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OO RUEHDBU RUEHSL
DE RUEHKV #0275/01 0541526
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 231526Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY KYIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9361
INFO RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE
TAGS: PREL, PGOV, ECON, UP
SUBJECT: SCENESETTER: NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR JONES'
C o n f i d e n t i a l section 01 of 05 kyiv 000275
E.o. 12958: decl: 02/22/2020
Tags: prel, pgov, econ, up
Subject: scenesetter: national security advisor jones'
attendance at yanukovych inauguration
Classified By: Ambassador John F. Tefft. Reasons 1.4 (b/d.)
1. (C) Your visit to Kyiv for Viktor Yanukovych's
inauguration February 25 comes at a time -- not unusual for
Ukraine -- of political and economic tumult. More than two
weeks after the February 7 second round of Presidential
election, PM Yuliya Tymoshenko has still not recognized
Yanukovych's victory, and is not likely to. Indeed, her
parliamentary faction is threatening to boycott the
inauguration. Yanukovych's Party of Regions is, meanwhile,
negotiating with Tymoshenko's coalition partners to bring
down her government. President Obama's call of
congratulations to Yanukovych left a highly favorable
impression and could help move Yanukovych forward on such
issues as agreeing to eliminate fresh HEU from three sites in
Ukraine. Yanukovych advocates a multivectoral foreign
policy; although he wants to reset relations with Russia, he
also seeks productive relations with the EU and the U.S. His
first trip abroad as President will be to Brussels, likely on
2. (SBU) Ukraine has made many economic gains since
independence in 1991, but its transformation to a
well-functioning market economy is far from complete.
Yanukovych is taking up the reigns at a difficult time. He
must cut government expenditures to restart international,
including IMF, lending; improve the business climate to bring
back investment; and reform the banks so that businesses can
gain access to credit and begin to grow again. End Summary.
3. (SBU) PM Tymoshenko has refused to concede the
Presidential election, the second round of which took place
on February 7, to Regions Party leader Viktor Yanukovych.
Facing defeat in court, Tymoshenko abruptly withdrew her
appeal of the results of the election (she lost by 3.48
percent) on February 20, claiming the court was biased
against her. Election observers, the Central Election
Commission, exit polls and internal polling were unanimous in
concluding that Yanukovych had won and that the election was
essentially free and fair. Tymoshenko is considering a
boycott by her bloc of the inauguration ceremony February 25,
claiming Yanukovych's election was illegitimate. In a
nationally televised address February 22, Tymoshenko again
alleged that Yanukovych had won by fraud, that he was the
tool of oligarchs, and that he would sell out Ukraine's
Taking Down the Tymoshenko Government
4. (SBU) Your visit also coincides with efforts by
Yanukovych's Party of Regions to take down the Tymoshenko
government. While the Presidential election has,
constitutionally, no direct bearing on the governing
coalition in parliament, Yanukovych's Party of Regions is
seeking to use momentum from Yanukovych's win to try and
break Tymoshenko's coalition and remove her from office.
Regions hopes to entice Tymoshenko's main coalition partner,
Our Ukraine-People's Self Defense (OU-PSD), to abandon
Tymoshenko and join a Regions-led coalition. They hope to
achieve this in the week following the inauguration. Regions
is willing to offer the Prime Ministership to a candidate
more amenable to OU-PSD. If Regions is unable to get OU-PSD
to flip, it will pursue a vote of no confidence. If that
passes, Tymoshenko would remain as caretaker PM -- and a
sharply divided President-PM cohabitation would prevail --
until pre-term parliamentary elections in the fall.
5. (C) Senior Yanukovych advisors offer the odds of a
Regions-OU/PSD coalition at anywhere from ninety percent to
about even. Fourth place finisher in the Presidential
election's first round, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, appears a likely
compromise candidate for PM in a Regions-OU/PSD coalition.
OU-PSD lacks centralized leadership making it more difficult
for Regions representatives to cut a deal. Regions' trump
card, however, is the fact that many OU-PSD members fear
losing their seats in early parliamentary elections, making
them more inclined to accept a deal from Regions.
Reset with Russia
6. (C) Yanukovych will usher in a change in direction and
tone in Ukrainian policy toward Russia. Dmitriy Medvedev,
Kyiv 00000275 002 of 005
who refused all contact with Yushchenko since at least
August, has already invited Yanukovych to visit Moscow in
March. Yanukovych's team seeks to renegotiate the January
2009 gas deal that Tymoshenko worked out with Putin, saying,
in effect, that Putin took Tymoshenko to the cleaners. They
tell us that they want to examine the relationship in its
entirety and are willing to make concessions in return for
concessions. Key areas we need to watch include:
-NATO: Membership is not on the agenda, securing one of
Moscow's primary goals. However, Yanukovych has emphasized
he wants to maintain contact with NATO including through
training and exercises. Regions invited NATO SYG Rasmussen
to the inauguration (although it appears NATO will be
represented at a lower level).
