UK court sides with Ukraine in battle over Russia bond defaults – Reuters

Kyiv’s defense that it took $3bn loan from Moscow under duress will face full trial

The UK Supreme Court has decided to send a case involving Ukraine’s unpaid debt to Russia to a full trial, it was announced on Wednesday.

The case involves $3 billion in Eurobonds that Moscow lent to Kyiv in 2013, which Ukraine later refused to pay, saying it was a political credit the country had been compelled to take.

According to the Supreme Court’s decision, Kyiv will be allowed to defend its claim in a trial in the High Court “because Ukraine had an arguable and justiciable defense of duress.”

Russia had requested so-called summary judgment, a simplified procedure that allows the court to rule on a claim without a trial.

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky hailed Wednesday’s decision as a “victory.”

The hearing in the case took place in November 2021 and, according to a press release, the Supreme Court was not asked to consider the Russian military operation in Ukraine when considering its judgment.

Moscow lent the money in the form of a Eurobond to Kyiv in December 2013, under President Viktor Yanukovych, who was ousted in the Euromaidan coup a year later.

After Ukraine failed to redeem the notes at the end of 2015, Russia took legal action in English courts, as Eurobonds are governed by English law. The case has a long history of appellate judges overturning lower court rulings.

A previous High Court ruling in 2017 said Ukraine had failed to offer “justifiable” or a court-ready defense for failing to repay the $3 billion loaned to him by Russia. The judge declined to send the case to a full trial. Kyiv appealed the decision.

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