Withdrawal from the Kharkiv Accords concluded with the Russian Federation will be a consistent political decision and one of steps in the process of de-occupation of Crimea, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine Oleksiy Reznikov believes.
According to him, the Kharkiv Accords destroyed Ukraine’s naval potential.
“It is important for Ukraine to demonstrate its consistent position on the de-occupation of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol. The denunciation of the Kharkiv Accords is a symbolic political signal. It will help bring the situation in line with common sense as there is an oddity. Sevastopol and Crimea are occupied by Russia. However, if we look at the legislation, we will see that the Kharkiv Accords are still considered to be valid. At the same time, the Constitution of Ukraine says for several years already that there can be no foreign military bases on our territory. In addition, we have canceled the agreement ‘On Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership between Ukraine and Russia’ which was concluded in 1997,” Reznikov said.
In his opinion, today it is important to start investigating all the circumstances of signing those accords.
“It is important now to start analysing the circumstances of signing the Accords. After all, by and large, the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation was entrusted with protection of Ukraine’s maritime borders. That is, a strategic decision was made to stop the development of the Ukrainian Navy. If the perpetrators are brought to justice, we will show that we, as a country, are in a very serious mood,” the Deputy Prime Minister explained.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine opposes the denunciation of the Kharkiv Accords. The Ministry is convinced that Ukraine can seek compensation for violation of the Accords’ terms from Russia.
Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Oleg Nikolenko noted that the document signed in 2010 testified to Russia’s violation of its legal obligations amid the temporary occupation of the Crimean peninsula. The diplomat added that the Foreign Ministry opposed the denunciation of the Kharkiv Accords back in 2014, and the position had not changed over the seven years of the war.
In addition, Nikolenko stated that Russia had financial obligations to Ukraine for the deployment of the Black Sea Fleet in Crimea. Disregard for reciprocal payments creates grounds for debt claim.
“The Ukrainian side is making systematic efforts to restore the violated rights of Ukraine. We will also revisit the issues of restitution, in particular under the agreement on the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation,” the Foreign Ministry Spokesperson said.
As a reminder, the Kharkiv Accords were signed on 21 April 2010 by president of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych and president of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev. According to the document, the deployment period for the Black Sea Fleet in Crimea was extended for 25 years in exchange for a discount on natural gas for Ukraine. The Verkhovna Rada ratified the Accords on 27 April 2010. After Crimea had been occupied, the State Duma of the Russian Federation terminated the Accords unilaterally.
On 11 March this year, the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine instructed the Security Service of Ukraine to study the circumstances of the vote on the Kharkiv Accords by MPs of the sixth convocation and initiate criminal proceedings if a fact of treason is confirmed.
On 12 March, members from the Servant of the People faction registered a bill “On denunciation of the Agreement between Ukraine and the Russian Federation on the deployment of the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation in the territory of Ukraine.”