Ukraine has won in court against a group of holders of state bonds issued during the time of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, representing the interests of Russia as well. The Ukrainian side refused to repay this debt, referring to the fact that this debt was imposed on Ukraine by Russia. After a lengthy trial, the British Supreme Court upheld the Ukrainian side in the conflict, but did not recognize all of Kiev's arguments as convincing, Bloomberg reports .
“Forcing a person and forcing to buy a product are clear examples of undue pressure,” the majority of the Supreme Court judges said.
It should be noted that this is not the final decision of the court. The Supreme Court considered the arguments of the Ukrainian side that Russia put pressure on Ukraine in the decision to issue bonds and threatened it with force. The key evidence in favor of the Ukrainian position was the threat of military intervention from Russia, as well as the annexation of Crimea. The Supreme Court confirmed and recognized these arguments of Kiev, which is a sufficient condition for the start of a full-fledged trial between the countries, in which the court will already have to establish whether Russia really threatened Ukraine with a use of force scenario in case of refusal of Moscow's conditions.
At the same time, the arguments of the Ukrainian side that the Ukrainian government did not participate in the adoption of obviously unfavorable conditions were rejected by the court, since the then Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of Ukraine participated in the agreement between Russia and Ukraine. For the period of the new proceedings, Ukraine has the right not to pay off its debt to Russia, which should help the Ukrainian authorities with the debt burden, which has grown significantly after the Russian invasion. Russia continues to insist that Ukraine defaulted on these securities, denies any pressure or coercion, and also demands compensation for $3 billion in issued securities.
We are talking about Ukraine's attempt to borrow $15 billion through the issuance of government bonds at the height of the protests in Kyiv and across the country, dubbed "Euromaidan". Then the citizens of Ukraine were dissatisfied with the decision of the former President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych to refuse to sign an agreement on Ukraine's integration with the European Union. The agreement could cause significant economic damage to Russia, since a free trade zone was established between Ukraine and the EU, and at that time similar conditions were fixed between Russia and Ukraine, so a significant part of European goods in transit through Ukraine could begin to enter Russia with zero import duty.
Rapprochement with the European Union, coupled with the economic consequences, did not suit Moscow, which put pressure on Kyiv and Yanukovych and came up with a counterproposal. Instead of a free trade zone with the EU, Ukraine received a $15 billion loan from Russia, as well as a significant discount on Russian gas, but such conditions did not suit the protesters on the Maidan in Kiev. Meanwhile, the government of Ukraine, led by Mykola Azarov, made the first issue of bonds worth $3 billion anyway and agreed to Russian terms, which provoked an intensification of protest, as a result of which the Azarov government and President Yanukovych were removed from power. The interim government headed by Arseniy Yatsenyuk refused to serve and recognize the debt to Russia. The proceedings took place in several courts and lasted almost 8 years.
The Ukrainian side believes that this court decision formalizes and recognizes the hybrid war against Ukraine by Russia since 2014. The Russian side, on the other hand, insists that there is not and cannot be any political motive in this case, since it is only a matter of non-fulfillment of the financial obligations assumed. The parties have not yet commented on the decision of the Supreme Court of Great Britain.