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KIEV, April 7 Ukraine's ecology and natural
resources minister estimated on Monday that Kiev had lost
natural resources and related assets worth 127 billion hryvnias
($10.8 bln) when Russia annexed the Crimea region.
Ukraine has said it will file compensation claims with
international courts over the annexation of Crimea, which
Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk said could ultimately
cost Kiev "hundreds of billions of dollars".
Andriy Mokhnyk's spokesman said the minister had told a news
conference Ukraine intended to go to court to recover the money
Ukraine would lose through its natural resources assets, which
included businesses, 198 fields and 380 prospective ones.
"Ministry staff have assessed the market value of the
resource base for Crimea. According to preliminary estimates, it
was 127 billion hryvnias," he told a news conference.
The region is home to offshore drilling firm
Chernomorneftegaz (Chornomornaftohaz) and Russia has put
Crimea's oil reserves at 47 million tonnes and gas at 165.3
billion cubic metres, RIA news agency said.
Russia took over Crimea, home to Russia's Black Sea Fleet,
shortly after Ukrainian protesters toppled pro-Moscow President
Viktor Yanukovich in February.
Moscow said it was protecting its compatriots there from
nationalists from western Ukraine, but the country's new leaders
accuse Russia of waging a political campaign against them, using
trade and the economy as weapons.
(reporting by Natalia Zinets, writing by Elizabeth Piper,
editing by Timothy Heritage)