Ukraine

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Was Russia’s Recognition of the Separatist Republics in Ukraine ‘Manifestly’ Unlawful?

In this post I will not be addressing the legality of Russia’s use of force against Ukraine, but that of its recognition of the separatist republics in Ukraine as independent States. This recognition has been described by numerous other States as not only unlawful, but as a manifest or flagrant breach of international law. For example, the words ‘manifest’, ‘blatant’ or ‘flagrant’ appear in statements from officials coming from the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Georgia, Romania, Bulgaria and the EU’s Josep Borell, to name a few: the authors thus condemn (largely using similar wording) not just any violation by Russia, but one which is prima facie unlawful. It is this idea of Russia’s recognition being so obviously unlawful that I wish to challenge, at least to some extent. There are several ways in which we could interpret the notion of a ‘manifest violation of international law’. It could refer to the violation’s severity, which implies a violation of…

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After Hegemony: The Law on the Use of Force and the Ukraine Crisis

Most questions on the law on the use of force surrounding the Russian invasion in Ukraine are straightforward. There is simply no plausible legal justification for the invasion, and Putin’s attempt at creating one through recognizing the ‘people’s republics’ of Donetsk and Luhansk and then claiming collective self-defence and the need to protect them from Ukrainian ‘genocide’ is…

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Will a state supplying weapons to Ukraine become a party to the conflict and thus be exposed to countermeasures?

According to the time-honoured law of neutrality, the territory of neutral powers is “inviolable” (Art. 1 Hague “Convention (V) respecting the Rights and Duties of Neutral Powers and Persons in Case of War on Land, October 18, 1907). Parties to a conflict may therefore not use it in any conflict-related manner, e.g. to transport war material (…

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Could Russia be Suspended from the United Nations?

The General Assembly is currently meeting in Emergency Special Session on Ukraine, and will likely pass a resolution condemning Russia’s aggression, demanding the withdrawal of troops, and urging a peaceful resolution to the crisis. Such a resolution will be an important step, but also begs the question: if these appeals for peace are not heeded, what could be…

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Belarus is Complicit in Russia’s War of Aggression

In the early hours of the 24th of February, Russia launched a large-scale attack against Ukraine. By the following day, Russian forces were closing in on Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital. A large part of these forces penetrated the Ukrainian territory not through the separatist regions in the east or Crimea in the south, but through the north, coming…

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