-Black Sea Fleet: Yanukovych has announced he is open to
renegotiate the lease for the Russian Black Sea Fleet, based
in Sevastopol, which expires in 2017. Yanukovych would seek
substantially higher rent. Regions leaders appear to see
this issue as a bargaining chip to get concessions in other
areas, such as the gas deal.
-Russian Language: Yanukovych will seek to make Russian
language official for education and other purposes in areas
where Russian speakers are a majority. Regions claims that
this is consistent with European norms. Yanukovych had
campaigned on a pledge to make Russian a second state
language, but he does not have the votes in the Rada to
change the constitution to make this happen.
-Customs Union: Yanukovych has talked favorably about
increasing trade and economic ties with Russia, Belarus and
Kazakhstan and flirted rhetorically with the idea of joining
the Customs Union; however, his advisors recognize that
joining a Customs Union would be incompatible with both WTO
and an EU Free Trade Agreement, so he is unlikely to go that
Partnership with U.S.
7. (C) Party of Regions leaders have made efforts to reach
out to the Embassy to reassure us that productive relations
with the U.S. are a top priority for Yanukovych. Senior
Yanukovych advisors have told us that President Obama's call
of congratulations made a major positive impression on
Yanukovych. Yanukovych and his advisors are cognizant of the
importance the Obama administration places on nuclear
security; they are aware of the Administration's interest in
removing fresh HEU from three sites in Ukraine. Your visit
offers the opportunity to capitalize on current good will
toward the U.S. and move this issue forward. We should seek
a GOU decision to agree to remove the HEU this year. This
would pave the way for a productive April Summit and
excellent start in our relations with the Yanukovych team.
We would also like to get Yanukovych's commitment to support
a Rada vote to allow foreign military exercises in Ukraine in
2010. Regions blocked this in 2009, largely for political
reasons. We can use your visit to try and secure Regions'
commitment to support that legislation in early 2010.
8. (SBU) Viktor Yushchenko ends his tenure after having
gotten only about five percent of the vote in the first round
of the Presidential election. His appeal now extends only as
far as Lviv and other limited areas of Western Ukraine. He
is widely blamed -- not least by many who voted for him in
2004 -- for his poor management, incessant quarreling with
Tymoshenko at the expense of national interests, needless
antagonizing of Russia, and his penchant for seeking
declarations of membership from NATO and the EU instead of
focusing on the hard work of economic and military reforms
that would have moved such aspirations toward concrete
9. (C) Yushchenko spent most of the presidential campaign, as
he had much of his time in office, bashing Tymoshenko. His
relations with Yanukovych are, by contrast, civil.
Yushchenko hurt Tymoshenko in round two -- possibly making
the difference in the margin of victory -- by urging voters
to vote "against all." Some claim that Yushchenko has made
a deal with Yanukovych. Yushchenko recognized Yanukovych's
election as the "legitimate President of Ukraine" when
Tymoshenko withdrew her court case February 20 and signed a
decree to support Yanukovych's inauguration.
Kyiv 00000275 003 of 005
10. (C) Considered a possible flashpoint following the August
2008 Georgia war, Crimea has been quiet in recent months.
Although Tymoshenko alleged electoral fraud in Crimea,
observers reported that the election proceeded quietly there.
Yanukovych won overwhelmingly in Crimea. His election has
the potential to further reduce the political temperature in
the region and diminish the pronounced alienation Crimeans
feel toward Kyiv. Pro-Kremlin nationalist groups have been
largely dormant for over a year. The last time anti-American
sentiment was noticeable was in January 2009 when, following
signature of the US-Charter on bilateral relations in
December 2008, pro-Russian nationalists held rallies
protesting a provision which called for exploring the
possibility of opening a U.S. post in Simferopol, Crimea's
11. (SBU) In the last five years, the only major economic
reform Ukraine has undertaken is adopting legislation for its
accession to the World Trade Organization in May 2008. Per
capita income has more than doubled since 1991 (to over
$3,210 in 2008), despite economic decline throughout all of
the 1990s. But in terms of purchasing power parity, which
reflects living standards, Ukraine's GDP still ranks only
99th in the world: just 22% of the European Union level and
40% of Russia's level.
12. (SBU) The world's economic crisis hit Ukraine hard. As
global liquidity froze up, Ukraine was excluded from global
finance. Several industries -- construction, metallurgy,
mining and machine-building -- saw their output fall by about
half. Only agriculture escaped the crisis. Ukraine saw its
economy shrink by 15% in 2009 for various reasons. First, it
maintained a fixed exchange rate to the US dollar. Currency
inflows in 2007 and 2008 increased money supply, causing
double-digit inflation, which reached 31% in 2008. Imports
rose more than exports. Structural problems in the economy
aggravated the crisis. Steel accounted for over 40% of
Ukraine's exports, and steel prices and exports plummeted.
Political gridlock and a poor business climate turned off
foreign investors, and foreign direct investment (FDI)
inflows dropped by more than 50% in 2009.
