MOSCOW, August 29. /TASS/. Relations between Russia and Ukraine can hardly deteriorate further but it is unreasonable to take steps in that direction, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters, commenting on the Kiev authorities’ statements about plans to denounce the document.

“Bilateral relations have reached a stage when the situation can hardly deteriorate further. They are in a deep crisis and there are no signs saying that the situation can improve,” Peskov said. “However, even under the current circumstances, it would be unreasonable to take any steps that could inflict additional harm on the interests of the two countries’ people,” Peskov added.

The Russian presidential spokesman pointed out that Moscow “has never been in favor of deteriorating and curtailing relations.” “Russia has always opposed the Ukrainian authorities’ actions towards the country’s southeast. And this is the situation that we are fading,” Peskov concluded.

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.”

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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