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15 Mar, 2023 16:25

UK court sides with Ukraine over Maidan-era bond

Kiev’s defense that it accepted a $3 billion loan from Moscow under duress will go to full trial
UK court sides with Ukraine over Maidan-era bond

The UK Supreme Court has decided to send a case concerning Ukraine’s unpaid debt to Russia to a full trial, it was announced on Wednesday.

The case focuses on $3 billion in Eurobonds that Moscow lent Kiev in 2013, which Ukraine later refused to pay, claiming it was a political loan that the country had been forced to take.

According to the ruling, Kiev will be permitted to defend its claim at a trial before the UK High Court “because Ukraine had an arguable and justiciable defense of duress.”

Russia had sought a so-called summary judgment, a simplified procedure which enables the court to decide a claim without a trial.

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky hailed Wednesday’s ruling as a “victory.”

The hearing in the case was held in November 2021, and, according to a press release, the Supreme Court was not asked to consider Russia’s military operation in Ukraine when considering its judgment.

Moscow lent the money, in the form of a Eurobond, to Kiev in December 2013 during the presidency of Viktor Yanukovich, who was ousted during the Euromaidan coup early the following year.

After Ukraine failed to repay by late 2015, Russia brought a lawsuit in the English courts, as Eurobonds are governed by English law. The court has a long history of appeal judges overturning lower court rulings.

A previous High Court ruling in 2017 stated that Ukraine had failed to offer a “justifiable” or court-ready defense for not paying back the $3 billion lent by Russia. The judge refused to send the case to a full trial. Kiev appealed the decision.

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