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Ukrainian to end two-decade-old friendship treaty with Russia

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has signed a bill ending the two-decade-old treaty on friendship, cooperation and partnership between Ukraine and Russia. The friendship treaty between Ukraine and Russia was signed in 1997 and brought into effect on April 1, 1999.

Dec 11, 2018 12:50 IST
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Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on December 10, 2018 signed a bill ending the two-decade-old treaty on friendship, cooperation and partnership between Ukraine and Russia.

The treaty will be terminated on April 1, 2019 amid rising tensions between the two countries.

Key Highlights

The Ukrainian leader said that the non-extension of the deal is a part of the Ukrainian strategy of reorientation towards Europe.

The legislation was approved by the Ukrainian parliament on December 6, 2018 with the support of 277 votes, which is far more than the required majority of 226.

The Ukrainian President had signed a decree in September to enforce a decision of the National Security and Defence Council to terminate the friendship treaty with Russia.

The friendship treaty between Ukraine and Russia was signed in 1997 and brought into effect on April 1, 1999.

Under the agreement, both the nations had pledged to respect each other's borders and peacefully settle disputes.

The agreement includes a clause, which states that it would automatically get extended for another ten years each time if neither of the parties decides to take the required actions to end it.

Background

Annexation of Crimea

The relations between Russia and Ukraine have taken a downward spiral since early 2014 when Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula in Ukraine.

Russia formally incorporated Crimea as two federal subjects of the Russian Federation with effect from March 2014.

The annexation was condemned by Ukraine, the United Nations as well as other leading nations, who considered it to be a violation of the International law and the Russian-signed agreements safeguarding the territorial integrity of Ukraine including the treaty of friendship, Belavezha Accords and Helsinki Accords.

It led to the other members of the then G8 suspending Russia from the group and then introducing the first round of sanctions against the country.

Seizing of Ukrainian Ships

The relations between the two nations further worsened this year on November 25, when three Ukrainian ships attempting to sail through the Kerch Strait from the Black Sea to the Sea of Azov were seized by the Russian forces for allegedly violating the Russian border.

The Ukrainian Navy said that it had informed Russia in advance of the passage, while Russia said it had received no such report and that the ships ignored multiple warnings by the Russian border guards.

In wake of the tension, Ukraine imposed martial law in 10 regions mainly bordering Russia for 30 days starting from November 26.

The Ukrainian President Poroshenko clarified that the imposition of the martial law does not mean a declaration of war, but a step toward strengthening Ukraine's defence.

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