Russia–Ukraine relations

Russia–Ukraine relations

The diplomatic relations between the Russian Federation and Ukraine were established in 1991 immediately upon the dissolution of the Soviet Union of which both were founding constituent republics.

Russia has an embassy in Kiev and consulates in Kharkiv, Lviv, Odessa and Simferopol. Ukraine has an embassy in Moscow and consulates in Rostov-on-Don, Saint Petersburg, Tyumen and Vladivostok.

History of relations

Ukraine and Russia share much of their history. Kiev, a modern capital of Ukraine, is often referred to as a "mother of Russian Cities" or a cradle of the Rus' civilisation owing to the once powerful Kievan Rus' state, a predecessor of both Russian and Ukrainian nations. [ [ Kievan Rus] , in The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition (2007)]

After the Mongol invasion of Rus the histories of the Russian and Ukrainian people's started to diverge.cite book|last=Gumilev|first=Lev|title=Ot Rusi k Rossii|publisher=AST|date=2005|isbn=5-17-012201-2] The former, having successfully united all the remnants of the Rus' northern provinces swelled into a powerful Russian state. The latter came under the domination of Poland but the increasing pressure of Poland caused the Zaporozhian Cossacks to seek union with Russia via the Treaty of Pereyaslav.cite book|last=Shambarov|first=Valery|title=Kazachestvo Istoriya Volnoy Rusi|publisher=Algorithm Expo, Moscow|date=2007|isbn=987-5-699-20121-1]

Afterward, most of Ukraine was gradually absorbed into the Russian Empire, which was completed in the late 18th century with the Partitions of Poland and the disbandment of the last Cossack units. Many people born in Ukraine, then called Little Russia, had powerful positions in the Russian Empire. [Examples include Church leaders Feofan Prokopovich and Stephen Yavorsky, scientists Kirill Razumovsky, military commander Antin Holovaty, writers Nikolay Gogol and Taras Shevchenko, composers Dmitry Bortniansky and many other Famous people of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.]

After the February Revolution early relations with Russian Provisional Government and the Ukrainian Central Rada were the borders of the Ukrainian People's Republic, as over the three centuries of Ukraine being part of Russia several mixed Russian and Ukrainian territories were formed. The Sloboda region to the northeast, the Donets Basin to the east and the New Russia to the south. After the October Revolution, Ukraine became a battleground in the Russian Civil War and both Russians and Ukrainians fought in nearly all armies based on their political belief. [see Ukrainian Civil War combatants include Anarchists, White Russians, Bolsheviks, Central Powers, Ententes and those of short-lived Ukrainian governments. ]

In 1922, Ukraine and Russia were two of the founding members of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and were the signatories of the treaty that terminated the union in December 1991. [See Belavezha Accords]

The 1990s

After both Ukraine and Russia terminated the union several acute disputes formed. The former one was the question of the Crimea which the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic has administered since 1954, but the transfer itself was done in violation of acting Soviet law. This however was largely resolved with Russia allowing Crimea to remain part of Ukraine, provided its Autonomous Republic status is preserved.

The second major dispute of the 1990s was the city of Sevastopol, with its base of the Black Sea Fleet. Unlike Crimea, Sevastopol was directly subordinate to Moscow, and after several years of intense negotiations, it was decided on the Fleet's partitioning and Russia retaining its base in Sevastopol until 2017.

Another major dispute became the energy supply problems as several Soviet-Western Europe oil & gas pipelines ran through Ukraine. According to, in the 1990s Ukraine openly syphoned off Russian gas, [Ivan Chelnok "Украина ворует российский газ по заданию правительства", 15 August 2000 [ Copy saved on] ] and after new treaties came into affect, the enormous debts were paid off by transfer of several Soviet weaponry and nuclear arsenals that Ukraine inherited, to Russia such as the Tu-160 bombers. [ [ Кабінет Міністрів України, Російська Федерація; Угода, Міжнародний документ вiд 08.10.1999] ] During the 1990s both countries along with other ex-Soviet states founded the Commonwealth of Independent States and large business partnerships came into affect.


Although disputes prior to the events of late 2004 were present including the accidental shooting down of a Siberia Airlines Tupolev Tu-154 in 2002 by the Ukrainian air defence and the controversy with the Tuzla Island, relations with Russia under the latter years of Leonid Kuchma improved. After the Orange Revolution, however, several problems resurfaced including a gas dispute, and Ukraine's potential NATO membership.

