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Russia sends note listing Kiev’s violations of Friendship Treaty

The Treaty is terminated at the initiative of the Ukrainian side on April 1
Russia’s Foreign Ministry Valeriy Sharifulin/TASS
Russia’s Foreign Ministry
© Valeriy Sharifulin/TASS

MOSCOW, March 12. /TASS/. Russia’s Foreign Ministry has sent a note amid Kiev’s termination from April 1 of the Treaty on Friendship, Cooperation, and Partnership between Russia and Ukraine, listing a number of Ukraine’s violations.

"We detailed all this (list of Kiev’s violations of the Treaty - TASS) in a note to the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry," the ministry said. "We call on Ukraine to honor its bilateral and international commitments not in word, but in deed."

"All steps against people by the Maidan authorities, who under the guise of fighting the ‘aggressor’ violate fundamental rights of their own citizens and try to ruin traditional multi-faceted ties between the peoples of Russia and Ukraine, will obviously leave not a good memory, and the court of history will inevitably pass a harsh sentence for them," the ministry said.

Strive to join NATO

Despite Kiev’s claims that Russia allegedly violated the treaty, Ukraine has itself failed to observe the document. "We admit that the treaty may be outdated, it was signed more than 20 years ago. But this obviously occurred not due to Moscow’s fault, which has always declared its readiness for talks and discussing particular proposals on updating the contractual and legal basis, including the 1997 Friendship Treaty," the ministry stated.

In particular, Ukraine violated the treaty’s provisions prohibiting signing agreements with third countries aimed against the other party and also allowing to use its territory to the detriment of security of the other party. In 2004, Kiev ratified a memorandum on ensuring support for NATO operations and in 2005 it made amendments to the country’s military doctrine, declaring joining NATO as the country’s strategic goal.

A bill was also passed on amending Ukraine’s Constitution on confirming strategic course towards obtaining a full-fledged NATO membership. Meanwhile, Kiev held no consultations with Moscow, which had been envisaged by the Friendship Treaty, the ministry stressed.

Clampdown on Russian language

Ukraine has been blatantly and systematically clamping down on ethnic, cultural and language minorities in the country, the ministry said. Kiev is not meeting its commitments under the Friendship Treaty on creating equal opportunities and conditions for studying the Russian language in the country. "Instead, the Maidan authorities over the past years have been carrying out a targeted offensive against the Russian language and the rights of Russian-speaking citizens in Ukraine," it said.

The ministry voiced concerns over the Ukrainian law banning the broadcast of Russian movies and soap operas devoted to Russian law enforcement agencies and also Russian TV and cinema products created after 2014. It also slammed the law on at least 75% quota for the Ukrainian language on television.

Ukrainian authorities have also stopped importing printed goods from Russia, thus significantly limiting the rights of the Russian-speaking population to get unbiased information in native language and also imposed restrictions on Russian websites. Russian performers have been forced to obtain permission of Ukraine’s Security Service on holding concerts.

Another high-profile law "On Education," which violates the rights of Russian-speaking citizens by limiting education in native languages at schools, sparked discontent both in Russia and a number of other countries, which have major ethnic communities in Ukraine. The new legislation has been also criticized by the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission.

"Now the Verkhovna Rada (Ukraine’s parliament) is considering a bill "On ensuring the use of Ukrainian as the state language," which is also part and parcel of a policy of total Ukrainization (policy of increasing the usage of the Ukrainian language and promoting Ukrainian culture) and violating the rights of Russian-speaking citizens in Ukraine," the ministry said.

Threats to Crimea

Kiev continues denying Crimean citizens’ rights to freely decide on their fate, thus also violating the Friendship Treaty’s provisions, the ministry said. "When an anti-constitutional coup occurred in Ukraine in 2014 and nationalists, radicals and supporters of violence and intimidation got the upper hand, Crimeans faced a real threat to security. They used their right to self-determination, which is guaranteed not only by a bilateral treaty, but also the United Nations’ Charter and also most fundamental international and legal documents," the ministry stated.

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.

On September 24, 2018 Russia was officially notified by Kiev that it would not extend the treaty.