Ukrainian parliament approves bill to end friendship treaty with Russia

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KIEV, Dec. 6 (Xinhua) -- The Ukrainian parliament on Thursday approved a bill on ending the Treaty on Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership between Ukraine and Russia on April 1, 2019, the parliament's press service said.

The legislation, which was submitted by President Petro Poroshenko, was supported by 277 votes, far more than the 226 minimum required.

Russian authorities have not commented on it yet.

In September, Poroshenko signed a decree to enforce a decision of the National Security and Defense Council to terminate the friendship treaty with Russia signed in 1997.

Under the treaty, Kiev and Moscow pledged to respect each other's borders and to peacefully settle disputes.

Relations between Kiev and Moscow, which have been deteriorating since early 2014 over Crimea and eastern Ukraine, escalated last month.

On Nov. 25, three Ukrainian ships attempting to sail through the Kerch Strait from the Black Sea to the Sea of Azov were seized by Russian forces for allegedly violating the Russian border.

The Ukrainian Navy said that it had informed Russia in advance of the passage, while Russia said it had received no such report and the ships ignored multiple warnings by the Russian border guards.

In the wake of the tension, Ukraine imposed martial law in 10 regions mainly bordering Russia for 30 days starting from Nov. 26.

Poroshenko emphasized that "martial law does not mean the declaration of war," but a step toward strengthening Ukraine's defense. Enditem

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