Michael MacKay, Radio Lemberg, 17.09.2018
Putin was desperate after he pressured his Ukrainian puppet, Viktor Yanukovych, to pull out of the Ukraine-European Union Association Agreement. Never understanding Ukraine and the Ukrainian people, Putin could not grasp that the EuroMaidan protests that sprang up after Yanukovych’s betrayal in November 2013 were genuine and spontaneous – and they were about to get massive. Putin bribed Yanukovych with $3 billion to stick with his abrupt halt to Ukraine’s path towards Europe. The Muscovy dictator disguised the bribe as a sovereign loan – which the corrupt Yanukovych regime of course agreed to.
Almost five years later, the question of whether this $3 billion bribe is sovereign debt or is odious debt is being bandied about in English courts. On September 14, the English Court of Appeal overturned a summary judgement entered in Russia’s favour in March 2017. This latest ruling sided unanimously with the Ukrainian position. Ukraine will now have the opportunity to argue the “defence of duress” in its case to forego payment of the odious debt.
Ukraine argues that the alleged contracts for the eurobonds held by Russia, in the amount of $3 billion, are void and unenforceable. This is because Russia is at war with Ukraine, having commenced an invasion on 20 February 2014. The so-called debt is poisonous because of the egregious threats and acts of aggression perpetrated against Ukraine. In fact, the $3 billion in bonds are an old bribe to Yanukovych that are wielded as a weapon in Russia’s war against Ukraine.
The Ministry of Finance of Ukraine said in a statement that the contracts for the $3 billion eurobonds are “invalid and unenforceable.” “Russia must be held accountable for its internationally wrongful acts and the English Court has made clear that it will not shy away from doing so,” said Acting Minster of Finance, Oksana Markarova.
The English Court of Appeal unanimously agreed that Ukraine should be able to argue the defence of duress.
Viktor Yanukovych fled Kyiv and abandoned his post as President of Ukraine in February 2014. He took several billions of dollars of the wealth of the Ukrainian people with him. The stolen money and Yanukovych himself are now hidden away in the Russian Federation by Putin.
If there is any justice, Ukraine will never have to pay a cent of the $3 billion eurobonds held by Russia. It is nonsense for the Ukrainian state to repay money that it never received. From the beginning, it was false to claim that the $3 billion bribe given by Putin to Yanukovych was sovereign debt of Ukraine. It is an odious debt, poisoned by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Russia is waging war against Ukraine, and the English Court of Appeal will allow allow Ukraine to argue that Putin’s War is germane. This is a great victory for Ukraine and for English justice.