Today Russia remains Ukraine's biggest economic parter, Ukraine's tourist industry is heavily dependent on Russian tourists, and Russia's economic boom also depends on Ukrainian migrant workers.Fact|date=October 2008 The overall perception of relations with Russia in Ukraine differs largely on regional factors. Many Russophone eastern and southern regions, which are also home to the majority of the Russian diaspora in Ukraine welcome closer relations with Russia. [ [ BBC 25 Dec 2004, Angry mood in eastern Ukraine - Voters in Russian-speaking eastern Ukraine will go to the polls on Sunday in an angry mood.] ] However further central and particularly western regions of Ukraine show a less friendly attitude to the idea of a historic link to Russia [ [ BBC 15 Feb 2008, Country profile: Ukraine] ] [ [ BBC 5 Jun 2008, BBC dragged into Ukraine TV furore] ] [ [ BBC 28 Jan 2008 Ukrainians dream of EU future] ] [ [ BBC 18 Jun 2004, Ukraine drive to keep Russian off buses] ] and the Soviet Union in particular [ [ ru icon 11 May 2007, Lvov "unavailable 30 Jun 2008"] ] . In Russia, there is no regional breakdown in the opinion of Ukraine [ [ Unian news agency 23 May 2008, Russians want Sevastopol to belong to Russia, poll shows] ] , but on the whole, Ukraine's recent attempts to joint the EU and NATO was seen as change of course to only a pro-Western, anti-Russian orientiation of Ukraine and thus a sign of hostility and this resulted in a drop of Ukraine's perception in Russia [ [ Unian news agency 9 May 2008, Almost fourth of Russians believe Ukraine is an enemy – poll] ] (although Ukrainian President Yushchenko reassured Russia that joining NATO it is not meant as an anti-Russian act [ BBC 12 Feb 2008, Russia in Ukraine missile threat] ] ). This was further fueled by the public discussion in Ukraine if the Russian language should be given official status [ [ BBC 1 Oct 2007, Q&A: Ukrainian parliamentary poll] ] and be made the second state language. [ [ BBC 22 Apr 2005, Ukraine divided over language row] ] [ [ BBC 22 Nov 2004, Ukraine's east-west showdown - The Ukrainian presidential election, plagued by bitter controversy and scandals, is seen as an east-west showdown.] ]

Further worsening relations where provoking statements by both Russian (a.o. the Russian Foreign Ministry [ [ Unian news agency 17 Jun 2008, Russian Foreign Ministry says Russian language in Ukraine suffers from pressure] ] , the Mayor of Moscow Yury Luzhkov [ [ Unian news agency 5 Jun 2008, Moscow Mayor calls on to take Crimea and Sevastopol from Ukraine] ] and then President Vladimir Putin [ [ Unian news agency 10 Jun 2008, Ukrainian-Russian relations] ] ) and Ukrainian politicians, for example, the former Foreign Minister Borys Tarasiuk [ [ Unian news agency 23 May 2008, Ukrainian politicians never went to Russia to violate its constitution - Tarasiuk] ] , deputy Justice Minister of Ukraine Evhen Kornichuk [ [ Unian news agency 22 may 2008, Russia bars entry to Ukrainian politicians] ] and then leader of parliamentary opposition Yulia Tymoshenko [ [ "Foreign Affairs" May/June 2007] , Yuliya Tymoshenko, "Containing Russia"] ).

The status of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol remains a matter of disagreement and tensions [ [ Unian news agency 23 May 2008, Russians want Sevastopol to belong to Russia, poll shows] ] [ Russia's Next Target Could Be Ukraine] by Leon Aron, Wall Street Journal, September 10, 2008
] . During the 2008 South Ossetia war, relations between Ukraine and Russia soured, due to Ukraine's support of Georgia's territorial integrityRequest quotation|date=September 2008Verify source|date=September 2008 and selling of arms to Georgia. Further disagreements over position on Georgia and relations with Russia were among the issues that brought down the ruling pro-western "orange coalition" in the parliament. [ Georgian Crises broke apart the ruling "Orange" coalition] ] Relations with Russia also deteriorated over the new rules for the Russian Black Sea Fleet to obtain permission when crossing the Ukrainian border, which Russia refused to comply with. [ [ UNIAN, Presidential Secretariat gives answer to Moscow] ] [ [ UNIAN, Ukrainian Armed Forces to implement Yushchenko’s decree on Russian ships] ]

On October 2, 2008 Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin accused Ukraine of supplying arms to Georgia in the recent South Ossetia War. Putin also claimed that Moscow had evidence proving that Ukrainian military experts were present in the conflict zone during the war. Ukraine has denied the allegations. The head of its state arms export company, Ukrspetsexport, said no arms were sold during the war, and Defense Minister Yuriy Yekhanurov denied that Ukraine's military personnel fought on the side of Georgia. [" [ Ukrainians deny giving wartime help to Georgia] ". Associated Press.]


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