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2006-03-16 15:51:00
Embassy Kyiv
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DE RUEHKV #1036/01 0751551
P 161551Z MAR 06
						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 KIEV 001036 



E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/16/2016

REF: A. KIEV 903

B. KIEV 604

Classified By: Charge d'Affaires, a.i., for reasons 1.4 (b,d).

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 KIEV 001036



E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/16/2016

REF: A. KIEV 903

B. KIEV 604

Classified By: Charge d'Affaires, a.i., for reasons 1.4 (b,d).

1. (C) Summary: Various interlocutors assessed the prospects
for Ukraine's drive toward NATO membership after the March 26
parliamentary elections during visits to Kiev by EUR DAS
David Kramer's March 13 and by Project for Transitional
Democracies head Bruce Jackson March 4-8. Deputy Foreign
Minister Buteyko said NATO should grant MAP status to Ukraine
at the April NATO ministerial in Sofia. He argued that
Ukrainian foreign policy would stay on course after the
elections since the President was constitutionally
responsible for foreign policy and, even under constitutional
reform, he would select the Foreign and Defense Ministers.
Others were not so sure. Former Deputy Foreign Minister
Oleksandr Chaly felt that only a coalition between the
pro-presidential Our Ukraine bloc and Yuliya Tymoshenko bloc
(BYuT) would maintain the same pace toward NATO membership.
Defense Minister Hrytsenko suggested the best outcome would
be a "grand coalition" uniting the "Orange team" with the
"Blue" Party of Regions. Former Foreign Minister Zlenko,
however, argued that the leadership within any coalition,
whether Our Ukraine's or Regions', would determine whether a
grand, or any other, coalition was a plus for Euro-Atlantic
integration; BYuT foreign policy adviser Nemyrya opined that
a grand coalition would not actively support NATO membership.
DefMin Hrytsenko said that NATO could better demonstrate the
concrete benefits of joining the alliance and suggested that
funding of a project to destroy "melange" rocket fuel would
have a positive public relations impact. Foreign Ministry
officials were regularly visiting regional towns and cities
as part of a NATO education campaign. End summary.

2. (U) At Charge's March 13 dinner in DAS Kramer's honor,
attendees included former Foreign Ministers Kostyantin
Hryshchenko and Anatoly Zlenko, Party of Regions foreign
policy adviser Leonid Kozhara, Bloc Yuliya Tymoshenko (BYuT)

foreign policy adviser Hyrhoriy Nemyrya, and former SBU Chief
Ihor Smeshko. They exchanged opinions on Ukraine's likely
Euro-Atlantic integration policy after the March 26
parliamentery elections. Earlier, during a March 4-8 visit
to Kiev of Bruce Jackson, we also heard various views during
meetings with a range of figures, including Defense Minister
Anatoliy Hrytsenko, Deputy Foreign Minister Anton Buteyko,
National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) Deputy Secretary
Serhiy Pyrozhkov, and former Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly
Hayduk. Washington-based foreign policy and national
security analyst Randy Scheunemann, who arrived the afternoon
of March 7, joined Jackson for the meeting with Hrytsenko.
Views on NATO were also exchanged during NATO Liaison Officer
Director Jim Greene's March 7 dinner in honor of Jackson and
Scheunemann with Deputy DefMin Leonid Polyakov and directors
and deputy directors from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
Ministry of Economy, Cabinet of Ministers, and Presidential

MAP in April, please

3. (C) In a March 6 meeting with Jackson, DFM Buteyko argued
for a formal decision on a NATO Membership Action Plan (MAP)
at the April 27 meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers in Sofia.
He had made the rounds of NATO capitals with a letter from
President Yushchenko containing this suggestion; Foreign
Minister Tarasyuk went to Washington March 9-10 carrying a
revised President Yushchenko letter that contained this point
and other bilateral issues. Buteyko emphasized that
Ukraine's relationship with NATO should continue to be
conducted on a "business-as-usual" basis even during the
run-up to the March 26 parliamentary elections. There was no
question that the elections would be free and fair. As a
political party leader (deputy leader of the solidly Orange
Ukrainian People's Party), he could attest to the immense
difference between the current campaign and the 2004
presidential campaign.

4. (C) Buteyko said he understood that NATO members wanted to
see how the parliamentary elections would be conducted and
whether a pro-European majority would emerge. Buteyko said
he was positive the next parliament would be led by
pro-presidential, "Orange Team" forces. Even if Party of
Regions and former Prime Minister Yanukovych were to hold
sway, powerful forces in Parliament would ensure a pro-NATO
momentum. The elections would reform a parliamentary
structure that had been created to cement ex-President
Kuchma's hold on power. Fringe parties excepted, there was
broad agreement, even in Bloc Yuliya Tymoshenko and the
opposition Party of Regions, on the Ukrainian government's

KIEV 00001036 002 OF 004

foreign policy. Buteyko assured Jackson that any variety of
parliamentary coalitions would preserve Ukraine's
Euro-Atlantic momentum. Yushchenko would still be president
and, even with constitutional reform, he controlled the
nominations for Foreign and Defense Minister. Economic
policy might change, but not foreign policy, Buteyko averred.

