Ukrainian President introduces bill to end Friendship Treaty with Russia

On December 3, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko put forward a bill in the Verkhovna Rada to end the Treaty on Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership between Ukraine and Russia.

The explanatory note of bill No. 0206 states that Russia’s ongoing aggression has led to the violation of most of the treaty’s articles, something which Ukraine systematically emphasizes in diplomatic correspondence. “However, at present there are no signs of Russia having a bona fide intention to eliminate the offenses and repay the damages caused by its illicit actions. Furthermore, through its aggressive actions, Russia is constantly aggravating the violations of the treaty,” the explanation states.

In connection with this, the bill proposes to terminate the Friendship Treaty on April 1, 2019.

The termination of the treaty will free Ukraine of any obligation to fulfill it, but will not affect the rights, obligations or legal status of Ukraine which have arisen from its implementation so far.

The Russian-Ukrainian Friendship Treaty was signed on May 31, 1997 for a period of 10 years, with automatic extension for subsequent decades, provided neither party objected. It reinforces 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 damage the other’s security.

The agreement first came into force for the period between April 1, 1999 and April 1, 2009. At the time, since neither party expressed the desire to terminate the treaty by October 1, 2008, it was automatically extended for the following decade. Article 40 of the treaty states that the intention to terminate must be expressed in writing at least six months before the end of the current period.

In 2014, Russia violated the treaty by occupying Crimea and parts of Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk provinces.

Despite this, Ukraine decided not to break off the treaty immediately, but rather to wait for the current period to expire.

  Poroshenko, Ukraine, Russia, Verkhovna Rada, Friendship and Cooperation Treaty