The International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Wednesday refrained from ordering emergency measures to halt Russia's alleged transfer of money and arms to eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russia forces are fighting a war against Kiev.
The ICJ, however, ruled that Russia must protect the rights of ethnic Ukrainians and Tatars in Crimea, a peninsula on the Black Sea that rejoined the Russian Federation in 2014 against the will of the pro-Western government in Kiev.
The court said both Russia and Ukraine had to work to implement agreements reached in Minsk, Belarus, in early 2015, which were designed to bring peace to conflict-ravaged eastern Ukraine.
The ruling came a month after Ukraine accused Russia during an ICJ hearing of providing funds and weapons to separatist forces while it claimed that Russia was discriminating against Tatars and others in Crimea. Russia’s defense team in the court rejected the allegations.
A final ruling on the case is not expected soon as the proceedings at the UN court could take several years. However, the court said the preliminary decision came to preserve Ukraine’s rights.
The conflict in Ukraine erupted in 2014, when a series of demonstrations in Kiev led to the ouster of the Russia-backed government. That sparked fighting in the industrial east, where ethnic Russian population declared self-styled republics.
Kiev has accused Russia of having a major role in the conflict, which has claimed more than 10,000 lives. Russia denies the allegation but says it will intervene if Kiev intensifies suppressing ethnic Russians.