Russia accuses Ukraine of ‘blatant lies’ about discrimination in Crimea, MH17

THE HAGUE (Reuters) – Russia on Thursday denied Ukrainian accusations that it supported pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine in 2014 and discriminated against Tatars and Crimean Ukrainians, blaming Kiev instead of ” blatant lies” before the highest court of the United Nations.

Ukraine has asked the Hague-based International Court of Justice (ICJ) to order Russia to end allegations of discrimination against the Tatar ethnic group in Crimea, a Ukrainian peninsula occupied by Russia since 2014.

“Ukraine constantly turns to blatant lies and false accusations against the Russian Federation,” Russian Ambassador to the Netherlands Alexander Shulgin said during the second day of hearings at the ICJ.

“Nothing could be further from the truth,” he said.

In the same case, a 16-judge ICJ panel this week began hearing Ukraine’s claim that Moscow violated a UN counterterrorism treaty by equipping and funding pro-Russian forces, including including militias who shot down Malaysian Airlines flight MH17, killing all 298 passengers and crew in 2014.

Last November, a Dutch court convicted two Russians and a Ukrainian separatist in absentia for their roles and sentenced them to life in prison. He concluded that Russia had “overall control” over the separatist forces.

Russia rejected what it called the Dutch court’s decision “scandalous”.

The ICJ hearings in the case, which date back to 2017, marked the first time lawyers from Ukraine and Russia have met at the ICJ since Moscow launched a full-scale invasion of the Ukraine on February 24, 2022.

Russia denies systematic human rights violations in the Ukrainian territory it occupies.

(Reporting by Stephanie van den Berg, editing by William Maclean)

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