Ukraine hires U.S. law firm Covington to press Russia claim at U.N. court

Ukraine has hired U.S. law firm Covington & Burling to pursue its claim against Russia at the International Court of Justice at the Hague over the ongoing Russian invasion, a firm spokesperson said Tuesday.

Ukraine said in a court filing on Sunday that Russia had “falsely claimed that acts of genocide” occurred in parts of Ukraine as a pretext for its invasion.

It asked the ICJ, the United Nation’s highest court, to order Russia to halt its military operations in Ukraine.

“I can confirm that Covington has filed a claim at the International Court of Justice on behalf of our client Ukraine,” a firm spokesperson wrote in an email on Tuesday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin had repeatedly asserted that Ukraine committed “genocide” in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine, without presenting evidence, and said the invasion, called a “special operation” by Russian officials, was therefore justified to end it.

Covington, a prominent Washington, D.C.-based firm that includes former U.S. attorney general Eric Holder on its staff, has represented Ukraine in several other matters, including a past case before the ICJ.

The court in 2019 found that it had jurisdiction to hear Ukraine’s claims of Russian violations of international law related to racial discrimination and the financing of terrorism in Crimea. That case is pending.