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Former Ukrainian top diplomat slams plans to denounce Treaty on Friendship with Russia

KIEV, August 29. /TASS/. Kiev’s plans to denounce the Treaty on Friendship and Cooperation with Russia is a provocation, former Ukrainian Foreign Minister Leonid Kozhara told the 112 Ukraina TV channel.

“It is even beyond foolishness, I consider it to be a provocation aimed at undermining the foundations of cooperation between the two countries,” he said.

Kozhara pointed out that it was a basic treaty providing legal grounds for other agreements between Ukraine and Russia. “International law describes such treaties as basic, they are like a tree trunk from which other agreements branch outward. If we cut down the tree by denouncing the basic treaty, then we will jeopardize all the other documents,” the former Ukrainian top diplomat said, adding that such an initiative indirectly undermined all of the country’s agreements with Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) members.

“This treaty establishes the so-called national rules for Ukrainian citizens in Russia and Russian nationals in Ukraine. We may jeopardize the rights and freedoms of millions of people holding Ukrainian passports,” Kozhara added. He also said that the denunciation of the Treaty would also create risks for Ukrainian citizens and organizations who have property in Russia, as well as for Ukraine’s transit potential, and would also scare investors away from the country.

On Tuesday, Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko ordered the country’s Foreign Ministry to prepare a package of documents for denouncing the Treaty on Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership with Russia, which he called anachronistic. Poroshenko also said that Kiev was ready for such a process and had enough legal protection.

Ukraine’s Opposition Bloc said in a statement that the president’s statement about denouncing the 1997 Treaty on Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership between Ukraine and Russia is an election PR stunt aimed at escalating tensions in Donbass. Meanwhile, member of the Russian Presidential Council on Interethnic Relations Bogdan Bezpalko said that the initiative may play into Russia’s hands as it could “help Moscow find a way out of an absurd situation surrounding the document.”

 

Treaty on Friendship

 

In April 2018, the Ukrainian head of state said that he would soon submit a bill unilaterally denouncing some of the treaty’s provisions to the Verkhovna Rada (parliament). He also admitted that it was impossible to denounce the entire treaty.

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.

In October 2018, the period will expire for the parties to announce their plans either to extend the treaty for another ten-year term or denounce the document.

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