According to the statement published by Russian Foreign Ministry, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation sent a note of protest to Ukraine due to the termination of the Friendship Treaty.
The Russian Foreign Ministry accused Ukraine of violating the treaty in 2004 by ratifying a memorandum on supporting the operations of NATO, as well as by amending Ukraine’s Military Doctrine, which declared NATO membership as a strategic goal of Ukraine. In addition, Moscow criticized the changes in the Constitution of Ukraine, which confirmed Ukraine’s strategic course towards the European Union and NATO.
The Russian Foreign Ministry also stated that Ukraine “conducts a targeted offensive against the Russian language and the rights of Russian-speaking population”.
The Treaty on Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership between Ukraine and the Russian Federation was signed on May 31, 1997, for a period of 10 years, with automatic extension for subsequent decades, provided neither party objects. The treaty establishes the principles of strategic partnership, recognition of the inviolability of existing borders, respect for territorial integrity, and the mutual obligation not to use one’s territory to harm the security of the other.
The first 10-year period began on the date the treaty came into force, April 1 1999, and ended on April 1, 2009. Since neither party wished to terminate the agreement at the time, it was automatically extended for another 10 years. According to article 40 of the treaty, if one party wishes to terminate the treaty, it must inform the other party in writing at least six months before the end of the current 10-year period.
On December 6, 2018, the Verkhovna Rada adopted a draft bill to terminate the treaty, effective April 1, 2019. 277 deputies supported the bill. The Friendship Treaty between Russian and Ukraine was signed in May 1997 and took effect on April 1, 1999, with automatic renewal every ten years in the absence of objections by either party. Now, the treaty will formally end on April 1, 2019.