Ukraine refuses to pay $288 mln debt to Russian Defense Ministry
KIEV, April 3 (RAPSI) – On Thursday, the Kiev Economic Court voided its 2012 ruling that the Ukrainian government should compensate the Russian Defense Ministry for 3,24 billion hryvnas ($288 million), in order to resolve the debt of United Energy Systems of Ukraine, according to the statement posted on the court’s website.
In 2012, the Kiev Economic Court partially satisfied the Defense Ministry lawsuit, obligating the Ukrainian government to pay more than 3.2 million hryvnas ($390 million) in UESU debt.
The debt accured in the 1990s when the corporation was headed by Yulia Tymoshenko.
Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko, who was recently released after serving time in the United States for money laundering, provided the Russian Defense Ministry with written guarantees that the debt would be paid.
The court ruled Thursday that rather than paying out 3,24 billion hryvnas to the Russian defense ministry, the government should transfer 38,7 million hryvnas ($3.4 million) of the allocated funds to the Ukrainian treasury.
Tymoshenko has been serving a seven-year sentence in a penal colony in the city of Kharkov for abuse of power based on a gas deal she signed with Russia in 2009. Since May 2012, she has been undergoing treatment in a local hospital. Tymoshenko was also charged with financial fraud, which is alleged to have taken place when she was head of United Energy Systems of Ukraine in the 1990s. The case was postponed for over a year, due to her poor health.
On February 22, Ukraine's parliament voted to release Tymoshenko from prison. The news followed closely on the heels of the adoption on February 21 by the parliament of sweeping amendments to the Criminal Code which carried the potential of clearing the way for her release.
On February 22, Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada impeached Viktor Yanukovich and amended the constitution. Presidential authority was assigned to parliament speaker Olexandr Turchiynov and a presidential election was scheduled for May 25.
Russia has denounced the events in Ukraine as an armed coup. President Vladimir Putin said during a news conference in March that Yanukovich remains Ukraine’s legitimate president.