The foreign ministry of Bashar Al-Assad’s regime said on Wednesday the country has severed diplomatic relations with Ukraine in accordance with the “principle of reciprocity”.
Syria, which under the rule of Assad has been a loyal ally of Russia ever since the outset of the invasion of Ukraine on February 24, on Wednesday announced it was formally breaking diplomatic ties with Ukraine in response to a similar move by Kyiv.
“The Syrian Arab Republic has decided to break diplomatic relations with Ukraine in conformity with the principle of reciprocity,” a Syrian foreign ministry statement said on Wednesday.
Following Syria’s recognition of Ukraine’s independence on December 28, 1991, the two countries’ relations remained positive until 2011.
Consequently, Ukrainian-Syrian relations entered a period of inertia fueled by differences of opinions on various matters.
The main bone of contention has been “the Syrian political support of the Russian course concerning Ukraine, expressed in a telegram by the Syrian President to the Russian President of March 6, 2014,” as put by the Ukrainian Embassy in Syria’s archived online description of Ukrainian-Syrian relations.
Syria’s voting against the UN General Assembly resolution “The territorial integrity of Ukraine” on March 27, 2014, also strained the countries’ relations.
From Assad’s angle, Ukraine has been making decisions detrimental to the survival of the regime, mainly by joining the EU Council Decision 2014/309/CFSP of May 28, 2014, concerning restrictive measures against individuals and entities in Syria for the period up to June 1, 2015, as well as other sanctions.
“Ukraine’s position on the Syrian conflict is that the crisis should be resolved exclusively by political and diplomatic means. The UN, its Security Council, as well as influential regional organisations, including the Arab League, should play a key role in the peaceful settlement,” reads the archived Ukrainian website.
Furthermore, the Syrian MFA claimed Ukraine had ruptured relations as early as 2018 when it allegedly refused to revalidate the residencies of Syrian diplomatic staff in Kyiv, making it impossible for them to carry out their duties. The ministry went on to add that the Syrian embassy at that time suspended its duties “as a result of the hostile attitudes of the Ukrainian government.”
After 11 years of frozen relations, Ukraine severed diplomatic relations with Syria on June 30, 2022, when the Syrian government recognized the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics.
“There will no longer be relations between Ukraine and Syria,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in Kyiv last month.
Syria has been increasingly tying its future to Russia ever since Putin intervened in Syria’s civil war to help tip the balance of power in favour of President Bashar al-Assad.