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Cablegate: Russia: Polish Pm Sikorski Reopens Old Fights

VZCZCXRO1348
PP RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHROV RUEHSL
DE RUEHMO #2747 3101436
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
P 061436Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5331
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE

S E C R E T MOSCOW 002747

SIPDIS
NOFORN

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/05/2019
TAGS: PREL PGOV PL RS
SUBJECT: RUSSIA: POLISH PM SIKORSKI REOPENS OLD FIGHTS

REF: A. MOSCOW 1397
B. MOSCOW 2240
C. MOSCOW 642
D. WARSAW 1122

Classified By: Political MC Susan M. Elliott for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d
).

1. (SBU) Russian media and officials are concerned with
Polish FM Radoslaw Sikorski's November 4 comments to the
Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.
In particular, they noted Sikorski's request for U.S. forces
on the ground in Poland to "protect against Russian
aggression" and his characterization that the recent
"Zapad-2009" exercises were directed against Poland. Some
Russian officials were quick to point out that Sikorski's
comments undermined not only improved Polish relations (Ref A
and B), but harmed Russian-U.S. and Russian-NATO relations as
well.

2. (SBU) While the Russian MFA has not yet issued a formal
statement, FM Sergey Lavrov told the press that he did not
believe that Sikorski had actually made the remarks. Lavrov
commented, however, that if proved true, "it throws me into
deep astonishment because we had talked in a detailed manner
about the problems that needed to be addressed in the context
of European security." Russian Permanent Representative to
NATO Dmitry Rogozin called Sikorski's remarks "absurd" and a
u-turn in Polish policy toward Russia and its engagement with
NATO and Europe. Duma International Relations Committee
Chair Konstantin Kosachev told the press that Sikorski's
statements "directly contradicted" the improvement in
Russia-U.S. and Russia-NATO relations.

3. (S/NF) Unfortunately, the Polish government had seeded
some of this Russian response through their sponsorship of
and statements in support of the EU's Eastern Partnership
Initiative (Ref C) and show of support to Georgia during the
2008 Russia-Georgia War. Further, the Polish MFA has
established a Bureau of European Security, which Polish
diplomats jokingly refer to as the "Office of Threats from
the East." According to XXXXXXXXXXXX diplomat XXXXXXXXXXXX
(PROTECT), who was recruited to work in this bureau while
serving in Moscow, the Russian MFA threw this new moniker
back at him during a meeting. XXXXXXXXXXXX claimed to us that the
only way the MFA could have known about the reference was to
have been listening in on his phone conversations with Warsaw
while he was interviewing for the job.

4. (C) Comment: The GOR will take some time to digest
Sikorski's comments, and evaluate whether or not to alter the
current positive trend in bilateral relations. Russia has
many levers, including delaying the approval of a pending gas
deal (Ref D). Sikorski has given anti-western elements in
Russia ammunition against improved Russian relations with
NATO and even with the U.S.
Beyrle

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