No more friendship: Everything about Russian–Ukrainian Friendship Treaty

Author : News Agency

Source : 112 Ukraine

What the "Big Treaty" really is, what is written in it, how the comments on this agreement evolved in Ukraine over the past six months and how exactly it is planned to stop its operation
22:47, 5 September 2018


Open source

The topic of the Friendship Treaty between Ukraine and Russia periodically rises in the last four years, since the Russian annexation of Crimean peninsula.

Last time the idea of breaking the treaty was actively discussed is April this year, when Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko announced plans to submit to the Verkhovna Rada a bill on suspending the operation of certain provisions of the treaty on friendship with Russia.

"In these circumstances, the next step will be the introduction of a draft law on the immediate unilateral termination of certain provisions of the treaty on friendship, cooperation and partnership between Ukraine and Russia insofar as the operation of this treaty is incompatible with the national interests of the state and the realization of our Ukrainian law for self-defense, "Poroshenko said at the time.

With this, Poroshenko stressed that it is impossible to completely abolish the treaty:

"Why cannot this treaty be canceled, and we only suspend the operation of individual articles? Because there are important provisions for Ukraine in which the parties, I quote, "respect the territorial integrity of each other, the parties confirm the inviolability of the existing borders between them."

Earlier, in January 2018, the representative of the Ukrainian president for the settlement in Donbas, Iryna Gerashchenko, stated the following:

"It was very strange to hear the representatives of the opposition just now, who again urge, imagine, to break off the state treaty of friendship with the Russian Federation. All in all, the State Duma of the Russian Federation is saying this word-for-word. And we must demand from the Russian Federation to return to the norms of international law and to implement the law, including the friendship treaty, which recognizes the territorial integrity, sovereignty and respect for our borders within the internationally defined borders, and this is Donbas and Crimea."

Now back to the present. End of August, 2018.

Poroshenko instructs the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry to prepare for the termination of the treaty of friendship and cooperation with Russia. Termination of the TOTAL AGREEMENT, NOT SEPARATE PROVISIONS.

"At last today we, sufficiently prepared and legally protected, have approached to the next step: the termination of the treaty on friendship, cooperation and partnership between Ukraine and the Russian Federation, which has already become an anachronism through Moscow's fault. In the near future, I expect the necessary documents from the Foreign Ministry to begin implementation of this process, "he said.

Important information

Open source

The key argument to date from government officials is that it is not about breaking the treaty, but about refusing to renew it.

"I want to make some comments and clarify from the point of view of not prolonging a big agreement with Russia on friendship and cooperation. I emphasize that it is not disrupting, because it is a complicated procedure, it ceases to be due to non-renewal," Poroshenko said.

So in general, it is asserted that the situation and the position of the authorities regarding the treaty have not changed, because it is not broken, but does not extend.

Iryna Gerashchenko on Facebook:

"In the fall, the treaty must be prolonged (according to international norms) for the next 10 years. As a rule, it happens automatically. The President stated that we did not prolong the Treaty with a country that had shamelessly violated it.

At the same time, Ukraine does not break the contract, we will not prolong it. This is not synonymous. We did not give the Kremlin such a trump card, our suits in international courts are based on the evidence that it was the Russian Federation that violated the Treaty, including respecting our borders. But it will not be prolonged."

It is important to immediately get an answer to the question:

What exactly is written in Article 40 of the "Big Treaty"?

This Agreement is concluded for a period of ten years. Its validity will then automatically be renewed for subsequent ten-year periods if none of the High Contracting Parties notifies the other High Contracting Party of its desire to terminate it by written notification no less than six months before the end of the next ten-year period.

The first ten-year period, the starting date of which began from the date of entry into force of the treaty (April 1, 1999), ended on April 1, 2009.

Then neither Ukraine nor Russia wanted to terminate the document, so it was automatically extended for another 10 years.

Thus, it is necessary to notify Russia of the refusal to extend the contract until September 30.

Now about what is written in the contract.

There are many points, we will describe a brief essence:

    Both sides undertake to respect the territorial integrity and borders of each other.
    Both countries guarantee to citizens of another country rights and freedoms on the same grounds and in the same amount as their citizens, except in cases established by the law of states or international treaties.
    Cooperation in the economy.
    Interaction in politics, including support for each other in joining international organizations.

That is, cooperation and support for each other wherever possible.

Who signed it and when?

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The "Big Treaty" was signed on May 31, 1997 by the President of Ukraine Leonid Kuchma and the President of Russia Boris Yeltsin.

The Verkhovna Rada ratified the treaty on January 14, 1998, the State Duma - on December 25, 1998.

The document came into force on April 1, 1999.

Russia’s opinion

The head of the LDPR party, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, offered Russian President Vladimir Putin to notify the Ukrainian authorities of the termination of the Treaty.

"After almost 20 years since the entry into force of the Treaty of Friendship, many of his articles are grossly violated by Ukraine and ignored, and some articles have completely lost relevance."

Russian senator Alexei Pushkov on Twitter:

"Poroshenko continues his mission of the destroyer: he announced the beginning of the break of the 1997 treaty on friendship with Russia. Kyiv again acts to the detriment of itself: the treaty recognizes the territorial integrity and borders of Ukraine. In case of its break, Russia is freed from all obligations."

Head of the State Duma Committee on CIS Affairs, Eurasian Integration and Relations with Compatriots Leonid Kalashnikov:

"There is no special meaning for this treaty, there will be no real practical consequences, on the other hand, there will be no moral and political obligations on Russia to implement certain agreements."


"I plan to hold a meeting of the NSDC in the near future, after submitting proposals by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and send a message to the Russian Federation on non-renewal of the agreement until September 30. It does not require a vote in the parliament, but certainly I want to hold consultations on this issue in order to take into account the position, the opinion of the parliament, "said Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.

That is, the discussion (especially since the autumn season in the Rada officially started) is yet to be done, but given the tone of the statements, it is very likely that the decision has already been taken.

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