London's HIgh Court will soon hear a $3 billion civil case that essentially boils the Ukraine conflict down to a lawsuit.
Basically, Russia is suing to recover a loan it granted to the regime of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, just months before he was ousted by a popular uprising.
The $3 billion credit was essentially a bribe to prevent Ukraine from signing an Association Agreement with the European Union.
And when the cash-strapped government in Kyiv negotiated a restructuring of its $18 billion debt last year, all of its creditors agreed -- except, that is, Russia.
But while Moscow's actions are hardly surprising, Kyiv is deploying a novel defense in the lawsuit.
Ukraine is arguing that Russia's annexation of Crimea and invasion of the Donbas are part of a military, political, and economic strategy to destabilize the country and make it impossible for it to pay its debts.
In other words, if you wanted your money back, you should not have invaded our country and seized our territory.
Now, the strategy is a long shot. Few countries have managed to write off debt incurred by former regimes.
But then again, few countries in recent history have had endured the kind of orchestrated destabilization campaign by a creditor as Ukraine has.
Russia has invaded Ukraine, annexed its territory, kidnapped its citizens, and done everything possible to disrupt its economy.
And now Ukraine is saying: That should cost you, at the very least, a mere $3 billion.