Ukraine rips up key cooperation deals with Russia
Kiev lawmakers on Thursday annulled five crucial security agreements with Moscow that allowed Russia to transport troops to a separatist region of Moldova and purchase weapons only produced in Ukraine.
The deals were effectively suspended with the onset of Ukraine’s pro-Russian uprising in the industrial east 13 months ago that Kiev blames the Kremlin for fomenting.
But the Verkhovna Rada parliament’s decision means that legislative support from Ukraine’s dominant nationalist and pro-European parties would be required before such cooperation could resume once the separatist conflict is resolved.
It also underscores how little a new February east Ukrainian truce deal has done to rebuild trust between Moscow and Kiev.
“I know of no other country that continues to be friends with a neighbour that kills your people,” prominent pro-EU deputy Mustafa Nayyem wrote on Facebook.
“And only recently I learned that we still have international agreements with Russia concerning military and technological cooperation!”
The five laws include a strategic agreement allowing Moscow to send peacekeeping forces across Ukraine to Moldova’s Russian-speaking Transdniester region.
A top Ukrainian state security official told AFP that the these transports’ abrupt interruption had caught Moscow off guard when they first went into effect about a year ago.
But the same official said Moscow has since found new avenues by which to supply troops to the self-declared state.
A second politically-charged agreement required both Russia and Ukraine to protect each others’ state secrets. It was initially approved with the arrival of one-time spy Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin in 2000.
Another law covered basic Russian military transports across Ukraine and a fourth concerned mutual arms purchases.
Ukraine inherited several huge Soviet-era arms manufacturing sites that formed the backbone of Russia’s armed forces.
The final law covered intelligence sharing between the two sides.