INFORMATION AND PRESS DEPARTMENT
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Statement of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Russian-Ukrainian Relations
As is known, before October 1, 2008 Russia and Ukraine must define their approach to the further fate of the 1997 Treaty on Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership. It is understandable that this kind of strategic decisions are taken based on careful analysis of the course of the realization of the Treaty’s provisions and of the sides’ fulfillment of their obligations to develop the Russian-Ukrainian strategic partnership.
In this connection we are forced to state that the Ukrainian authorities are currently pursuing a policy which can only be assessed as unfriendly towards Russia.
This showed itself with particular vividness in relation to Georgia’s aggression against South Ossetia. We heard no words of regret or sympathy over the deaths of civilian residents of Tskhinval and of Russian peacekeepers. On the contrary, the President of Ukraine tried to lay the blame for the bloodshed at Russia’s feet. Kyiv, however, keeps mum on the fact that by its supplies of heavy weapons to the Georgian army the Ukrainian side bears a portion of the responsibility for the blood spilled.
Official Kyiv continues its policy for a speedy entry into NATO, which is contrary to the spirit of the 1997 Treaty and to the security interests of Russia. Moreover, this is done against the will of the Ukrainian people. It is not fortuitous that the leadership of the country does not want to submit this question for a national referendum.
It has to be noted that the 1997 Treaty came into force only after the ratification by Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada of the Russian-Ukrainian agreements on the functioning of the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation on the territory of Ukraine. Therefore we are seriously concerned by the constant exaggeration by Ukrainian representatives of the issue of the duration of the presence of the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation on the territory of Ukraine. Attempts are being undertaken to complicate its activities. This harms the atmosphere of our relations and undermines the course of the normal negotiation process on a mutually acceptable solution to all questions of the fleet’s functioning on the basis of the relevant Russian-Ukrainian agreements. Hints are even appearing that these agreements might unilaterally be severed ahead of expiry date.
Yet we are convinced that the presence of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in the Crimea is a stabilizing factor both in relations between Russia and Ukraine and in the context of regional stability.
Cause for concern is the vicious practice by official Kyiv of barring entry into Ukraine for Russian deputies and eminent politicians contrary to previously existing agreements.
Quite a few negative phenomena have accumulated in the humanitarian area. It is about attempts by the Ukrainian authorities to review in an anti-Russian spirit our common history and heroize the accomplices of fascism. The rights of Ukraine’s Russian-speaking population are being infringed, and a purposeful policy is being pursued to oust the Russian language from the public life of the country, science, education, culture and the mass media.
That policy of official Kyiv leads to a worsening of bilateral ties and causes serious concern in Russia.
The people of Russia invariably entertain the warmest and most sincere feelings towards the fraternal people of Ukraine. Aware of our historical responsibility for the destiny of Russian-Ukrainian relations and desirous of strengthening friendly ties with the Ukrainian state, we presume that the 1997 Treaty will be extended for the next ten years.
We hope that the wise people of Ukraine and all healthy political forces of the country will not allow a worsening of ties with Russia and will do everything possible to establish between our countries relations of a real strategic partnership in full accordance with the purposes and principles of the 1997 Treaty and having full regard to the circumstances of its entry into force.
September 11, 2008
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