Russia has asked the International Court of Justice to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Ukraine.
Kyiv is saying that Moscow is wrongly using a law about genocide as an excuse for their invasion.
Russia says it got involved in Ukraine to stop a mass killing of Russians in the eastern part of the country.
The court hearing in The Hague won’t decide if Russia’s invasion was legal. Instead, it will decide if the International Court can look into Ukraine’s complaints.
Ukraine claims that there was no chance of mass murder happening in the eastern part of the country, where they have been battling against Russian-supported groups since 2014.
This means that the treaty against genocide does not allow for any kind of invasion to stop a claimed genocide, no matter what.
Russia believes that Ukraine’s case is very flawed and claims that Ukraine actually wants a decision on whether Russia’s military actions were right or wrong.
Ukraine filed the case a few days after Russia invaded on February 24th last year.
In the middle of March, the highest court of the United Nations called on Russia to stop their military actions in Ukraine. However, Russia refused to follow this request, saying that the court did not have the power to make that decision and that Ukraine’s request was not valid.
In court on Monday, Russia’s lawyer, Gennady Kuzmin, said that because Ukraine claimed there was no genocide, there could not have been a violation of the United Nations Genocide Convention.
“He said that just that fact should be sufficient to dismiss the case. ”
In the next few days, the court will listen to the opinions of 32 other countries. They all agree with Ukraine that the court has the authority to deal with the case.
The meetings will probably continue until September 27th.
The 1948 UN Genocide Convention said that genocide is when someone intentionally tries to destroy a whole or part of a group of people because they are from a certain country, ethnicity, race, or religion.
Russian officials keep blaming Ukraine for committing genocide.
In 2017, Ukraine accused Russia of taking Crimea without permission and secretly supporting rebels who want to separate from Ukraine.
That action is still happening. It is based on United Nations conventions against terrorism and discrimination.