Ukraine will ask the British Supreme Court on Monday not to force it to pay billions of dollars in debt to Russia without a trial that would determine whether Kiev was forced to borrow the money under duress, APA reports quoting Reuters.
The case, being decided in London because the debt was structured as a Eurobond under English law, could see British courts rule on some of the most contentious issues in the Russia-Ukraine feud that has divided Moscow from the West.
The debt was borrowed six years ago by a pro-Russian president months before he was toppled in a popular uprising. Moscow is seeking a summary judgment in its favor that could see Ukraine ordered to pay the debt in full, without a trial.
Ukraine argues that it should not be forced to pay without having a chance to challenge the debt, a position backed by an appeals court in a ruling that Russia now wants the Supreme Court to overturn.
Alex Gerbi, a partner at the firm representing Kiev in the case, said Ukraine would argue that the debt was incurred under duress.
“Russia should have to prove its claim, and justify its conduct, in the full public scrutiny of an English trial,” Gerbi said.
Ukraine has accused Russia of applying “massive, unlawful and illegitimate economic and political pressure to Ukraine in 2013”, forcing the country to accept Moscow’s financial support instead of striking up closer ties with the EU, according to earlier court documents.