"Our Duma member Konstantin Zatulin has touched upon this topic, drawing attention to the fact that one of the key articles of this treaty on mutual respect for the territorial integrity of Russia and Ukraine seems irrelevant today, given that the free will of the Crimean people was expressed in Crimea, resulting in their independence and voluntary accession to the Russian Federation," Lavrov said at an annual press conference in Moscow, answering a question whether Russia will prolong the treaty between Ukraine and Russia where the latter guarantees Ukraine's territorial integrity, including Crimea as part of the Ukrainian state.

Read alsoRussian Duma official proposes to partially denounce Russia-Ukraine Friendship Treaty"For me, this issue is far from relevant. Yes, international legal documents matter, but this has to be dealt by law experts. Politically, I believe that we continue to respect the territorial integrity of Ukraine within the boundaries redrawn after the referendum in Crimea, the reunification of Crimea with the Russian Federation," he said.

The Treaty on Friendship, Cooperation, and Partnership between Ukraine and the Russian Federation is an agreement between the two states, which enshrines the principle of strategic partnership, the recognition of the inviolability of existing borders, respect for territorial integrity and mutual commitment not to use its territory to harm the security of each other. The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine ratified the treaty on January 14, 1998, while the Russian State Duma enacted it on December 25, 1998. Under the agreement, both parties ensure the citizens of the other countries' rights and freedoms on the same basis and to the same extent that it provides for its citizens, except as prescribed by the national legislation of states or international treaties.

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