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Ukrainian president signs law terminating Friendship Treaty with Russia

The parliament upheld the president’s decision not to extend the Treaty on December 6

KIEV, December 10. /TASS/. Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko has signed a law terminating the Treaty on Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership with Russia, as he himself wrote on Twitter.

On December 6, Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada (parliament) upheld the president’s decision not to extend the Treaty.

On September 24, Ukrainian Foreign Ministry notified the Russian Foreign Ministry that the document would be terminated on April 1, 2019.

Meanwhile, Poroshenko wrote on Facebook that the decision "not to extend the Treaty on Friendship and Cooperation between Ukraine and Russia should be considered not just as an episode but as part of our strategy to finally break with our colonial past and pivot towards Europe." According to the Ukrainian president, "visa-free travels, the Ukraine-EU Association Agreement and a tomos of autocephaly for the Ukrainian Church are also part of this strategy, as well as the country’s withdrawal from the CIS [Commonwealth of Independent States], the decision to enshrine Ukraine’s plans to join NATO and the EU in the Constitution, the creation of a strong professional army and the support of the Ukrainian language."

At the same time, Poroshenko has ordered the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry to complete an inventory of agreements with Russia. "We will continue to assess the utility of those agreements," the Ukrainian president pointed out. He also instructed the government to take immediate steps to establish an inter-agency coordination body "to work on a comprehensive claim concerning the damage caused by Russia’s military aggression."

Poroshenko stressed that the Treaty on Friendship with Russia had not been terminated earlier so that the country could "take advantage of its provisions to prepare numerous lawsuits to be filed with international courts."

According to the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, there are more than 300 Ukrainian-Russian agreements and other documents.

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.