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09KYIV1204, FORMER FM TARASYUK ON RUSSIA, POLITICS

July 17, 2009

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09KYIV1204 2009-07-17 16:08 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv

VZCZCXRO0374
PP RUEHDBU RUEHSL
DE RUEHKV #1204/01 1981608
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 171608Z JUL 09
FM AMEMBASSY KYIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8144
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 001204 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/17/2019 
TAGS: PGOV PREL UP
SUBJECT: FORMER FM TARASYUK ON RUSSIA, POLITICS 
 
Classified By: Political Counselor Colin Cleary.  Reasons 1.4 (b/d). 
 
Summary 
------- 
 
1. (C) Former Foreign Minister Borys Tarasyuk, like other 
Western oriented Ukrainians, is looking for further 
reassurance that the "re-set" of relations with Russia will 
not come at Ukraine's expense.  Tarasyuk regards Medvedev's 
security proposal as an effort to divide Europe from the US. 
He sees PM Tymoshenko as the "least bad" option for 
President.  Challenger Yatsenyuk is not up to job.  Regions 
Party leader Yanukovych would appease Russia at the expense 
of Ukrainian interests.  End Summary. 
 
 
Reaction to Obama Visit to Moscow 
--------------------------------- 
 
2. (C)  Polcouns met July 14 with Former FM Borys Tarasyuk, 
who also serves as leader of the center-right Rukh party and 
Chairman of the Rada European Integration Committee. 
Tarasyuk expressed concern that Ukraine might diminish in 
importance to the US as a result of the "re-set" of relations 
with Moscow.  Nonetheless, he agreed President Obama's 
remarks in Moscow regarding Ukraine were reassuring.  What 
worries Tarasyuk is the prospect that private meetings 
between President Obama and Putin and Medvedev might have 
been more conciliatory toward Russia.  We noted that the 
Administration's public message is the same as its private 
message.  Tarasyuk said Ukraine would seek reaffirmation of 
its continued importance to the US during the visit of the 
Vice President July 20-22. 
 
 
Medvedev Security Proposal: Divide Europe from the US 
--------------------------------------------- -------- 
 
3. (C) Tarasyuk lamented that the constant bickering between 
President Yushchenko and PM Tymoshenko had damaged Ukraine's 
image and its attractiveness as a partner for the West. 
Tarasyuk contended Russia had successfully co-opted Germany 
and France to block the GOU's NATO aspirations.  Medvedev's 
call for a new security architecture was designed to divide 
Western Europe from the US.  It is reminiscent of the Soviet 
policy of the early Reagan years regarding missile 
deployments in Europe.  Medvedev and Putin seek to "destroy 
the existing system" of Euro-Atlantic security.  Georgia 
revealed a "new quality" of Russian aggressiveness.   Russia 
repeated this aggressiveness last winter by cutting off the 
gas.  Tarasyuk said that the Western response, especially 
that of EU members, to Georgia and the gas crisis had been 
inadequate.  This emboldens the Kremlin to keep it up. 
 
Post-START 
---------- 
 
4. (C) It is unfortunate, Tarasyuk underlined, that Ukraine 
is not participating in post-START talks. Ukraine would have 
been an ally for the US in the process.  As it stands, 
Ukraine will be left without security assurances.  The 
Russian leadership (he cited Putin) has already threatened 
Ukraine with targeting by Russian nuclear weapons if Ukraine 
were to join NATO.  This was in violation of the assurances 
contained in the "Budapest memorandum" -- under which Ukraine 
gave up its nuclear arsenal -- but had engendered little or 
no response from the West. 
 
 
Fifth Column 
------------ 
 
5. (C) In confronting Russia, Ukraine is hobbled by its 
domestic divisions, Tarasyuk said.  Indeed, Ukraine has a 
large "fifth column" that is working to serve Russian 
interests and undermine the Ukrainian state.  The pro-Russian 
line of the Party of Regions and Lytvyn Bloc -- not to 
mention the Communists -- risks turning Ukraine into a 
Russian satellite.  Yanukovych, Lytvyn and others seem to be 
competing publicly to see who can be the most subservient to 
Russia.  Tymoshenko, by contrast, is ready to deal with the 
Russians, but would not sell out to them.  Yushchenko has 
proven to be out of touch regarding Russia (and in general) 
and is "unable to realistically assess the situation." 
 
Crimea 
------ 
 
6. (C) Russia will not do in Crimea what it did in South 
Ossetia and Abkhazia, Tarasyuk believes.  For one thing the 
Ukrainian central government is operating in Crimea.  The 
Kremlin will prefer to use surrogates, such as pro-Russian, 
 
KYIV 00001204  002 OF 002 
 
 
pro-Kremlin NGOs, to stir up trouble.   Ukrainian military 
forces deployed in Crimea would be are enough to deter 
Russian aggression. "Our military is in bad shape;" he said 
-- "but so is theirs."  Tarasyuk believes it is essential for 
the Russian Black Sea Fleet to depart Sevastopol on schedule 
in 2017. 
 
Presidential Politics: Tymoshenko Best of the Lot 
--------------------------------------------- ---- 
 
7. (C) Turning to politics, Tarasyuk said Yanukovych is 
"doing nothing" -- and benefiting in the polls from it.  The 
Party of Regions merely criticizes the government and 
presents cynical populist measures to the Rada, such as the 
demand to increase the minimum wage at a time of severe 
budgetary crisis.  Tarasyuk said he had warned Tymoshenko 
last year that her popularity would suffer if she did not 
give up the premiership, but she insisted on staying.  She is 
populist too and not above lying (as most recently in &
#x000A;comments to the media in which she denied that she had 
discussed scrapping direct Presidential elections as part of 
the failed coalitions negotiation with Regions). 
Nonetheless Tarasyuk said he would likely endorse Tymoshenko 
for President; she is the "least bad" option available. 
 
Achievements of Rukh 
-------------------- 
 
8. (C) Despite the damage done to the legacy of the Orange 
Revolution by the Tymoshenko-Yushchenko rift, 2004 had 
ushered in real and enduring change in key areas.  Freedom of 
speech and assembly and the right to free elections are now 
secure.  Tarasyuk underlined that his Rukh party had been at 
the center of the transformation, indeed "no other Ukrainian 
political force has done more."  We mentioned the Rukh 
posters all around Kyiv, featuring his face and celebrating 
the party's twentieth anniversary.  Tarasyuk said that some 
in the party want him to run for President   but he did not 
expect to. 
 
Yatsenyuk 
--------- 
 
9. (C) Tarasyuk said that Presidential challenger Arceniy 
Yatsenyuk (a fellow member of the Our Ukraine Faction) was 
not ready to serve as President.  Tarasyuk dismissed 
Yatsenyuk's resume as overblown.  He had served only short 
stints as Foreign Minister and as Rada Speaker -- but had 
achieved little.  "We can't turn the country over to him," 
Tarasyuk concluded. 
 
Comment 
------- 
 
10. (C) Tarasyuk, twice Foreign Minister, is a perennial on 
the short list to return to the post (currently vacant) once 
again.  US statements about no spheres of interest clearly 
helped to assuage some of Tarasyuk's concerns.  Nonetheless, 
like others who strongly favor a Western orientation for 
Ukraine, Tarasyuk will require continued reassurance - and 
public signals from senior US officials that Ukraine's 
partnership with the US has not suffered. 
PETTIT

Wikileaks

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