Claims will initially relate to damage to property
Claims will initially relate to damage to property AFP

Ukrainians can enter claims for damages to their property as a result of Russia's invasion via a new mechanism launched on Tuesday, with officials expecting as many as 10 million requests overall.

The Register of Damages for Ukraine opened formally in The Hague during a conference bringing together senior ministers and officials from Ukraine, The Netherlands and European institutions.

The initial launch focuses on claims of damage or destruction to residential property from the invasion. Between 300,000 and 600,000 claims are expected in this category.

"This is the first material step that is being made," Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told reporters on the sidelines of the conference.

"It's extremely important that we met here today, not just to discuss how we will be bringing Russia to account but also launching a very specific procedure that every Ukrainian who has suffered can benefit from," he added.

Victims will later be able to file complaints in other categories such as "the death of a close relative, injuries, torture or sexual violence, involuntary displacement", according to the register.

In addition, companies and the Ukrainian state will be able to submit claims for reparations for critical infrastructure and business losses due to the war.

"The register expects as many as six to eight million claims, possibly up to 10 million. This would be by far the most of any comparable reparation mechanism," officials estimate.

Claims can be made via popular Ukrainian digital system Diia.

The launch took place at the "Restoring Justice for Ukraine" conference in The Hague, which aims to help Kyiv prosecute Russia for any crimes committed during the invasion.

"Today, Russian officials and leadership may feel secure but every day on the battlefield, in the international arena, we make an effort to strip them of this feeling of security," said Kuleba.

"We don't want them to feel safe, and facing the prospect of justice is also one of the deterrence instruments towards them," added the minister.

"If they know that delivering justice is not just talking the talk for us and our partners but also walking the walk, it will have an impact on the decisions they make."