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In UN Lawsuit, Ukraine Demands Russia End Support for Separatists

FILE - A pro-Russia rebel stands guard during preparations for a prisoner exchange in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, Oct. 29, 2015.

Ukraine filed a lawsuit at the United Nations' highest court demanding that Russia immediately halt its support for pro-Moscow separatists fighting in eastern Ukraine.

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry accused Russia of "acts of terrorism and discrimination in the course of its unlawful aggression" in the filing to the International Court of Justice, according to a ministry statement issued on Monday evening.

Russia has repeatedly denied sending troops or military equipment to eastern Ukraine.

The filing itself has no direct consequences, though a finding by the court in Ukraine's favor could be enforceable in some national courts, theoretically triggering legal steps to freeze or seize Russian assets.

The Hague-based court had no immediate comment.

Kyiv is also challenging Moscow's actions on its territory at the International Criminal Court and the European Court of Human Rights, while Ukrainian energy firms Ukrnafta and Stabil have asked the U.N.'s Permanent Court of Arbitration to compensate them for investments lost when Russia seized the Crimean peninsula.

Russia annexed Crimea in March 2014, and fighting broke out in eastern Ukraine the following month between pro-Russian rebels and Ukrainian government forces, a conflict in which close to 10,000 people have been killed.

In Monday's filing, Ukraine accused Russia of violating the Terrorism Financing Convention "by supplying weapons and other forms of assistance to illegal armed groups operating on Ukrainian territory".

Among the separatists' alleged crimes, the filing cited the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 in 2014, the bombardment of residential areas in Mariupol and Kramatorsk, and the destruction of a civilian passenger bus near Volnovakha.