S E C R E T USNATO 000290 NOFORN SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/05/2017 TAGS: NATO, PREL, MOPS, GG, RS SUBJECT: UKRAINE, MAP, AND THE GEORGIA-RUSSIA CONFLICT Classified By: Ambassador Kurt Volker for reasons 1.4 (b), (d) 1. (S/NF) Summary: As NATO Foreign Ministers gather to discuss the Georgia crisis, we also need to look ahead at the implications for Ukraine,s territorial integrity and its bid for a Membership Action Plan. President Putin challenged Ukraine,s territorial integrity rhetorically at the Bucharest Summit. Those words are now cause for greater concern as we look at Russia,s actions in Georgia. We therefore need to give a strong boost to Ukraine,s territorial integrity, reaffirm the Bucharest decision that Ukraine and Georgia will become members of NATO, and begin to shape Allied thinking on a decision about Membership Action Plan this December. End Summary. 2 (S/NF) Events in Georgia are coloring Allies' views of Ukraine and its membership prospects at NATO. Allies are divided on their perception of how the Bucharest Summit pledge of future membership to Georgia and Ukraine affected the current crisis. The German-led Allies argue that the Bucharest decision on eventual membership provoked the Russian aggression, while most others (including the new members and Canada) see it as we do: that Russia interpreted the denial of MAP as a green light for action against Georgia. 3. (S/NF) In the April 4 NATO-Russia Council Summit, Putin in his last days as Russian President implicitly challenged the territorial integrity of Ukraine, suggesting that Ukraine was an artificial creation sewn together from territory of Poland, the Czech Republic, Romania, and especially Russia in the aftermath of the Second World War. He stated, "the Crimea was simply given to Ukraine by a decision of the Politburo of the Soviet Communist Party Central Committee. There haven't even been any state procedures regarding transfer of the territory, since we take a very calm and responsible approach to the problem." Putin claimed that 90 percent of inhabitants of the Crimea are Russian, 17 out of 45 million Ukrainian citizens are Russian, and that Ukraine gained enormous amounts of its territory from the east and south at the expense of Russia. He added, "if we add in the NATO question and other problems, the very existence of the State could find itself under threat." Putin further questioned old borders and the worthiness of political leadership in neighboring countries during his August 9 Vladikavkahz speech. These Russian challenges to the territorial integrity of neighboring states are inconsistent with the NATO-Russia Founding Act, the Rome Declaration, and take on profound new meaning in light of Russian military actions in Georgia. 4. (S/NF) NATO needs to be mindful of the connective tissue between events in Georgia, Putin's threatening language on the territorial integrity of its neighbors, and Ukraine,s (and Georgia,s) MAP aspirations. For many Allies, the Georgia-Russia conflict provides new impetus to moving Ukraine into MAP and toward NATO membership, provided Ukraine continues to request it. Conversely, if the Kremlin achieves all of its objectives in Georgia with few consequences and its international reputation intact - as Germany and others would have it - this may only embolden Russia to increase its bullying behavior towards Ukraine and others in the neighborhood. VOLKER