Lytvyn: Ukraine shouldn't pay UESU debt to Russian Defense Ministry

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Sept. 24, 2012, 10:11 a.m. | Ukraine | Politics — by Interfax-Ukraine

Verkhovna Rada Speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn
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ZHYTOMYR - Ukraine should not pay debts of the United Energy Systems of Ukraine (UESU) to the Russian Defense Ministry, Verkhovna Rada Speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn told reporters in Zhytomyr on September 22, 2012, commenting on the Kyiv Economic Court's ruling on the partial repayment of the debts.

"Ukraine should not incur losses or bear responsibility for that business entity," he said. "I wish we do not have to pay that debt."

Commenting on the opinion of some politicians that the Kyiv Economic Court ruling was a PR action, the speaker said, "If we take this ruling as a PR action that is an extremely expensive PR for a country – over Hr 3 billion. I can tell you pointblank: we do not have so much money and we will not have it."

Lytvyn said he hoped the court would be primarily guided with laws in the hearing of the appeal.

On September 19, the Kyiv Economic Court partially satisfied a suit from the Russian Defense Ministry concerning the UESU debt, ordering Ukraine to pay Hr 3,113,053,506.

Ukraine will appeal the ruling. "Our legal arguments will be presented in the appeal we are drafting," the Ukrainian Justice Ministry said.

The Russian Defense Ministry lodged the Hr 3,239.45 million claim to the Ukrainian government with the Kyiv Economic Court. It demanded that the Ukrainian State Treasury Service must be a co-defendant. The UESU was a third party in the litigation.

The Russian ministry claims that, in the 1990s, the UESU, which was then headed by Yulia Tymoshenko, failed to meet its commitments on supplies for the Russian military under a 1997 agreement. The then Ukrainian government of Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko allegedly provided state guarantees that the commitments would be fulfilled.

A UESU representative told the court that Lazarenko's letters were not a legal guarantee and the UESU was unable to make full supplies because of pressure from the Ukrainian authorities.

Ukrainian government representatives pointed at the court to the expiration of the claim's period of limitation and insisted there were no state guarantees of the UESU obligations.

The Kharkiv Kyivsky District Court is hearing the case of ex-Prime Minister, Batkivschyna Party leader Tymoshenko, who is suspected of fraud in her being the UESU head. The prosecutors claimed Tymoshenko's compensation of Hr 19.5 million in damages within the UESU case. Prosecutor General Viktor Pshonka said that the UESU case of Tymoshenko was closed illegally in 2005 under the pressure of the then President Viktor Yuschenko immediately after Tymoshenko's appointment as the Prime Minister.

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