The Constitutional Court of Ukraine last Thursday, April 13, has taken up the case to determine the constitutionality of the 2010 Kharkiv Pact, which allowed the Russian Black Sea Fleet to remain stationed in Crimea until 2042. The proceedings were initiated upon the appeal of 49 Members of the Ukrainian Parliament, as reported by the Constitutional Court of Ukraine.

The issue of the Russian Black Sea Fleet's presence in Crimea has been regulated since 1997 by the Partition Treaty on the Status and Conditions of the Black Sea Fleet, which allowed Russia to lease Crimean bases for its fleet until 2017.

However, in 2010, then-President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych and then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed the Kharkiv Pact, which extended the lease until 2042 in exchange for discounted gas prices for Ukraine. This move was met with resistance from political parties opposed to Yanukovych's regime.

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The constitutional appeal filed with the Constitutional Court of Ukraine argues that the Kharkiv Pact is unconstitutional as it goes against the principles of national security and Article 17 of the Constitution, which prohibits the stationing of foreign military bases on Ukrainian territory.

The judge-rapporteur for the case is Serhiy Holovaty.  He previously served as the Minister of Justice of Ukraine under presidents Leonid Kuchma and Viktor Yushchenko, and has been a judge on the Constitutional Court since 2018. Holovaty has been serving as the acting Head of the Court since 2020.

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Importantly: Following the annexation of Crimea by Russia in 2014, the Russian State Duma terminated both the Partition Treaty and the Kharkiv Pact.

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