U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Alexander Vershbow last year raised concerns with senior Russian officials over Moscow’s respect for Ukraine’s sovereignty and borders.
According to an embassy cable, published by whistleblower website Wikileaks on Nov. 29, Vershbow criticized as “counter-productive” Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s vitriolic open letter of August 2009, which attacked then-Ukrainian counterpart Viktor Yushchenko’s “anti-Russian” policies.
The cable was sent on Oct. 6, 2009, following meetings between Vershbow and a number of senior Russian officials. According to the communication “Vershbow emphasized that Russia's efforts to assert a regional sphere of influence posed a threat to the reset in bilateral relations, and reiterated the U.S. commitment to the sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity of Georgia, Ukraine and other partners in the region.” He added that the U.S. didn’t see Russian-Ukrainian relations as a “zero-sum game.”
The cable continues that Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin responded that “Ukraine is Russia's closest neighbor, and is a ‘key partner’ in international activities. Russia is not trying to influence Ukraine, but wants a stable Ukraine and a secure neighborhood. He also said that Russia cannot ignore attempts to depict it as a major threat to Ukraine.”
Read the cable here.