5. (C) Jackson questioned the timing of the Ukrainian push
for a MAP decision in Sofia. He said NATO allies had already
decided not to make any decision on enlargement in Sofia.
With uncertainty over the details of Ukraine's natural gas
deal with Russia, NATO members were unlikely to rush to
judgment regarding Ukraine's qualifications, and the U.S.
Mission to NATO was unlikely to push a decision in this
context. Jackson advised Buteyko to be patient and wait
until the Defense Ministerial in June, which would still
permit Ukraine to have two full MAP cycles (which start in
September) before NATO's enlargement summit in 2008. Buteyko
responded that a NATO MAP decision would be perceived as the
regional community's positive judgment of the new government
and would serve to energize the Ukrainian bureaucracy.
(Note: NATO Liaison Office's Greene observed to us that the
MFA push for an April decision might have more to do with the
MFA bureaucracy's desire to have the Foreign Minister be the
one to bring MAP to Ukraine from the April summit rather than
allowing the Defense Minister to do so in June.)

On the Other Hand

6. (C) In making his case, Buteyko conceded that the level of
political support for NATO membership was low. He said that,
of the 45 blocs and political parties contesting the
parliamentary elections, only the platform for his bloc, the
Ukrainian People's Bloc of Kostenko and Plyushch (note:
Buteyko is number 19 on the bloc's list of parliamentary
candidates), unequivocally describes NATO membership as a
Ukrainian objective. The Our Ukraine bloc only mentions a
European course, while the pro-European PORA-Reforms and
Order Party bloc and the Socialist Party make no mention of
Euro-Atlantic integration or NATO membership. Buteyko said
the political parties were generally shying away from the
issue of NATO membership due to the fact that only 30 percent
of the Ukrainian public supported it. On the opposition
side, however, the Ne Tak bloc was actively pushing a
referendum on NATO membership and exploiting NATO as a
political issue (note: as is Vitrenko's People's Opposition
bloc and, at times, Regions).

7. (C) Former Deputy Foreign Minister Oleksandr Chaly
accentuated the negative prospects for NATO membership in his
meeting with Jackson later on March 6. Chaly, who personally
advocates neutrality for Ukraine along a Swedish model, said
the Rada (parliament) would determine the mandate for
Ukraine's foreign policy and that this mandate would depend
on the shape of the Rada's governing coalition. The best
possibility for Euro-Atlantic integration would develop from
a coalition between pro-Yushchenko Our Ukraine bloc and BYuT.
Any other coalition was likely to maintain the same policy
line, but would not actively move toward NATO. There was a
real possibility that the Ne Tak bloc, which includes the
Social Democratic Party of Ukraine (united) SDPU(o), might be
able to realize its initiative for a NATO referendum in the
next half year. SDPU(o) had collected the requisite number
of signatures. Now the Central Election Commission needed to
review the petition, after which the Rada needed to pass a
resolution endorsing the referendum.

8. (C) At Greene's dinner, Deputy DefMin Polyakov told
Jackson that, while Ukraine's Euro-Atlantic course would be
maintained, the shape of a parliamentary coalition would
determine whether progress toward NATO would be faster or
slower. In a March 8 meeting, DefMin Hrytsenko said the best
post-election possibility for a vigorous Euro-Atlantic
integration policy lay in a "grand coalition" of Our Ukraine
bloc, BYuT, and Party of Regions. Any other grouping, he
suggested, controlling only about 230 votes, would not be
effective, since such a coalition would need a very high
degree of unity to maintain its control.

9. (C) BYuT's Nemyrya told Kramer, however, that such a grand
coalition, which was more than a hypothetical possibility,
would return Ukraine's NATO policy to the situation existing
in 2000-2002 (i.e., when the government paid lip-service to
the goal of NATO membership but made no real effort to
achieve it). He asserted that foreign policy would be a
victim to the difference in grand coalition partners'
strategic visions and that such a grouping would "be an
amalgam, not a coalition." Foreign policy analyst Oleksandr
Sushko said an "Orange Team" coalition, if it included the

KIEV 00001036 003 OF 004

Socialist Party, would also be an "amalgam." Zlenko noted
that, even in government, the Socialists had been
unequivocally opposed to NATO membership (note: the
Socialist Party's formal position is in favor of Partnership
for Peace cooperation, but remaining neutral without joining
any alliances). Ukraine post-election foreign policy would
depend on whether the Our Ukraine bloc or Party of Regions
exercised leadership within a grand, or other, coalition.

