Ukraine to submit claim registry resolution to the UN General Assembly to kickstart Russia reparations talks

7 November 2022, 06:27 PM
Destroyed buildings in Lyman, found after Russian occupation (Photo:Volodymyr Zelenskyy/Telegram)

Destroyed buildings in Lyman, found after Russian occupation (Photo:Volodymyr Zelenskyy/Telegram)

Ukraine has been working on the draft resolution on the claim registry together with partners and is planning to submit the document to the UN General Assembly in November.

The draft resolution proposes to start talks on the creation of the so-called claim registry of the damage caused by Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

If adopted the resolution would help to kickstart a process of talks about reparations to Ukraine and how to force Russia to pay for damage and destruction.

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“Reparations are at the end of a certain process. How you get to the war reparations it is a very long political, legal and economic process. We still are not there,” Csaba Kőrösi diplomat and president of the 77th UN General Assembly Session told NV on Nov. 2.

Kőrösi said that the final draft of the resolution has not been tabled yet, but warned that when it comes it will instigate a huge debate in the General Assembly.  If the GA adopts it, it will mean the beginning of the process. But even the diplomats still don’t know when and how it will start. Because it requires some legal framework, the strong political will of many countries, and financing.

“It will take a lot of work to put together the huge claim registry and make sure all the claims are well funded and legitimate. And we are still at the point when the draft resolution is coming but as far as I understand it doesn’t describe the whole process. It is about taking off the process,” Kőrösi said.

NV’s sources at the UN said the claim registry resolution will be presented to the GA members in the upcoming weeks. If the GA adopts the resolution, it will kickstart the process of debates on how to force Russia to pay reparations.

The GA decision will make it easier for different countries where there are arrested Russian assets, to bring the reparation decisions to the local parliaments and start a discussion about how to do it in a legal way.

During the General Assembly High-Level Debates week in September Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal told NV the government wants to receive an estimated $300-$500 billion in Russian assets frozen in different countries to use the money for the restoration of Ukraine. Currently, Russian assets cannot be legally transferred to Ukraine.

"We need to conduct a rapid restoration during wartime and post-war. Of course, it will cost hundreds of billions of dollars according to the estimates of partners and the World Bank. Of course, the state will not take this money out of its pocket from the budget,” Shmyhal said.

 “And the taxpayers of our partners from the United States and the European Union should not finance the restoration.”

According to the prime minister, Ukraine has insisted that Russia, the aggressor in this war, should be liable for covering Ukraine's damages.

As of September the total amount of direct documented damage to residential and non-residential real estate, and other infrastructure amounted to more than $127 billion, Kyiv School of Economics has said in its frequently updated “Russia will pay” report.

According to the report, Russian invaders have brought the largest damage to the housing sector - $50.5 billion. Compared to the beginning of June, this amount increased by $11.2 billion in September.

According to the latest data, a total of 135,800 private and apartment buildings were damaged and destroyed.  Overall Russia has destroyed or damaged 7.3% of the country's housing stock.

In addition to the housing sector, Russian invaders have brought $35.3 billion in damage to Ukrainian infrastructure.

However, the Kyiv School of Economics report only features damage on Ukraine-controlled territory. Earlier Ukrainian authorities claimed Russia has brought $340 billion in damages to Ukraine.

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