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Kyiv Tells ICJ Russia Failed To Stop 'Terrorism' In Eastern Ukraine

Ukraine's Deputy Foreign Minister Olena Zerkal presents her country's case at the International Court of Justice in The Hague on June 4.
Ukraine's Deputy Foreign Minister Olena Zerkal presents her country's case at the International Court of Justice in The Hague on June 4.

THE HAGUE -- Ukraine has argued before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) that Russia has failed to prevent "terrorist acts" by the separatists Moscow is backing in the country’s east.

Ukrainian representatives made the accusation on June 4, the second day of arguments in Kyiv’s case over Moscow’s seizure of Ukraine's Crimea region and its support for the separatists in the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.

Fighting between the militants and Ukrainian government forces has killed some 13,000 people there since April 2014, shortly after Russia seized control of the Crimean Peninsula.

"Did [Russia] stop the financing of terrorism in Ukraine? No. Did it help us find the authors of terrorist acts? No," Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister Olena Zerkal told the court in The Hague, Netherlands.

Zerkal cited the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 by a missile over the conflict zone in July 2014, as well as bomb and rocket attacks on residential districts, adding: "Hundreds of people have been killed or wounded, thousands have been intimidated."

Ukraine filed the case at the ICJ in January 2017, accusing Russia of violating the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

It said Moscow had stepped up its interference in Ukraine's affairs since 2014, "intervening militarily...financing acts of terrorism, and violating the human rights of millions of Ukraine's citizens, including, for all too many, their right to life."

The case also includes claims of Russian involvement in the downing of MH17 in which all 298 people on board the passenger jet were killed.

Russia denies involvement in the tragedy.

However, an international investigative team has determined that the Buk missile that struck the aircraft came from Russia's 53rd Antiaircraft Missile Brigade and was fired from territory held by the separatists.

On June 3, the Russian representatives called on the ICJ to dismiss the case, arguing that Kyiv had failed to produce new evidence to show that Russia was involved in funneling arms and money to the separatists and in the shooting down of MH17.

"Russia denies what the whole world knows” Zerkal said. “It is seeking to clear itself of its responsibility."

The ICJ will hear a second round of arguments on June 6-7.

With reporting by AFP
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