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Russia snubs UN court hearings in case brought by Ukraine over invasion

A woman with a child arrives at the border crossing after fleeing from the Ukraine in Medyka, Poland, March 7, 2022 (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
A woman with a child arrives at the border crossing after fleeing from the Ukraine in Medyka, Poland, March 7, 2022 (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — Russia snubs a hearing at the United Nations’ top court into a legal bid by Kyiv to halt Moscow’s devastating invasion of Ukraine.

A row of seats reserved for Russian lawyers at the International Court of Justice are empty as the hearing opens.

The court’s president, American judge Joan E. Donoghue, says Russia’s ambassador to the Netherlands informed judges that “his government did not intend to participate in the oral proceedings.” The hearing goes ahead without the Russian delegation.

The International Court of Justice is opening two days of hearings at its headquarters, the Peace Palace, into Ukraine’s request for its judges to order Russia to halt its invasion. Ukraine is scheduled to present its arguments Monday morning and Russia has the opportunity to respond on Tuesday.

Ukraine has asked the court to order Russia to “immediately suspend the military operations” launched Feb. 24 “that have as their stated purpose and objective the prevention and punishment of a claimed genocide” in the separatist eastern regions of Luhansk and Donetsk.

A decision is expected on the request within days, though that does not mean Russia would abide by any order the court might issue.

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