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Ukraine files suit against Russia in Hague court for 'aggression'

By
Allen Cone
Ukrainian soldiers stand guard at a checkpoint not far from the border with Crimea, near the village of Chongar, Kherson area, Ukraine, on March 16, 2014. Ukraine filed a lawsuit against Russia on Monday with the International Court of Justice in the Hague. Photo by Ivan Boberyskyy/European Pressphoto Agency
Ukrainian soldiers stand guard at a checkpoint not far from the border with Crimea, near the village of Chongar, Kherson area, Ukraine, on March 16, 2014. Ukraine filed a lawsuit against Russia on Monday with the International Court of Justice in the Hague. Photo by Ivan Boberyskyy/European Pressphoto Agency

Jan. 17 (UPI) -- Ukraine filed a lawsuit against Russia with the International Court of Justice in the Hague, accusing it of being "accountable for acts of terrorism and discrimination in the course of its unlawful aggression against Ukraine."

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko instructed Ukraine's Ministry of Foreign Affairs to file the suit on Monday, the ministry announced.

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A finding by the court in Ukraine's favor could lead to freezing or seizure of Russian assets by some nations.

Moscow has denied all accusations, including the accusation that it provided military support to militias.

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In 2014, Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula, which had been given to Ukraine, then a republic of the Soviet Union, in 1954 by Soviet leader Nikita Krushchev. The Crimea had been part of Russia since 1783.

"Ukraine insists that the Russian Federation violates the Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism by providing weapons and other support to illegal armed groups who have committed a number of acts of terrorism on the territory of Ukraine," the Foreign Ministry said. "The most tragic terrorist attacks by Russian proxies are the downing of the Malaysia Airlines MH17 flight, shelling of residential areas of Mariupol and Kramatorsk, destruction of civilian passenger bus near Volnovakha and deadly explosion during a peaceful meeting in Kharkiv."

Ukraine says Russia is violating the convention by discriminating against non-Russian communities in Crimea.

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"Since the illegal 'referendum' held in the atmosphere of intimidation, the Russian occupation authorities pursued the policy of cultural destruction of these communities. This discriminatory policy has been condemned by the U.N. General Assembly and is manifested in the prohibition of the activity of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people, in a wave of disappearances, killings, arbitrary searches, arrests, attempts to stop broadcast of the media, as well as restrictions on teaching of Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar languages," the Foreign Ministry said.

While the case is pending, Ukraine is seeking to halt what is says are human rights violations committed by Russia.

"We have tried to resolve the existing disputes through negotiation for more than two years, but Russia does not want to cease its violations of international law," Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin said.

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After Russia annexed Crimea, fighting broke out in eastern Ukraine the next month between pro-Russian rebels and Ukrainian government forces. In February 2015, the two sides reached a cease-fire deal.

The United Nations' International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism was adopted on Dec. 9, 1999.

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