Russian court boosted Ukraine’s legal position by accidentally revealing Kremlin’s military presence in Donbas

16 December 2021, 07:01 PM

Ukraine’s position in legal proceedings against Russia in the international courts has been strengthened after a Russian court officially recognized the presence of Russian troops in Ukraine’s Donbas region, Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko told NV on Dec.16.

“The recognition by the Russian court of the presence of Russian troops in the temporarily occupied territory of Ukraine is yet another convincing rebuttal of Moscow’s key argument about the allegedly ‘internal Ukrainian’ nature of the conflict in the Donbas,” Nikolenko said.

“This time the Russian Federation itself created a legal precedent that clearly established its status as a party to an international armed conflict,” Nikolenko added.

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He said the Russian court’s move would strengthen Ukraine’s position in proceedings against Russia in international courts.

“It will be more and more difficult for Russian lawyers to call white black, and vice versa,” he added.

He said he was confident that the court decision, delivered by a Rostov-on-Don Kirovsky District Court judge, had brought the Russian authorities closer to being held to account in the international courts.

“It’s not surprising that the Russian side immediately tried to deny the said judgment–but they will still fail to hide Russia’s crimes against Ukraine,” he said.

A Ukrainian journalist reported on Dec. 16 that Kirovsky District Court had officially recognized the presence of Russian troops in Ukraine’s Donbas region.

The presence of the Russian military in Ukraine’s Donbas was established by files in a corruption case about food supplies to Russian military units positioned in the Russian-occupied parts of Luhansk and Donetsk Oblast in 2018-2019.

In turn, Kremlin spokesman Dmitriy Peskov claimed there had been a mistake made by those who filed the court document. “There are no Russian military present in the self-proclaimed republics (of the Donbas), and there never have been,” Peskov said.

The court documents revealing Russia’s military presence in Ukraine later disappeared from Russian court registries.

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