The Ukrainian Mood

10. (C) At Charge's dinner for DAS Kramer, Party of Regions
foreign policy adviser Kozhara said ironically that he would
prefer NATO provide MAP to Ukraine before the parliamentary
elections because such a step would cause the Our Ukraine
bloc to lose some electoral support to Regions. Regions was
not opposed to NATO membership, he claimed, but preferred to
cooperate with NATO to enhance mutual security, for example,
in the Mediterranean and Black Seas, and in the conduct of
military exchanges and exercises. With only 16-17 percent of
Ukrainians favoring NATO membership, Ukraine was not yet
ready to join the alliance. BYuT's Nemyrya rebutted
Kozhara's claim, asserting that support for NATO membership
would be political suicide for Regions' leader Viktor

11. (C) At the same dinner, ex-Foreign Minister Zlenko
declared the Ukrainian government faced a serious public
relations problem with NATO membership, support for which had
once stood as high as 40 percent, but now at 16 percent. The
parliamentary election campaign had polarized the public on
the issue, with more against than for. Zlenko and
Hryshchenko both argued the Ukrainian government needed to
demonstrate the concrete benefits of NATO membership. Zlenko
said, early on, NATO had take positive steps such as by
destroying land mines, but the current emphasis on military
reform and joint exercises did not resonate with the
Ukrainian public. After the elections, the Rada had the
potential of improving public opinion toward NATO if the
institution took a strong stance in favor of NATO membership.
Hryshchenko said the Ukrainian public was interested first
and foremost in bread-and-butter issues. The Ukrainian
government should package NATO membership as part of its
drive toward achieving European social and economic
standards. He said, after the elections, the choice of prime
minister would be critical, since he or she would represent
the majority voice within parliament.

12. (U) Note: When the Razumkov Center asked 2009
respondents December 20-27, 2005, "would you vote for or
against NATO membership should the referendum be held today,"
61.4 percent responded that they would vote against, 16
percent would vote in favor, 17.9 percent were undecided, and
4.7 percent would refuse to participate in a referendum.
Poll numbers on NATO membership vary widely depending on the
specific wording of the question.

In the Hustings

13. (C) MFA NATO Directorate Deputy Director Vladyslav
Yasnyuk told Jackson that, as part of the NATO education
campaign, he visited regional towns and cities on an average
of two days per week. MFA's education effort was directed
toward four principal audiences. First, MFA officials
attempted to inform security specialists and journalists,
providing them with arguments and background that could be
used to frame and inform the debate over NATO membership.
Second, MFA officials met with local government officials to
brief them on central government security policy and policy
toward NATO. Third, MFA officials met with students, 70
percent of whom supported NATO membership. Finally, MFA
attempted to educate the general public, who had a low level
of knowledge and awareness of NATO. While about two-thirds
of the public were opposed to NATO membership or undecided,
Yasniuk said hostility toward NATO was not strong. The
Ukrainian public, however, generally preferred that Ukraine
remain a neutral country. Many Ukrainians did not want their
country to be militarily aligned with either NATO or Russia.

14. (C) Buteyko related an incident demonstrating that a NATO
education campaign could make rapid gains. He said that he,
Defense Minister Hrytsenko, and presidential adviser Horbulin
had appeared on a 1 1/2 hour television program. At the
start of the program, 38 percent of program viewers were in
favor of NATO membership and 62 percent were against.
Buteyko said that, at the end of the program, the NATO
support level had risen ten percent among those who had seen
the broadcast.

KIEV 00001036 004 OF 004

Melange Rocket Fuel

15. (C) DefMin Hrytsenko told Jackson a NATO education
campaign had to overcome various myths about the consequences
of NATO membership (e.g., that NATO membership would lead to
the stationing of nuclear weapons in Ukraine, result in the
basing of NATO troops on Ukrainian soil, cause Ukraine to
become involved in every NATO military operation, and weaken
Ukraine's military-industrial complex). In addition, the
public needed to be informed as to how NATO membership would
concretely benefit Ukrainians. As it stood, the Ukrainian
public did not understand why the Ukrainian government was
footing the bill to transport Organization of African Unity
peacekeeping forces to Darfur, Sudan.

16. (SBU) With both DAS Kramer and Jackson, Hrytsenko urged
the USG to consider funding the elimination of stores of
melange rocket fuel, which posed an environmental and safety
threat to Ukraine. In the meeting with Jackson, Hrytsenko
argured that rather than elimination of TU-22 Backfire
Bombers, which created some controversy, the Ukrainian public
would be very favorably impressed by Nunn-Lugar funding to
dispose of the rocket fuel. Hrytsenko said he had been
surprised to hear that the U.S. Defense Department opposed
USG funding for such an effort. Scheunemann agreed that
rocket fuel elimination could fall within the scope of the
Nunn-Lugar program and promised to investigate further upon
his return to the U.S.

17. (U) DAS Kramer did not have an opportunity to clear this

18. (U) Visit Embassy Kiev's classified website: