Crimea ready to sue Ukraine over ‘20 years of looting’ – official

A view of the Balaklava Bay of Sevastopol from the Castle Hill. © Vladimir Sergeev
Crimea’s deputy PM has told reporters that the republic could sue Ukraine in an international court for damages inflicted by 20 years of disastrous misrule that could be compared to looting, which ended in the collapse of the peninsula’s infrastructure.

Crimea has the right to file a countersuit and demand that Ukraine compensates for the looting it did on the peninsula for two decades. At that time, under the ‘patronage’ of Kiev authorities, Crimean lands and real estate got sold for nothing. They took all of the taxes that were collected, but invested nothing into our infrastructure or economy,” deputy chairman of the Crimean government Ruslan Balbek said in comments with RIA Novosti.

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His remarks came soon after Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin promised that his country would soon sue Russia for allegedly breaching the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and a convention banning the financing of terrorism. The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry also issued a statement in June alleging that Russia had breached the Convention on the Law of the Sea, while promising to appeal to international courts for restitution. “This decision aims to protect Ukrainian rights and interests guaranteed by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea of 1982 violated by Russia in the Crimean territorial sea, waters of the Black and Azov seas and the Kerch Strait, including rights to natural resources of the continental shelf,” the statement read.

Deputy PM Balbek said in his Tuesday comments that Kiev’s threats were pure populist posturing incapable of bringing any consequences. “It is possible that they could find a court that would pass a ruling obliging the Russian Federation to fulfill the Ukrainian demands. But the actual execution of this ruling will only happen in the delirious imagination of the judge and sick ravings of Ukrainian politicians,” he said.

Senator Olga Kovitidi, who represents Crimea in the Upper House of the Russian Parliament, supported the idea of suing the Kiev regime, adding that, in her view, the head of the republic and its government should set up a commission to calculate the exact amount of damages before filing the lawsuit with a court.

Crimea became a part of the Russian Federation in March of 2014, when over 96 percent of Crimean residents voted in favor of the move in a referendum. The decision was prompted by the ouster of the democratically elected president of Ukraine in a violent coup in Kiev and the installation of a nationalist-backed government that almost immediately declared war on the pro-Russian regions in the country’s southeast, which refused to recognize the newly imposed regime.

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Earlier this month, the head of the Crimean Republic, Sergey Aksyonov, said that the peninsula will remain a part of the Russian Federation forever. “There will be no return to Ukraine. This question has been completely solved and cannot be reversed. I am confident that Crimea will not change its statehood ever in its life. This is forever,” RIA Novosti quoted Aksyonov as saying at a meeting with a delegation of Jordanian businessmen, activists, and former state officials.