Michael MacKay, Radio Lemberg, 02.03.2019
Russian imperialist aggression against Ukraine is thievery on an international scale. Immediately on invading and occupying Crimea in February/March 2014 the Russians began to steal oil and natural gas. Immediately on invading and occupying Donbas in April 2014 the Russians began to steal coal and whole factories.
The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague has ruled the Russian Federation violated an investment protection agreement by seizing assets of the Ukrainian gas concern Naftogaz in Crimea, Ukraine. The Russians committed this crime after invading and occupying Ukraine’s southern peninsula five years ago.
The chief executive officer of Naftogaz, Andriy Kobolev, made this statement: “It is a very important victory that will help bring the aggressor to justice over the stolen assets. The cost of seizing Crimea for Russia will grow constantly thanks to the actions of the international community and Ukraine. The PCA’s ruling is an important step in this direction.”
The court has not yet determined the amount of damage the Russian Federation caused to Naftogaz. Naftogaz officials estimated the value of the assets the Russians stole from Crimea, Ukraine to be at least $5 billion. The Russian invader-occupiers of Crimea and Donbas continue to illegally extract Ukrainian oil and gas.
The victory by Naftogaz in the Permanent Court of Arbitration comes exactly one year after its victory in the Stockholm Arbitration Tribunal. The Russian Federation and Gazprom are taking a beating in the international courts. Assets of Gazprom are being seized or frozen all around the world to pay record-setting compensation amounts to Ukraine and to Naftogaz. From the Stockholm ruling, Gazprom owes Naftogaz $2.56 billion. As the Russians have not yet paid they now owe an additional $200 million in interest.
Given the Permanent Court of Arbitration ruling, it is unconscionable that Germany continues to support Nord Stream 2. Russian gas that would flow through the Nord Stream 2 pipeline is “blood gas” – an admixture that would inevitably include gas stolen from Ukraine. The Russian Federation stole 80 percent of Ukraine’s oil and natural gas when it invaded and occupied Crimea. Why Germany supports the criminality of the Putin regime, acts against the interests of Ukraine, and undermines Europe’s energy security is a mystery.