Mon, 23 Sep 2019

Russia is appealing an international arbitration court's ruling that has awarded Ukrainian state-owned Oschadbank $1.3 billion in damages for assets it lost after Moscow annexed Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula in 2014, Russian media report.

Interfax news agency quoted a statement by Russia's Justice Ministry as saying on August 22 it had filed the appeal with the Paris-based International Court of Arbitration earlier this week.

It argued that the court's decision in the first instance was based on an agreement between Russia and Ukraine to mutually protect each other's investments made after January 1, 1992.

The statement said the deal should not apply to Oschadbank's Crimean branch, which it said 'existed since the Soviet times and was part of Oschadbank even before 1992.'

After the initial ruling in November 2018, Moscow stated that the Paris arbitration court had no jurisdiction over the case and refused to recognize it.

Russia has faced a number of lawsuits brought on by Ukrainian billionaires and companies for their lost Crimean assets.

Moscow seized control of Crimea in March 2014 after sending in troops and staging a referendum dismissed as illegal by at least 100 countries. Russia is also backing separatists in a war in eastern Ukraine that has killed more than 13,000 people since April 2014.

Naftogaz Group, Ukraine's state-run oil and gas conglomerate, on July 31 filed a lawsuit for $5.2 billion in damages over assets that Russia seized on the Black Sea peninsula.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague will hear the case and Naftogaz said in a statement that it expected a ruling 'no sooner than the end of 2020.'

With reporting by Interfax

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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