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Russian–Ukrainian Friendship Treaty

The Treaty on Friendship, Cooperation, and Partnership between Ukraine and the Russian Federation is a since April 2019[2] expired agreement between Ukraine and Russia, signed in 1997, which fixed the principle of strategic partnership, the recognition of the inviolability of existing borders, and respect for territorial integrity and mutual commitment not to use its territory to harm the security of each other. The treaty prevents Ukraine and Russia from invading one anothers country respectively, and declaring war.[3] Ukraine announced its intention not to renew the treaty in September 2018.[4] By doing so the treaty did expire on 31 March 2019.[2][4] The treaty was also known as the "Big Treaty".[5][6]

Russian–Ukrainian Friendship Treaty
Treaty on Friendship, Cooperation, and Partnership between Ukraine and the Russian Federation
SignedMay 31, 1997; 22 years ago (1997-05-31)[1]
Effective1 April 1999
Expiration31 March 2019
LanguagesUkrainian, Russian

Until 2019 the treaty was automatically renewed on each 10th anniversary of its signing, on the condition that one party advised the other of its intention to end the treaty six months prior to expiration.[1][7]

Russia–Ukraine relations have deteriorated since the 2014 Russian annexation of Crimea and Russian support for separatist forces in the war in Ukraine's Donbass region.[8] In response, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko signed a decree not to extend the treaty.


Signing and ratificationEdit

The treaty was signed in Kiev on May 31, 1997 by the President of Ukraine Leonid Kuchma and Russian President Boris Yeltsin.[1]

In Ukraine, the treaty was ratified by the Law of Ukraine No. 13/98-VR on 14 January 1998 (On ratification of the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership between Ukraine and the Russian Federation).[9]

In Russia, on 25 December 1998, the State Duma of the Federal Assembly adopted a resolution on the adoption of the federal law "On ratification of the Agreement of Friendship, Collaboration and Partnership between the Russian Federation and Ukraine" and directed it to the Federation Council. The Federation Council approved this federal law by the Resolution on 17 February 1999. The treaty was ratified.[10]

The document superseded the previous treaty between the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic and the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic of 19 November 1990 (before dissolution of the Soviet Union).[11][12]

Contents of the treatyEdit

Under the agreement both parties ensure the citizens of the other countries' rights and freedoms on the same basis and to the same extent that it provides for its citizens, except as prescribed by national legislation of States or international treaties.

Every country protects in established order of the rights of its citizens living in another country, in accordance with commitments to documents of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and other universally recognized principles and norms of international law, agreements within the Commonwealth of Independent States.

The agreement, among other things prematurely confirms the inviolability of borders of countries,[1] regardless that Russia and Ukraine have never agreed on the final ratification and demarcation of a border between the two countries.[13]

Under Article 2:

In accord with provisions of the UN Charter and the obligations of the Final Act on Security and Cooperation in Europe, the High Contracting Parties shall respect each other′s territorial integrity and reaffirm the inviolability of the borders existing between them.[14][7][15]

The Treaty document stipulates in Article 40 that the Treaty is entered into for a period of 10 years and renews automatically unless one of the parties notifies the other of its intention to curtail the Treaty.[1]


On 19 September 2018, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko signed a decree not to extend the treaty. On December 3, 2018, President Poroshenko drafted a legislation to Parliament to end the Treaty of Friendship immediately as well as drafting legislation to parliament to declare war on Russia; with support coming from Western allies within the United Nations Security Council.[4][16] According to Poroshenko the non-renewal "does not require a vote" in the Ukrainian parliament.[17] Ukraine announced that on 21 September 2018, it would notify the United Nations and other relevant organizations on the termination of the treaty.[18] Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that it was notified on 24 September 2018 of the treaty's termination by Ukraine, expressing regret.[19]

On 3 December 2018 Poroshenko did submit a bill on the termination of the treaty to parliament; 277 MPs support the termination of the treaty, while 20 legislators voted against it.[20]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e Stewart, Dale B. (December 1997). The Russian-Ukrainian Friendship Treaty and the search for regional stability in Eastern Europe (PDF) (Thesis). Monterey, CA: Naval Postgraduate School.
  2. ^ a b Ukraine-Russia Friendship Treaty expires, UNIAN (1 April 2019)
  3. ^ Specter, Michael (1 June 1997). "Setting Past Aside, Russia and Ukraine Sign Friendship Treaty". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 April 2016.
  4. ^ a b c "Poroshenko's decree on non-extension of Treaty of Friendship with Russia officially published". Ukrainian Independent Information Agency. 19 September 2018. Retrieved 2018-12-11.
  5. ^ Poroshenko signed the law about discontinue the Treaty about friendship with Russia (Порошенко підписав закон про припинення Договору про дружбу з Росією). BBC Ukraine. 10 December 2018
  6. ^ Vitaliy Chervonenko. Ukraine has the treaty about friendship with Russia. It is not discontinued for a purpose (У Украины есть договор о дружбе с Россией. Его не разрывают специально). BBC Russia. 1 June 2017
  7. ^ a b Kimball, Spencer (11 March 2014). "Bound by treaty: Russia, Ukraine and Crimea". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 27 April 2016.
  8. ^ "Ukraine Terminates Friendship Treaty With Russia". The Moscow Times. 17 September 2018. Retrieved 2018-12-11.
  9. ^ Про ратифікацію Договору про дружбу, співробітництво і партнерство між Україною і Російською Федерацією. (in Ukrainian). Retrieved 27 April 2016.
  10. ^ "Постановление Государственной Думы Федерального Собрания Российской Федерации от 25.12.1998 № 3459-II ГД". (in Russian). Retrieved 2018-12-11.
  11. ^ Russian version.
  12. ^ Ukrainian variant. Verkhovna Rada.
  13. ^ Україна може відгородитися від Росії парканом. Ukrayinska Pravda (in Ukrainian). 16 June 2014. Retrieved 2018-12-11.
  14. ^ Договір про дружбу, співробітництво і партнерство між Україною і Російською Федерацією. (in Ukrainian). Retrieved 27 April 2016.
  15. ^ Sorokowski, Andrew D. (1996). "Treaty on Friendship, Cooperation, and Partnership between Ukraine and the Russian Federation". Harvard Ukrainian Studies. 20: 319–329. JSTOR 41036701.
  16. ^ Poroshenko, Petro [@poroshenko] (17 September 2018). "Увів в дію рішення РНБОУ щодо припинення дії Договору про дружбу, співробітництво і партнерство між Україною і Росією" (Tweet) (in Ukrainian) – via Twitter.
  17. ^ "No more friendship: Everything about Russian–Ukrainian Friendship Treaty". 112 Ukraine. 5 September 2018. Retrieved 2018-12-11.
  18. ^ "Ukraine Set To Inform Russia of Termination Of Friendship Treaty". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. 19 September 2018. Retrieved 2018-09-20.
  19. ^ "Moscow regrets Ukraine's decision not to extend friendship treaty". TASS. 25 September 2018. Retrieved 25 September 2018.
  20. ^ Ukraine parliament votes not to prolong Treaty of Friendship with Russia, UNIAN (6 December 2018)
    Law on non-prolongation of Treaty of Friendship with Russia enters into force in Ukraine, UNIAN (12 December 2018)

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