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Austrian court rejects Ukraine’s claims to Russia’s property in Vienna

June 05, 2015, 17:32 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Ukrainian Deputy Justice Minister Natalia Sevostyanova said in early June Kiev might demand the seizure of Russia’s property abroad as compensation for the loss of Crimea
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© AP Photo/Brennan Linsley

MOSCOW, June 5. /TASS/. The Kremlin Property Management Department has received an Austrian court’s ruling rejecting Ukraine’s claims to Russian property in Vienna, Department spokesman Viktor Khrekov said on Friday.

"Late in May this year, the Austrian judicial system sent Russia a package of documents confirming the legitimacy of the system’s actions and recognized the Russian Federation as the indisputable owner of the property," the spokesman said, adding Moscow "received the documents."

The Russian Federation is "the sole legal successor to the former USSR for assets and debts, including all properties of the former Soviet Union located outside Russia," the spokesman for the Kremlin Property Management Department said.

"In particular, judicial proceedings had been going on for years in Austria due to the attempts by the Ukrainian Danube Shipping private company to take possession of the property belonging to the Russian Federation," the spokesman said.

However, "back in 2008, the Austrian authorities recognized Russia identical to the USSR, which allowed the Russian Federation to legitimately register its ownership right to a compound of buildings and sites of the former Danube Shipping Line located in Vienna," he added.

The Ukrainian side has fully exhausted its entire set of legal instruments for claiming Russian property in Austria, the spokesman said.

From the date the Austrian higher judicial instance passed its judgment, Russia assumed full-fledged ownership rights to the property, he said.

After the break-up of the Soviet Union, Russia signed agreements with former Soviet republics on the repayment of their foreign debts in exchange for their property abroad.

However, some ex-Soviet republics, for example, Ukraine, adopted the so-called blocking note and are trying to prevent property re-registration and are claiming some assets, Khrekov said, adding that Russia had repaid Soviet Ukraine’s foreign debts in full.

Negotiations on settling this issue have been going on for many years but have yielded no results so far, the Kremlin Property Management Department spokesman said, adding there was not a single property in Ukraine that belonged to Russia.

Ukrainian Deputy Justice Minister Natalia Sevostyanova said in early June Kiev might demand the seizure of Russia’s property abroad as compensation for the loss of Crimea.

Commenting on this statement, the Kremlin Property Management Department spokesman told TASS on June 2 that "similar attempts were also made by Ukraine before." The spokesman said Russia would use all legal mechanisms to protect its overseas property and will take all measures exclusively within the legal framework."

This position was also confirmed by Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov. "It is rather a legal issue. Naturally, in what concerns legal backing, legal protection of Russian property, Moscow will take all necessary steps within the framework of international law," the Russian president’s press secretary said.

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