Russia accused Ukraine on Tuesday, March 7 of taking it to court under false pretences, using allegations of financing terrorism and ethnic discrimination as an excuse to litigate Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimean peninsula three years ago. This was reported by Reuters.
The accusation came on the second day of hearings at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, where Ukraine charged that Russia is financing separatist groups who carry out terrorist attacks in eastern Ukraine and that Russia is discriminating against Crimean Tartars on peninsula.
Those actions violate two international treaties, Ukraine said. This week's hearings relate to Ukraine's request for an order that Russia stop these violations.
Russian lawyers urged judges to reject Ukraine's case, since the peninsula's annexation was beyond its jurisdiction.
"Ukraine uses the word 'terrorism' as a pretext for seizing this court," Russian foreign ministry official Ilya Rogachev said. Russia has repeatedly denied sending troops or military equipment to eastern Ukraine.
Ukraine requests as provisional measures to include a freeze on providing money, weapons, vehicles, equipment, training or personnel to the separatists.
Ukraine said at the hearing that pro-Russian separatists were responsible for the bombardment of residential areas and the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 in July 2014, in which 298 passengers and crew - many of them Dutch - were killed.
In September 2016, a six-country investigative team led by the Netherlands said the plane had been shot down with a Russian-manufactured Buk surface-to-air missile from an area controlled by pro-Russian forces.
Outside the courthouse, relatives of the Dutch victims of the MH-17 disaster held a small demonstration. "We are here to call on Russia to take responsibility," said Thomas Schansman, who lost his son in the crash.
Russia has dismissed the findings as biased and politically motivated.
While the ICJ's rulings are final and cannot be appealed, it has few means of enforcing its rulings. In the past, powerful countries have ignored its rulings or boycotted its hearings.
Earlier it was reported that UN Court will listen Russian side's position regarding Ukraine's lawsuit. Among Russian delegation are forty representatives, among them Foreign Ministry employees and German lawyers.