Syria, a close ally of Russia on Wednesday said it is 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.
Moscow and Damascus grew closer after Putin intervened in Syria’s civil war to help tip the balance of power in favour of President Bashar al-Assad.
Last month, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Kyiv would cut ties after Syria recognised the Russian-backed breakaway republics of Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine.
“There will no longer be relations between Ukraine and Syria,” Zelenskyy said at the time.
The Syrian foreign ministry said Ukraine had first ruptured relations in 2018 by refusing to revalidate the residencies of its diplomatic staff in Kyiv, making it impossible for them to carry out their duties.
It added that the Syrian embassy at that time suspended its duties as a result of the hostile attitudes of the Ukrainian government.
Wednesday’s announcement comes as Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad meets Iranian officials in Tehran, a day after a summit between the leaders of Russia, Iran and Turkey in Tehran the Iranian capital.
In his second trip abroad since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed the conflict in Syria with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Syria has recognised the independence of the breakaway states in Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions in contrast to the international community.
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