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Ukraine's parliament upholds president’s decision to break Friendship Treaty with Russia

Russia and Ukraine signed the Treaty on Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership in May 1997

KIEV, December 6. /TASS/. Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada (parliament) has upheld President Pyotr Poroshenko’s decision to terminate the Treaty on Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership with Russia. As many as 277 lawmakers voted for a bill on the treaty’s termination submitted by the president, while 226 votes were needed to pass the bill.

"The Treaty on Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership between Ukraine and Russia will be terminated on April 1, 2019," the bill reads. It will enter into force on the day following its publication.

On September 17, Poroshenko signed a decree enforcing the Ukrainian Security Service’s decision to terminate the Treaty on Friendship with Russia. On September 24, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry notified the Russian Foreign Ministry about the move. However, experts pointed out that the document had to be approved by the parliament to enter into force.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian expert Ruslan Bortnik said the president’s decision to submit the bill to the parliament was only a propaganda stunt. "The bill terminating the Friendship Treaty with Russia demonstrates the authorities’ inaction which it seeks to present as a success in the information field," Bortnik wrote on Facebook. According to him, this is the reason why the parliament started to consider the bill in December, when preparations got underway for the presidential election, instead of making a decision in September, when the president signed the decree. "In any case, the treaty with Russia will remain in effect until April 1, 2019, though its termination process has long become a political show that does not affect the life of the Ukrainian people but has been distracting them for the past four years," the expert noted.

Treaty on Friendship

Russia and Ukraine signed the Treaty on Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership in May 1997. The document, which entered into force in April 1999 for a term of ten years, could be automatically extended for ten-year periods provided the parties did not object. The document enshrines strategic partnership between the two countries and mutual obligations not to use one’s territory to harm the other’s security, as well as recognizes the inviolability of existing borders.

In October 2018, the period expired for the parties to announce their plans either to extend the treaty for another ten-year term or denounce the document. Ukraine chose to do the latter.