Viewing cable 06KYIV4537

06KYIV45372006-12-11 16:05:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv
DE RUEHKV #4537/01 3451605
P 111605Z DEC 06
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 KYIV 004537 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/11/2016 
REF: STATE 4305 
Classified By: Political Counselor Kent Logsdon for reasons 1.4(b,d) 
¶1. (C) Summary:  Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus' 
three-day state visit to Ukraine -- his fourth trip here this 
year -- was intended to demonstrate a willingness to work 
with the new Yanukovych government, promote bilateral trade 
and investment ties, and facilitate cooperation in the energy 
sector.  His hosting of a business forum in Donetsk 
highlighted, particularly to backers of Prime Minister 
Yanukovych, the opportunities enhanced trade with the West 
has to offer.  The primary message, however, was the 
importance of NATO membership for Ukraine.  In the wake of 
Adamkus' visit, however, our Lithuanian Embassy interlocutor 
expressed concern over Yanukovych's attitude towards 
Euro-Atlantic integration.  The Lithuanian Embassy DCM said 
Lithuania would send former Lithuanian President Algirdas 
Brazauskas -- a person well regarded by Yanukovych -- to 
Ukraine to impress the advantages of Euro-Atlantic 
integration on Yanukovych.  End summary. 
The Itinerary 
¶2. (U) Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus arrived for a 
three-day state visit to Ukraine November 14 to mark the 15th 
anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations. 
According to Ukrainian MFA Lithuania desk officer Khrystyna 
Orlovska, his delegation included the Ministers of Defense, 
Culture, and Economy.  Adamkus met with President Yushchenko, 
Yanukovych, parliament (Rada) speaker Oleksandr Moroz, and 
briefly with opposition politician Yulia Tymoshenko.  While 
in Kyiv he co-chaired with Yushchenko a meeting of the 
Ukraine-Lithuania Council of Presidents.  After a November 15 
breakfast meeting with local business leaders, Adamkus laid a 
wreath at the memorial to victims of the 1932-1933 Holodomor 
famine and spoke to students at a local university and then 
went to Lutsk for a six-hour visit.  He then traveled to 
Donetsk to meet local leaders and attend a 
Lithuanian-Ukrainian business forum on November 16.  Adamkus 
also met with local university students and opened 
Lithuania's honorary consulate before returning to Vilnius. 
Strong Ties, Shared History 
¶3. (U) The two countries enjoy strong economic ties.  In 2005 
total trade turnover in 2005 was $476 million, of which 
Lithuanian exports to Ukraine constituted $282 million and 
imports, $194 million.  Orlovska noted a 40 percent increase 
in trade volume in the first 9 months of 2006 compared to 
¶2005.  While the foreign direct investment from Ukraine to 
Lithuania is a minuscule $0.4 million, direct investment from 
Lithuania to Ukraine is $45 million.  While the trade and 
investment figures in absolute numbers are not large, they 
are respectable, given Lithuania's population of 3.5 million. 
¶4. (U) Ukraine and Lithuania have historically strong ties, 
with large parts of western Ukraine once part of the Polish 
Lithuanian Commonwealth.  In his speech on November 15 at 
Kyiv's Taras Shevchenko University, Adamkus said the fates of 
the many peoples that lived between the Baltic Sea and the 
Black Sea have intertwined and intersected over the 
centuries; both Lithuania and Ukraine have lived through 
famine, occupation and foreign oppression.  Adamkus also 
remarked that Ukraine's most famous poet Shevchenko spent 
part of his youth in Vilnius and Lithuanian poet Jonas 
Maironis studied in Kyiv.  Love of national freedom, which 
was the underlying theme of both these writers, was an 
expression of a shared national trait made stronger by 
centuries of historical challenges. 
¶5. (U) Lithuania "knocked on the door to the European home of 
nations" after the collapse of the Soviet Union, "thumping 
heavily at times," Adamkus continued, eventually entering 
NATO and the EU.  Both Orlovska and Lithuanian Embassy 
Counselor Darius Vitkauskas suggested that Lithuania would be 
supportive of Ukraine's entry into the EU and noted that 
Adamkus has a particular interest in political and economic 
developments here.  Vitkauskas said that Adamkus has been to 
Ukraine four times this year and at least 11 times since 
becoming President.  While in Kyiv, Adamkus publicly stated, 
"Lithuania cannot imagine Europe without Ukraine." 
Support for Yushchenko 
¶6. (C) Yushchenko, Adamkus and Polish President Kaczynski, 
who share a common vision of a democratic Ukraine that is a 
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member of NATO and the EU, form a "troika," according to 
Lithuanian MFA Under Secretary Zygimantas Pavilionis who 
traveled to Ukraine with Adamkus (reftel).  According to 
Vitkauskas, Adamkus and Yushchenko agreed NATO membership for 
Ukraine is a goal.  Yushchenko thanked Adamkus for supporting 
Ukraine's Euro-Atlantic aspirations and recent GUAM 
initiatives, and said that Ukraine's entry into WTO would be 
independent of Russia's position.  Adamkus asked that more 
references to NATO be inserted into the political life of 
Ukraine and stressed the importance of a NATO education 
program.  Adamkus suggested a joint fact-finding mission to 
Transnistria in the context of the Council of Presidents. 
The Ukrainian MFA agreed to study the idea.  The two 
presidents signed a declaration that characterized the 
relationship between Ukraine and Lithuania as a 'dynamic and 
close partnership.'  There was also an agreement to expand 
cooperation between the civil services of the two countries. 
¶7. (SBU) Vitkauskas said that Yushchenko reacted favorably to 
Adamkus' suggestion that Ukraine supply electricity to 
Lithuania after the Ignalina nuclear power plant closes in 
2009 but noted that Belarus' cooperation would be needed. 
They also discussed the possibility of reversing the flow of 
the Odesa-Brody pipeline and supplying the Lithuanian oil 
refinery in Mazeikiai.  Yushchenko and Adamkus agreed to 
establish a committee of experts to study energy cooperation. 
Skepticism about Yanukovych 
¶8. (C) The Lithuanian Embassy's Vitkauskas said Yanukovych 
told Adamkus that he expects the current government to be in 
power until 2011 and that he (Yanukovych) is in favor of 
Yushchenko remaining as president after 2009.  Yanukovych 
opined that the next presidential election "could be in 
parliament."  His position on NATO is "more positive" than 
society as a whole but he had to avoid "hurried, rash steps" 
and "we cannot run in front of a train."  Adamkus said, if 
Ukraine wanted to join NATO, it should "speak with a clear 
¶9. (C) In our December 1 meeting with Vitkauskas, he 
expressed considerable unease about Yanukovych's intentions. 
He was concerned about reports in the press after the 
just-completed Yanukovych-Putin  meeting that Yanukovych 
spoke about a single economic space with Russia and used a 
Soviet era term in Russian ("Pribaltica") to describe the 
Baltic region.  He was also concerned about Putin's intention 
to increase the volume of Russian goods shipped through 
Ukraine to Black Sea ports, presumably at the expense of 
Baltic ports. 
¶10. (C) Vitkauskas said the Lithuanian government will take 
steps to convince Yanukovych that "there cannot be two 
integrations," and expressed hope that a similar point will 
be made to Yanukovych when he travels to Washington.  He 
mentioned that Lithuania would take "concrete" steps to 
impress upon Yanukovych of the advantages of Euro-Atlantic 
integration including bringing former Lithuanian President 
and Prime Minister, Algirdas Brazauskas -- a person well 
regarded by Yanukovych, to Ukraine. 
¶11. (U) Visit Embassy Kyiv's classified website: