THE HAGUE, Feb 28 — Kyiv filed an application with the International Court of Justice accusing Russia of “planning acts of genocide in Ukraine”, the Hague-based court said Sunday.

In the application filed on Saturday, Kyiv also accused Russia of “intentionally killing and inflicting serious injury on members of the Ukrainian nationality”, the ICJ said in a statement.

There has been no independent corroboration of the claims.

The court procedure comes after Russian President Vladimir Putin justified the invasion by saying Ukraine was committing genocide against the country’s Russian-speaking population.

He used this unfounded claim as a pretext to recognise the independence of the breakaway eastern republics of Donetsk and Lugansk and launch a full-scale invasion of his neighbour on Thursday.

The Russian leader has also repeatedly said neo-Nazis and fascists make up Kyiv’s leadership.

The ICJ statement said Ukraine “emphatically denies” committing genocide against its Russian-speaking population and that Russia was acting with “no lawful basis”.

Kyiv requested the court to indicate provisional measures “to prevent irreparable prejudice to the rights of Ukraine and its people and to avoid aggravating or extending the dispute between the parties under the Genocide Convention”.

The ICJ is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations. Founded after World War II, it rules in disputes between countries, mainly based on treaties. Its decisions are final and cannot be appealed. — AFP