Viewing cable 06WARSAW180

06WARSAW1802006-02-03 17:26:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Warsaw
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 WARSAW 000180 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/02/2016 
REF: STATE 17066 
Classified By: Economic Counselor Ricard Rorvig, reasons 1.4(b),(d) 
¶1.  (U)  This cable contains an action request - see para 2. 
Summary and Action Request 
¶2.  (C)  Poland's Ministry of Economy and MFA expressed 
support for the U.S. proposal on an approach to Ukraine but 
seek clarification on several questions.  Poland requests 
further information, (through intelligence channels), on U.S. 
concerns about RUE.  The GOP also requests information on the 
timing and aims of the approach, cautioning that any approach 
before the upcoming elections could adversely affect the 
Yushenko government.  The GOP also requested a definition of 
what the U.S. means by support for the government of Ukraine, 
noting that offering only political support would not be 
effective.  The Poles are keen to work closely with us on 
this issue and want to stay in close touch.  The MFA asked to 
be advised of reactions in European capitals to our demarche. 
 End Summary. 
Ministry of Energy - Political Support Insufficient 
--------------------------------------------- ------ 
¶3.  (C)  Minister of Economy Deputy Minister Piotr Naimski 
told visiting EUR/ERA Director Peter Chase, DCM and Econoff 
that RosUkrenergo (RUE) supplies part of Poland's gas needs, 
thus Poland is in a dangerous position when discussing 
potential Russian gas cutoffs to Ukraine.  Responding to the 
demarche, Naimski asked if there is a joint demarche on the 
GOU, at what level it would be, and what the timing would be. 
 He said that political support of the EU and U.S. is 
important but not sufficient in assisting Ukraine to stand up 
to Russian pressure.  Either the U.S. and/or EU should be 
forthcoming with either financial support for Ukraine or that 
EU Member States should be willing to take lower gas 
deliveries from pipelines transiting Ukraine so that Ukraine 
can stand up to Russian pressure.  Putting money into Russian 
coffers via financial support to Kiev under Russian pressure 
is not optimal.  Naimski said the ideal solution for Ukraine 
would be an alternative source of gas, but that is 
technically impossible. 
What the EU Might or Might Not Do 
¶4.  (C)  Naimski agrees that Ukraine should pay a market 
price for gas, noting that Poland and other Western European 
countries do so.  However, he believes there should be a 
transition to market prices.  Other countries could assist 
Ukraine by taking lower deliveries by utilizing their stored 
gas or tapping alternative sources of supply from North 
Africa and Norway.  He thinks we need to persuade the EU to 
make a strong statement if there is another gas shutoff, 
although the Commission would be unlikely to make such a 
statement as it is too conservative and not political. 
Austria, as the Presidency, could make a statement but would 
first have to consult with other Member States.  If the EU 
acts in the Ukrainian gas crisis it would be the first time 
that the EU acted on an energy supply issue outside it's 
Put Pressure Back on the Russians 
¶5.  (C)  Naimski said that it appears that Russia is trying 
to put the pressue on Ukraine in Western Europe by blaiming 
Ukraine for stealing gas.  He'd like us to develop a joint 
strategy that puts the pressure back on Russia to supply gas. 
 He thinks that it comes down to a political decision in 
Berlin, Paris, and Rome to confront Putin although he is 
skeptical of this.  Austria will also need to be involved as 
it receives most of its gas from Russia.  In Naimski's 
opinion, the major EU Member States want to avoid a crisis 
atmosphere and a confrontation with Russia.  The DCM 
recommended that the Polish Ambassador in Kiev coordinate 
with Ambassador Herbst on the gas issue. 
Why Now? 
¶6.  (C)  On February 3, MFA North America's desk Director 
Ambassador Henryk Szlajfer called in DCM to discuss the 
demarche, stating that the MFA senior leadership had just 
finished discussing the issue and had a number of questions 
for the U.S.  DCM and Amb. Szlajfer agreed that the gas 
crisis appears to be over as Ukraine reports that all 
contracts were signed on February 2.  Nevertheless, Poland 
would like to continue to work with the U.S. on energy 
security and the Ukrainian gas situation.  Szlajfer requested 
more information, if necessary through intelligence channels, 
on any new information on RUE that may have prompted our 
demarche to EU capitals now.  He noted that Polish and U.S. 
services had long known that individuals associated with RUE 
had criminal ties, and questioned what new information led to 
the increased concern in the U.S. 
What is the Timing and Aims of Joint Approach? 
--------------------------------------------- - 
¶7.  (C)  Szlajfer asked how quickly the U.S. planned to 
approach the GOU on the contract, and what the aim of the 
demarche might be.  Szlajfer cautioned that any joint 
approach now was likely to have political implications in the 
run-up to Ukraine's March elections.  Even a simple request 
for further information on the contract and the actual 
ownership of RUE could lead to the perception in Ukraine that 
friendly governments are criticizing Yushenko's leadership in 
the critical pre-election period.  It would not be possible 
to keep an approach a secret.  Szlajfer suggested that any 
request be done very carefully, and that the timing, whether 
pre or post-election be carefully considered in view of the 
upcoming elections.  DCM commented that a conversation 
between the Polish Ambassador in Kiew and the U.S. Ambassador 
would be valuable on these issues. 
What is Support? 
¶8.  (C)  The MFA would also like a definition of what the 
U.S. means when it requests that Poland "consider registering 
your support for Ukraine should it decide to renounce this 
deal,..." and what support the U.S. might offer in such an 
eventuality.  The DCM emphasized that at this point the U.S. 
was only requesting that Poland make the same approach to 
Ukraine, although the Ukrainians would no doubt want to 
discuss possible support.  Szlajfer stressed that a 
definition of what support Ukraine might expect should be 
discussed now, if there is to be any chance for the contract 
to be cancelled.  He reiterated Naimski's point that support 
must go beyond political support and be tangible in order to 
assist the GOU in what otherwise would be a very difficult 
situation.  Finally, Szlajfer requested that the U.S. keep 
the GOP fully informed of responses from other EU capitals. 
Note and Comment 
¶9.  (C)  During the February 2 meeting, Naimski reported to 
us that state gas company PGNiG received a call that day from 
the Ukrainian gas operator warning them that the gas supply 
from RosUkrEnergo (RUE) would be cut on February 4.  Poland 
normally receives 12.6 mcm/day and would receive only 6.3 
mcm/day.  Naimski believed such a cut was related to a 
break-down of discussions between the governments of the 
Ukraine and Russia on gas supply.  Naimski was extremely 
concerned about a potential cut-off and did not realize that 
Ukraine had signed the agreement with RUE earlier in the day. 
 Subsequent reports from the U.S. and the press that the 
agreements were signed have not diminished, however, Poland's 
interest in continuing a dialogue on energy security with the 
U.S. and Ukraine.