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Cablegate: Lavrov-Poroshenko Deal On New Russian Ambassador to Ukraine

VZCZCXRO8261
PP RUEHDBU RUEHSL
DE RUEHKV #0125 0261420
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 261420Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY KYIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9207
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L KYIV 000125

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/25/2020
TAGS: PREL UP RS

SUBJECT: LAVROV-POROSHENKO DEAL ON NEW RUSSIAN AMBASSADOR TO UKRAINE

Classified By: A/DCM Colin Cleary for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

1. (C) At a January 26 meeting with the Ambassador,
Ukrainian FM Poroshenko explained how he had cut a deal with
Russian FM Lavrov to facilitate the arrival of the new
Russian ambassador to Ukraine, Mikhail Zurabov. Moscow had
burned all bridges with Ukrainian President Yushchenko and
had not wanted to send a new ambassador to Kyiv until
Yushchenko left office following the February 7 Ukrainian
runoff election. On the other hand, both sides were
interested in moving forward expeditiously on a number of
bilateral issues. Poroshenko therefore got Lavrov to agree
that Amb. Zurabov would arrive in Kyiv bearing written
credentials addressed to Ukrainian President Yushchenko, as
required by protocol and Ukrainian national sensitivities.
Indeed, FM Poroshenko even showed the credential document,
with Yushchenko's name, to Ukrainian TV cameras. However,
Zurabov will not formally present his credentials until the
new Ukrainian president has taken office, at which time he
will have a new document with the new Ukrainian president's
name written in place of Yushchenko's. In this way, a) the
sitting Ukrainian president was shown due respect; and b)
Zurabov was allowed to arrive and begin working; but c) the
Russians were not required to suffer the indignity of Zurabov
presenting his credentials to Yushchenko.

2. (C) Zurabov is indisputably a Putin man, said Poroshenko,
adding that Zurabov made a good impression by making his
first statement to the press here in Ukrainian. Zurabov will
be presenting a list of areas for cooperation as part of the
bilateral "reset." The one area Poroshenko mentioned was
trivial -- the possible coordination of an announcement about
changing the age of retirement in both countries. Poroshenko
said he asked Zurabov if he wanted to talk about the Russian
Black Sea Fleet; Zurabov indicated that it is not a topic for
immediate discussion.

TEFFT

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