War damage claims system launched in Ukraine

Ukrainians can file claims for property damage as a result of the Russian invasion through a new mechanism launched today, with officials expecting a total of 10 million claims, AFP reports.

The damage register for Ukraine was officially opened in The Hague during a conference attended by senior ministers and officials from Ukraine, the Netherlands and European institutions.

The initial launch targets claims for damage or destruction of residential properties as a result of the invasion. Between 300 000 and 600 000 claims are expected in this category.

"This is the first material step that is being taken," Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told reporters on the sidelines of the conference.

"It is extremely important that we met here today, not only to discuss how we will hold Russia accountable, but also to launch a very concrete procedure that every injured Ukrainian can benefit from," he added.

Later, victims will be able to file complaints in other categories, such as "death of a close relative, injuries, torture or sexual violence, forced displacement," according to the registry.

In addition, companies and the Ukrainian state will be able to file claims for compensation for critical infrastructure and business losses caused by the war.

"The registry expects 6-8 million claims to be filed, and perhaps as many as 10 million. That would be the most of any such compensation mechanism," officials said.

Claims can be filed through the popular Ukrainian digital system Diia.

The launch was made at the "Restoring Justice for Ukraine" conference in The Hague, which aims to help Kiev prosecute Russia for any crimes committed during the invasion.

"Today, Russian officials and leadership may feel safe, but every day on the battlefield, in the international arena, we are making efforts to deprive them of that sense of security," Kuleba said.

"We don't want them to feel secure, and confronting the prospect of justice is also one of the deterrence tools against them. If they know that securing justice is not just talking the talk for us and our partners, but walking the walk, it will influence the decisions they make," he concluded. / BGNES