Ukrainian Parliament supports termination of Friendship treaty with Russia

The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine voted for the termination of the Friendship Treaty with Russia. The draft law that was submitted to Parliament by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko was supported by 277 deputies while 20 opposed. The treaty will be terminated on April 1, 2019, not immediately, according to the terms set for unilateral withdrawal from the treaty.

Poroshenko stressed earlier that the matter was not about the termination of the agreement but that Kyiv refuses to extend it. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin stated in late November that diplomatic relations with Russia will not be terminated.

According to Klimkin, the relations are only formal but they allow diplomats to help Ukrainians who stay in Russia.  

On the morning of November 25, Ukraine informed the Russian port of its intention to transfer three ships through the Kerch Strait, as required by the Agreement on the joint use of the Azov Sea and Kerch Strait. However, at around 8:00 a.m., Russian ships carried out acts of provocation against the Ukrainian vessels, even ramming into the Yany Kapu tugboat.

Russia later accused the Ukrainian ships of illegally entering its territorial waters, claiming that they were “maneuvering dangerously” and “not complying with the legitimate demands of the Russian authorities”. Russia also physically blocked the Kerch Strait with a transport ship. The Ukrainian ships decided to return to Odessa, but they were chased and subsequently attacked by the Russian military. The Berdiansk and Nikopol boats were hit, and two crew members were wounded. All three of the ships were seized by Russia.

On November 28, the Kremlin-controlled court of Simferopol placed the Ukrainian sailors under 2 months of arrest – until January 25, 2019.

  Ukraine, Verkhovna Rada, Friendship and Cooperation Treaty, Russia, Klimkin, Crimea, Kerch Strait