Russia’s TV channel REN TV on Friday aired a video of an air strike drill on a decommissioned boat in the Black Sea to warn Ukraine against attempts to recover oil rigs off the coast of Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014.
According to REN TV, Russia’s Black Sea fleet showed Ukraine what would happen to its fleet if it attacked oil rigs, adding that Russia’s forces showed Ukraine how groundless its claim was that smaller targets are difficult to strike.
Ukraine’s UNIAN news outlet commented that this was “a blunt threat to apply the same force to the actual Ukrainian Navy warships once Kyiv attempts to regain control over its assets seized by Russia in the Black Sea as a result of Crimea occupation or attack vessels under the Russian flag.”
Last month, UNIAN reported--quoting Ukraine’s State Border Guard Service--that Russia continued to extract gas on the Ukrainian shelf in the exclusive maritime economic zone of Ukraine.
Ukraine’s gas company Naftogaz and its six subsidiaries filed in September with the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague a US$5-billion compensation claim “for damage caused by the unlawful seizure of the group’s assets in Crimea by the Russian Federation.”
According to Naftogaz, the Tribunal is expected to rule on the issue by the end of next year.
Several Ukrainian companies have filed seven lawsuits against the Russian Federation regarding the protection of investments in occupied Crimea, including Ukrnafta, Oschadbank, Igor Kolomoiskyi and Belbek Airport, Privatbank, Lugzor, Stabil, and Everest, Naftogaz said last month.
Naftogaz is also in a legal dispute with Russia’s Gazprom over gas contracts, with claims and counterclaims at a Stockholm court piling up to a total of more than US$80 billion. In an interim ruling at the end of May, it appeared the court sided with the Ukrainian firm on some of the claims.
“The final award is to be delivered not later than 30 November 2017,” Gazprom said in its Q2 results release at the end of August.
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.