MOSCOW, January 17 - RAPSI. The Russian Foreign Ministry has stated that the verdict of the U.S. court on the Schneersohn collection is provocative, and null and void. Russia has been fined for not complying with the earlier verdict which ordered the country to transfer Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn's collection of books and manuscripts to Chabad, an American Hasidic movement.

"The Russian Foreign Ministry finds the ruling of the federal court in Washington, D.C., absolutely illegitimate and provocative. We have stated many times that this verdict is extraterritorial, contradicts international law, and is null and void," reads the statement issued by the ministrys Department of Information and Mass Media today.

In late July 2011, the U.S. court ordered that around 12,000 books and 50,000 rare manuscripts from the collection of Lubavitcher Rabbi Schneersohn, currently owned by the Russian state library, be transferred to the Chabad-Lubavitch religious movement. Yesterday, the District of Columbia Court imposed a daily fine of $50,000 on the Russian government until the collection is returned to the American Hasidic group.

The Foreign Ministry stressed today that the Schneersohn collection "was amassed in this country and is therefore a national asset belonging to the Russian people. As state property of the Russian Federation, it has jurisdictional immunity."

Moscow plans to issue a harsh response, should any Russian state property be arrested.

Schneersohn was exiled from the Soviet Union in 1927. He took his collection first to Latvia and then to Poland, where he abandoned it after the Nazi invasion. The collection was then taken to Germany and reclaimed by the Red Army in 1945. According to the U.S. court, the manuscripts are currently held in the Russian State Military Archives.