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Yukos Payout Ruling 'Another Way of Sanctioning Russia' – Lawmaker

RIA Novosti

21:18 28/07/2014

MOSCOW, July 28 (RIA Novosti) – The Hague arbitration court's decision ordering Russia to pay $50 billion worth of damages to former shareholders of defunct oil producer Yukos is just another way of sanctioning Moscow over its handling of the Ukrainian crisis, a senior Russian lawmaker said Monday.

"The ruling on a certain plea ordering the Russian Federation to pay $50 billion distorts the legal approach and is effectively another way of sanctioning Russia, something that many initiators have been recently coming up with," Vladimir Pligin, chairman of the Russian parliament's constitution and state affairs committee, told journalists.

Pligin said that court rulings are supposed to be fair and objective, and stressed that it was Russia that bore the brunt of providing humanitarian aid to Ukrainians affected by the months' long conflict in the country.

"Every day our hearts ache as we are forced to witness the demise of citizens in the neighboring country. The death of every person echoes with pain [in us] and is the result of an irresponsible policy. It is Russia that has been bending every effort to deal with the drama and tragedy of refugees and fighters on both sides," the lawmaker stated.

Pligin said he deplored that fact that this human tragedy was overseen by certain governments – including ones in Europe – that were previously known for abhorring nationalist sentiment.

"Under these circumstances, decisions targeting our country cannot be tolerated," he emphasized.

This statement came after the international court in The Hague ruled on Monday to award billions of dollars to former shareholders of Yukos, an oil making company previously controlled by Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

In 2003, Russia's authorities accused Yukos leadership of economic crimes, including fraud and tax evasion. Yukos was later declared bankrupt and state-controlled oil company Rosneft bought the bulk of its assets.

Yukos' managers contended that the Russian government illegally forced the oil firm out of business and bankrupted it, which allowed Rosneft to snap up its assets and become Russia's largest oil producer.

Yukos founder Mikhail Khodorkovsky had spent a decade in prison for fraud and tax evasion until he was pardoned in December 2013.

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