MOSCOW, December 11. /TASS/. The signing of the law on terminating the Treaty on Friendship between Russia and Ukraine by Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko will make negotiations on preventing provocations and normalizing the situation in the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait area even more difficult, Director of the Russian Center for Current Policy Alexei Chesnakov has told reporters.
The talks began on Tuesday in Berlin at the level of aides and advisers to the Normandy Four leaders following an agreement reached by Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. "The matter is that the 1997 Treaty on Friendship, which is being terminated by Ukraine, is the basis of the entire system of treaties and agreements between Moscow and Kiev, and this termination destroys that system," Chesnakov stressed.
"In particular, the Agreement on cooperation in the use of the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait, referring to which Ukraine demands free passage through the Kerch Strait, is likewise part of that system," the expert went on to say. "It was signed in 2003 in furtherance of the Treaty on Friendship. The preamble of the treaty on the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait states explicitly that the parties were guided by the provisions of the Treaty on Friendship when signing it. That is, it was a consequence and continuation of the Treaty on Friendship."
"Now that Ukraine is quitting the Treaty on Friendship, the treaty on the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait is losing its legal basis, legal and political sources and is actually being destroyed," Chesnakov pointed out. "If there is no Treaty on Friendship, there will be no Agreement on the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait. That’s the legal and political logic and cause-and-effect link."
"Ukraine is thus stripping itself of the right to freedom of navigation in that region," he added.
The Treaty on Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership between Ukraine and the Russian Federation was signed in May 1997 and entered into force in April 1999 for a period of ten years with its automatic extension for the next decade on a no-objection basis. October 2018 was the deadline when the parties had to declare their intention to extend the treaty or terminate it.