Russia prepares $20 billion lawsuit against Ukraine for ‘water blockade of Crimea’
By the end of April, documents are expected to be ready to sue Ukraine for damages caused to the peninsula by the water blockade, said the first deputy chairman of the Crimean State Council, Yefim Fiks. According to him, the amount of claims is 1.5 trillion rubles ($20 billion USD).
“We have documents for 1.5 trillion rubles at the moment. It’s the direct damage. But the amount may increase. I assume that the number can go up to 10 trillion rubles ($130 billion USD),” Fiks was quoted as saying by TASS news agency.
Chairman of the State Council of Crimea Vladimir Konstantinov specified that the authorities will file a lawsuit against Ukraine by mid-2021. Lawsuits will be filed in Russian courts, starting with the Crimean ones. In addition, lawsuits for the transport and energy blockade are being prepared.
“Very good chances, we will seize everything that will pass, fly, travel through Crimea, and the Russian Federation. Those people who are responsible for organizing the blockade will be put on the international wanted list,” Konstantinov said as quoted by RIA Novosti.
Konstantinov described the condition of the North Crimean Canal, which was blocked by Ukraine after Crimea’s annexation by Russia in 2014, as close to an environmental disaster.
“The North-Crimean Canal has become a serious problem. More than 400 km of Crimean land along the canal has been deformed. We will have to put all this in order. It cannot be left in this form. It is a serious ecological disaster. People from the surrounding villages complain that changes have already taken place,” Konstantinov said, adding that “billions and billions of dollars” will have to be spent to solve this problem.
Ukraine used to provide up to 85% of Crimea’s fresh water through the North-Crimean Canal, which connects the Dnieper River with the peninsula. After Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, water supplies to the peninsula were cut off.
Water reserves in Crimea are replenished from reservoirs of natural runoff and underground sources. According to ecologists, the excessive use of water from natural sources has led to the salinization of the soil on the peninsula. Crimean authorities regularly call on the residents of the peninsula to save water.
The Permanent Mission of the President of Ukraine in Crimea reported that the supply of water to Russia-annexed Crimea and Sevastopol via the North Crimean Canal is possible only after the “de-occupation of the peninsula”.