091  002 OF 002 
 
 
6. (C)  Sikorski and Steinmeier also met with Party of 
Regions opposition leader Yanukovych, Rada Speaker Lytvyn, 
and former Speaker Yatsenyuk.  Yanukovych criticized economic 
assistance to the Tymoshenko government, especially allowing 
IMF funds to be used for direct budget support, as explicit 
Western support for her presidential campaign.  He told the 
Foreign Ministers that only he and the Party of Regions could 
take the needed steps to stabilize the economic situation in 
Ukraine.  Lytvyn emphasized the weakness of Tymoshenko and 
Yanukovych in the upcoming presidential election and the 
opportunity for a third candidate with a message of national 
reconciliation to upset the status quo.  FM
 Sikorski found 
Yatsenyk "vacant" and said that he never expressed more than 
pleasantries and generalities, according the Gertruda.  We 
heard the same readout from German Embassy colleagues. 
 
 
POST-VISIT LECTURE BY UKRAINIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY 
--------------------------------------------- --- 
 
7. (C)  On the sidelines of the June 19 Ukrainian-Polish 
Intergovernmental Commission on Economic Cooperation, 
Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister Konstyantyn Yeliseyev 
expressed Yushchenko's personal displeasure over the Sikorski 
and Steinmeier visit to Polish Deputy Prime Minister Waldemar 
Pawlak.  Gertruda told us that Yeliseyev said that Yushchenko 
considered the visit an unnecessary "waste of his time."  He 
said that he would not support such a visit again and that if 
the EU, Germany or Poland had a message to deliver to Kyiv, 
Ukraine had Embassies in their capitals for that.  Yeliseyev 
told Pawlak that Ukraine does not need lectures from the EU 
and warned them about interfering in Ukraine's domestic 
politics.  Gertruda said that Pawlak was so "stunned" by 
Yeliseyev that he did not respond and simply walked away. 
 
A "STRANGE" VISIT 
----------------- 
 
8. (C) Former National Security and Defense Council Secretary 
Volodymyr Horbulin told us he regarded the Ministers' visit 
as "strange."  The idea for the visit had come several months 
ago as a way to promote unity on reform in the face of IMF 
negotiations and the economic crisis.  However, it is clear 
at this point that there will be no unity, so the visit was 
"rather pointless."   Presidential Administration Foreign 
Policy deputy Bohdan Yaremenko affirmed to us that Yushchenko 
resented "chiding" from the outside about his dispute with 
Tymoshenko.  Yaremenko claimed that the ministers were not 
well prepared and had no real message.  Germany was the 
initiator of the visit and had approached others, such as the 
Swedes and French to join, but they had declined, also seeing 
the visit as lacking in purpose.  In any case, Yaramenko 
affirmed, Yushchenko regarded the visit as unproductive and 
unnecessary. 
 
PETTIT

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