A Russian court has delayed hearings in a lawsuit filed by German conglomerate Siemens against a Russian state firm over the transfer of power turbines to Ukraine's Russian-occupied Crimea region.
A preliminary hearing had been scheduled for September 18, but the Moscow Arbitration Court rescheduled it for October 16, according to the court’s documents.
AFP news agency reported that the decision to postpone the hearings was made at the request of the defendant, Technopromexport, a subsidiary of state conglomerate Rostec.
Siemens lodged the suit against Technopromexport in July, after it emerged that four power turbines it sent to a power plant in Russia ended up in Crimea.
The transfer of the equipment to Crimea contravened European Union sanctions imposed after Moscow occupied and took control of the Black Sea peninsula in 2014.
Last month, the Moscow Arbitration Court rejected a request by Siemens to seize the gas turbines and to ban their installation ahead of preliminary hearings.
The turbines, manufactured in Russia by a joint project involving Siemens, were sold to Technopromexport in 2015.
Siemens says the equipment was to be installed at a plant in Taman, in southern Russia, and that the Russian company breached contract conditions by sending them to Crimea. It is seeking the return of equipment to its original point of destination.
Russian Deputy Energy Minister Andrei Cherezov told state-run news agency TASS earlier this month that the turbines were delivered to Crimea legally and will be put into operation according to an existing schedule, despite the lawsuit.
Moscow needs the turbines for two Crimean power plants in order to ensure a stable power supply for the peninsula’s residents.
Crimea used to rely on the Ukrainian power grid but is now dependent on Russian electricity.
Crimea has been subjected to EU sanctions on energy technology since Russian military forces seized control of the Ukrainian region in March 2014 and the Kremlin staged a referendum that has been deemed as illegitimate by most countries in the world.
Last month, the EU widened sanctions against Russian companies and persons, including Technopromeksport and Cherezov, over the transfer of the turbines to Crimea.
The Russian Foreign Ministry called the decision an "unfriendly and unjustified" step.
With reporting by AFP, RAPSI, and TASS