Ukraine

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

The rush to judgment can be deceptive. A recent contribution to these pages cautions us against making instant assumptions of fact and law when considering Russia’s recognition as states of parts of Luhansk and Donetsk Oblasts within Ukraine as manifestly unlawful. Two questions arise: Do the Oblasts meet the criteria of statehood and, if so, was this status achieved through a sufficiently serious violation of international law to warrant the application of the obligation of non-recognition? As the Badinter Commission noted, in the first place ‘the existence or disappearance of the state is a question of fact.’ (Badinter Opinion No. 1, 20 November 1991, para 1 (a), 31 ILM 1488, 1494). The two Oblasts declared independence in 2014, in the context (and most would say, in consequence of) the Russian armed intervention of that year. Their purported statehood did not attract any significant international acceptance, including up to this point even by the Russian Federation.

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Ukranian ‘IT Army’: A Cyber Levée en Masse or Civilians Directly Participating in Hostilities?

In the days following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Digital Transformation Mykhaylo Fedorov announced in a tweet the creation of an ‘IT Army’. According to reports, as many as 400, 000 people from across the world have joined. A list of targets has been published and…

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Mercenary or Combatant? Ukraine’s International Legion of Territorial Defense under International Humanitarian Law

On the fourth day after Russia’s February 24 armed attack and invasion of Ukraine, President Zelensky made a call for foreigners wishing to defend Ukraine to join the International Legion of Territorial Defense (ILTG), inviting individuals to contact foreign diplomatic missions of Ukraine in their respective countries (you could sign up here). Hundreds of American,…

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The Legal Death of Free Speech in Russia

‘[W]hat made me particularly happy was to see that the Committee’s decision [to award him the Nobel Peace Prize] stressed the link between defense of peace and defense of human rights, emphasising that the defense of human rights guarantees a solid ground for genuine long-term international cooperation. … Granting the award to a person who defends political…

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Treatment of Persons Hors de Combat in the Russo-Ukrainian War

Russian military forces have intensified attacks on several fronts in Ukraine since 24 February 2022. Regardless of the Russian government’s justifications in using force against Ukraine, there is an international armed conflict ongoing between Ukraine and Russia, which requires both parties to respect international humanitarian law (IHL). On 2 March 2022, the Ukrainian Special Operations Forces…

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