Despite the recognition of the Russian Federation as an aggressor state, Kyiv will not proactively abrogate the wide-ranging Treaty on Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership between the Russian Federation and Ukraine, whose consecutive-10-year term of validity will expire in 2018, writes journalist Igor Solovey in the article "Are diplomatic relations possible with the aggressor state?" published by LB.ua news website.
"It is not a question of the break of diplomatic relations [with Russia]," a high-level interlocutor from Ukrainian diplomatic circles told LB.ua.
The “Big Treaty" is an agreement between the Russian Federation and Ukraine that formalized the principle of strategic partnership, recognition of the inviolability of existing borders, respect for territorial integrity and mutual commitment not to use its territory to the detriment of each other's security.
The document was signed on May 31, 1997 by Leonid Kuchma and Boris Yeltsin. The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine ratified the treaty on January 14, 1998 while the State Duma did the same on December 25, 1998. At the end of 2008, the contract was automatically extended for 10 years to 2018.
Now, if neither party notifies the other about its desire to abrogate, through written notice not less than 6 months beforehand, the agreement will be extended for another decade.
It is not simply for Kyiv to terminate diplomatic relations between the two countries due to “hybrid” nature of the war that Russia wages against Ukraine. According to Solovey, Kyiv must not respond in a manner that “cuts off the nose to spite the face.” It would be far better if Ukraine’s reciprocal response should also be “hybrid”.
Ukrainian authorities would argue that the severance of diplomatic relations with Russia would not only fail to resolve existing disputes, it would instead significantly muddle the international efforts that Ukraine and its Western partners have undertaken in recent years.
The acceptable outcome of this decision is that Ukraine internationally protests the illegal actions of the Russian Federation, although this public demonstration of disagreement with Russian aggression would be enough to lower the level of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Ukraine withdrew its ambassador from Russia and there is now no Russian Federation ambassador in Kyiv either.
However, the negative consequences of a break in diplomacy would be broader and more far-reaching.