Ukrainians could file '10 million claims' against Russia

The Council of Europe, which comprises 46 member states, was set up to monitor and uphold human rights in Europe in the wake of World War II.
Natalie Zaichenko, 60, tends to the grave of her son, a Ukrainian soldier who was killed in the war against Russia, in Kyiv, Ukraine.
Natalie Zaichenko, 60, tends to the grave of her son, a Ukrainian soldier who was killed in the war against Russia, in Kyiv, Ukraine. (Photo | AP)

STRASBOURG: An international register of Ukrainian reparations claims for damage inflicted by Russia's invasion could assemble 10 million contributions, its director said Wednesday.

"I will not be surprised if it reaches 10 million," said Markiyan Kliuchkovskyi, executive director at the register, which is linked to the Council of Europe rights body.

The register will gather "claims related to loss of life and injury, related to forced displacement or deportation, related to injury, related to torture and other kinds of physical suffering, including conflict sexual violence," Kliuchkovskyi told journalists at the Council of Europe headquarters in Strasbourg.

Other categories would include "claims related to loss of income, revenue or property, claims related to loss of business (and) claims related to damage to the environment," he added.

The Council of Europe, which comprises 46 member states, was set up to monitor and uphold human rights in Europe in the wake of World War II.

Members kicked out Russia following its February 2022 invasion of Ukraine.

Natalie Zaichenko, 60, tends to the grave of her son, a Ukrainian soldier who was killed in the war against Russia, in Kyiv, Ukraine.
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Last year's May summit in Reykjavik agreed to create the Register of Damage Caused by the Aggression of the Russian Federation Against Ukraine to record the harm inflicted since the start of the war.

It will ultimately work out a financial total with a view towards extracting reparations from Moscow.

Kliuchkovskyi, a Ukrainian legal expert, said he had no estimate of how much the country might ultimately claim from Russia.

He added that between four and six million Ukrainians had fled abroad and two million were displaced within their home country.

From late April, Ukrainians will be able to register their claims online using an existing government app called Diia.

"The idea is to make it as simple and as easy as logging in from a phone," Kliuchkovskyi said.

Claimants could add evidence such as "photographs of what happens, or statements or certificates or whatever they may feel is important," he added.

While Diia suffers "almost daily" cyberattacks, Kliuchkovskyi said all claims data would be stored outside Ukraine.

Compiling the information was only a first step, with international discussions still going on about how to finance compensation, he added.

"Under international law, Russia is an aggressive state (and) already has a duty to make reparation for its violations," Kliuchkovskyi said.

"In a civilised scenario, Russia would comply and pay... we do not expect that for the moment," he added.

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