KIEV, Nov 27 (Reuters) - Ukraine’s Oschadbank has been awarded $1.3 billion by an international arbitration court in respect of the bank’s claims against Russia to compensate for loss of business and assets in Crimea following Moscow’s annexation of the peninsula in 2014.
“The amount of compensation will be $1.3 billion plus interest,” Oschadbank said in a statement, adding it would seek to enforce the ruling immediately in jurisdictions around the world.
But Russian news agency Interfax cited a statement from Russia’s justice ministry on Tuesday saying it did not recognise the ruling and did not believe the court had jurisdiction.
Asked about the decision on Tuesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he was unable to comment because he did not have any information about it.
Russia and Ukraine - a former Soviet state - have been embroiled in a military conflict for several years. Entities from both countries are caught up in a series of lengthy court cases in several countries.
Tensions between the two countries have escalated this week following Russia’s seizure of Ukrainian naval ships off the coast of Crimea.
Oschadbank, Ukraine’s second largest lender by assets, is the first state-owned company and the first bank to win such a case against Russia over losses suffered due to the annexation of Crimea.
Law firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, which represented Oschadbank in the case, said in an emailed statement the decision to award the sum had been taken unanimously by three members of the Permanent Court of Arbitration.
“Oschadbank has been fully vindicated in its claims, and the bank will be pursuing payment under the award vigorously,” said Alex Gerbi at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, adding the decision also stipulated that Russia would also be required to pay costs.
Separately on Tuesday, Russian state lender VTB said it might be forced to leave the Ukrainian market after a court in Kiev ordered a freeze on its assets to implement a ruling against Russia at an international arbitration court in The Hague in September. (Reporting by Natalia Zinets in Kiev, additional reporting by Tom Balmforth in Moscow and Karin Strohecker in London. Editing by Jane Merriman)