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Crimea conflict Swiss court orders Russia to pay damages to Ukrainian firms

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Ukrainian servicemen waiting to leave an airbase near Sevastopol, Crimea, in 2014.

(Keystone / Andrew Lubimov)

The Swiss Federal Court has ordered Russia to pay CHF80 million ($82.1 million) in damages to 12 Ukrainian firms confiscated after the 2014 annexation of Crimea.

In two decisions published on Thursday, the court rejected the appeals of the Russian state against the rulings made in a Geneva court last April.

Russia claimed that the Geneva body was not fit to rule on the case, since doing so amounted to making a de facto ruling on the status of Crimea.

It also claimed that the argument made by the Ukrainian firms, who said they should have been shielded by a 1998 Russia-Ukraine investment protection agreement, was not applicable.

According to the supreme court, however, the competence of the Geneva judges is not in question. This had already been confirmed by a previous hearing in October 2018, a hearing which also dismissed the Russian argument about the 1998 agreement.

The fines relate to a dozen businesses, including a network of service stations, that were confiscated from Ukrainian businessman Igor Kolomoinski following the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014.

Despite an agreement reached in Minsk in 2015, conflict in Ukraine between the army and Russia-backed separatists is ongoing. The war had cost an estimated 14,000 lives by the end of 2019.

Keystone-SDA/dos

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