13. (SBU) In need of financing, including to make monthly gas
payments to Russia, Ukraine had no option but to turn to the
IMF and devalue its currency at the end of 2008. To top it
all off, banks, which were already suffering, came under
additional pressure as non-performing loans skyrocketed.
Customers, who had taken out hard-currency loans, could no
longer pay their mortgages and car loans, which overnight
became almost two times as expensive for those receiving
salaries in local currency.
14. (SBU) The tasks facing Yanukovych thus are immense. For
Ukraine to regain footing on the path to long-term growth and
stability that would contribute to the country's security and
sovereignty, Yanukovych and his team must first work with the
IMF to put its $16.4 billion program back on track. The
program, with approximately $6 billion still to be disbursed,
has been on hold since November. The IMF has said that
Ukraine must pass a realistic 2010 budget, keeping the
deficit to about 4% of GDP. This will require Yanukovych to
take what are likely to be painful and unpopular measures,
such as raising consumer gas prices, introducing pension
reform, and limiting the wage and pension increases his party
pushed through the Parliament in late 2009. Without the IMF
program, however, investor confidence in Ukraine is unlikely
15. (SBU) After fiscal reform, the government must make
improvements to the business climate to stimulate growth.
This should include deregulation and tax reform to improve
competitiveness, judicial and administrative reforms to
tackle corruption, and land sector reform to increase
agricultural output. Ukraine last year became a net importer
of meat and dairy products for the first time. Finally,
financial sector reform must move forward to strengthen
banks, abilities to support investment into the economy.
Messages for Yanukovych
16. (SBU) Following might be appropriate for your bilateral
Kyiv 00000275 004 of 005
-President Obama enjoyed speaking with you. We welcome your
readiness to use our strategic partnership charter as the
basis of our relationship. The Administration looks forward
to working with you across the full range of issues.
-Reiterate importance President Obama attaches to the Nuclear
Security Summit. Look forward to your attendance. You
could make a major contribution by agreeing to remove fresh
HEU from the three sites in Ukraine. U.S. willing to help
-Look forward to Ukraine continuing security cooperation with
US and with NATO. Seek early Rada passage of legislation
permitting foreign troops to conduct exercises in Ukraine in
-Endorse Yanukovych's stated goal of Ukraine signing
Association Agreement and Free Trade Agreement with EU.
Would be a major impetus to reform.
Messages for Tymoshenko
17. (SBU) Possible messages if you meet with Tymoshenko:
-Look forward to continuing to work with you.
-You have important role to play in government or in
opposition. Democratic process is important.
-Orange Revolution was about transparent and competitive
elections, civil society and freer media. Ukraine has made
major strides in these areas since 2004. Ukraine should be
proud that international observers found the election to be
essentially free and fair. A tribute to how far Ukraine has
-Ukrainian elites should work together to help the economy
escape from its current morass.
-Look for your support with legislation permitting foreign
military exercises in Ukraine in 2010.
Messages for Poroshenko
18. (SBU) Possible messages in the event of a meeting with FM
-Look for success of April Nuclear Summit, particularly in
security agreement to move forward on HEU issue.
-Offer state of play on post-START negotiations. (Ukraine
had sought to be a participant in Post-START process.)
-Express hope that Ukraine can sign Association Agreement and
Free Trade Agreement with EU in 2010. Key to energizing
Possible Economic Points
19. (SBU) In your discussions with Ukraine's leaders you may
-Encourage Ukraine to work with the IMF to cut government
expenditures. The IMF program must be put back on track
before investors will return and before other international
financial institutions, such as the World Bank and EBRD, will
-Stress the need for energy sector reform. Renegotiating the
gas contract with Russia, which Yanukovych has said he
intends to do, will not be enough. The prices consumers --
both households and heating companies -- pay must be
increased. Subsidies to industries must be narrowed.
Cooperation with the international donor community to
rehabilitate gas pipelines and other infrastructure will also
-Reiterate U.S. support for reform that will improve the
business climate. We have a number of projects, such as
USAID assistance to improve the government procurement law,
which will help reduce corruption. Tax and customs reform,
land sector reform, and judicial reform will also help bring
Kyiv 00000275 005 of 005
-Stress that our firms are also ready to help Ukraine's
economy grow. Companies such as Westinghouse, however, will
not remain in the market if they continue to face problems
with regulators. Westinghouse has recently been told it will
not receive a license for the nuclear fuel it has been
developing for Ukrainian nuclear power plants (with millions
of dollars of USG support). Westinghouse fuel would help
Ukraine diversify away from its 100% dependence on Russia
-Emphasize the importance of paying off value-added tax (VAT)
arrears, which exceed $2.4 billion overall, with over $300
million to U.S. agricultural exporters alone. U.S. firms
raise VAT arrears as a significant barrier to further
investment in Ukraine.
-Highlight the need for continued work to shore up the
financial sector; including a need to address deficiencies in
Ukraine's anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist
financing regime. The international Financial Action Task
Force (FATF) on February 19 listed Ukraine as a high-risk