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The United Kingdom Supreme Court rules that russia’s US$3 billion Eurobonds case against Ukraine should be sent for a full public trial.

In a great victory for justice and the rule of law, the UK Supreme Court has today held that Ukraine’s defence of duress, based on russia’s threats of aggression against Ukraine, should be sent for a full public trial. More than seven years after russia commenced proceedings against Ukraine in England, this decision issued by the highest court in the UK vindicates Ukraine’s long-held position.

russia, acting through its proxy trustee, sought to persuade the English court to enter summary judgment against Ukraine without permitting its own conduct to be scrutinised. But the Supreme Court has rejected russia’s pleas and recognised the legitimacy of Ukraine’s defence.

Mr Justice Blair had already said in his first instance judgment that Ukraine’s case of duress “is plainly a strong one”, and that russia’s “threat of the use of force in 2013 has to be seen against the actual use of force in 2014”. The Supreme Court has now ruled that that strong defence should go to trial. The Supreme Court was not at this stage asked to consider russia’s illegal war against Ukraine, because the hearing of the appeals “concluded prior to russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022”, but Lord Carnwath of the Supreme Court said that russia’s subsequent behaviour could not realistically be ignored.

Time will tell whether russia has the courage to press its claim, now that it will have to make full disclosure regarding its actions towards Ukraine and account for its appalling behaviour at a public trial. The burden will be on russia to persuade the court that its threats “contributed nothing” to Ukraine’s decision to issue these weaponised bonds. The Supreme Court has said that Ukraine will succeed unless russia’s pressure is shown to have played no part in Ukraine’s decision.

All the evidence will be examined, and the world will be watching. Ukraine has truth and right on its side. In the courts, as on the battlefield, Ukraine will fight russia until the end, with complete belief that the ultimate victory will be Ukraine’s.

Slava Ukraini!