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Russia is disputing the jurisdiction of The Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Russia-Ukraine dispute over rights to oil and natural gas resources off Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014.
Ukraine served the Russian Federation with a claim at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in September 2016, referring to a dispute between the two countries over the coastal state rights in the Black Sea, Sea of Azov, and Kerch Strait. Ukraine claims that it has the right to resources in those areas, which were violated by Russia with the annexation of Crimea. The Permanent Court of Arbitration acts as Registry in this arbitration.
Russia is now contesting the jurisdiction of the court in the dispute, saying that the arbitrators in The Hague-based court shouldn’t rule on a case that Russia says is about Ukraine’s “claim to sovereignty over Crimea,” Reuters quoted the court as saying on Friday.
The court will hear Russia’s reasoning and will set deadlines for written answers on if it has jurisdiction to rule on this dispute, it said.
Earlier this year, the head of the Russian Academy of Sciences said that Russia should explore the Crimean continental shelf for natural gas.
NATO estimates the oil and gas resources of the Crimean shelf at between 4 trillion and 13 trillion cubic meters, which, the pact said, would have been instrumental in Ukraine’s drive towards energy independence from Russia.
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Meanwhile, Heather Nauert, U.S. State Department Spokesperson, said on Thursday that “The United States condemns Russia’s harassment of international shipping in the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait. Russia has delayed hundreds of commercial vessels since April and in recent weeks has stopped at least 16 commercial ships attempting to reach Ukrainian ports.”
To this, Russia’s Embassy in the USA responded on its Facebook page that the “U.S. Department of State has raised concerns through its Spokesperson Heather Nauert over legitimate inspections of vessels at the Sea of Azov.”
“US authorities keep generating new baseless accusations against Russia to misdirect attention from gross human rights violations in its satellite countries (e.g. harassment and prosecution of a human rights advocate Alexander Gaponenko in Latvia), not to mention in the U.S. itself,” the Russian embassy said.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.