2014 02/03

Reasons for Russia’s Black Sea Fleet being in Ukraine are secured by several agreements. Places of basement are defined in Art. 2 and 3 of the agreement between Ukraine and the Russian Federation on the parameters of BSF division and also in more detailed form – in applications N2 and 3 to this agreement.

To determine the order of movement of BSF vehicles outside the points and holding maneuvers, the defining articles are articles 6, 8, 12 of agreement on status and conditions of the Black Sea Fleet in Ukraine. These articles provide the need for coordination with the Ukrainian side such actions of BSF troops. However, the order of coordination is still not properly settled which already led to conflict situations several times.

Which points of agreements and international law are violated by Russia’s actions in the Crimea? Here is the opinion of international affairs’ lawyer Mikalay Hnatousky:

1. Information about events in the Crimea show apparent Russia’s violations of basic principles of international law enshrined in the UN Charter, which have imperative character and form the basis of international law and order. Moscow’s explanations show its conscious effort to lead the world astray.

Discussions on “Crimean authorities” who allegedly invited Russian troops, are unjustified, not only because these “authorities” are the self-proclaimed and illegitimate, but primarily because of the Crimea not being the subject of international law, the peninsula in international relations can only be represent by the Ukraine. Any, even the most legitimate local government, elected in the Crimea can not have authority to act independently in the international arena and invite foreign army. Therefore, the military occupation of the Crimea, which has been unfolding over the past few days, was fully consistent with the definition of aggression, enshrined in resolution 3314 (XXIX) of 14 December 1974.

2. The principle of international law is violated which prohibited the threat of force against the territorial integrity and political independence of another state (Article 2 paragraph 4 of the UN Charter, confirmed by the declaration on Principles of International Law of 1970 and Helsinki Act NBSE of 1975). Also a number of related principles were violated, in particular the principle of non-interference in internal affairs, the principle of territorial integrity and the inviolability of frontiers.

Certainly a number of bilateral international agreements between Ukraine and Russia were violated, as generally (of friendship and cooperation), and specificly, including the agreement on Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation in Ukraine. These violations are systemic in nature and are related to the most important provisions of these agreements.

3. Legally Russia’s actions in the Crimea give Ukraine grounds for the implementation of the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense, enshrined in Article 51 of the UN Charter. Urgent consultations with countries which can potentially be alongside Ukraine, displaying external aggression are needed. However, the right to self-defense does not mean that it is subject to its immediate implementation without taking into account real prospects and potentially military – tragic consequences (primarily – humanitarian ones) of an armed conflict. In this aspect, the assessment of the situation – it is not business of only lawyers, but military men and politicians. Therefore all opportunities for the resumption of dialogue should be used without exception.

Ukraine should certainly continue to work actively in the United Nations, seeking a resolution of the Security Council with clear requirements to stop Russian aggression and return its army to their permanent deployment. Permanent status of Security Council member provides Russia with significant opportunities to block the work of this body, but the legal and diplomatic resources within the UN should still be used by Ukraine fully and permanently. In addition, all other possibilities should be used in a full manner, particularly in the framework of European regional organizations, cooperation with NATO and so on.

International law allows the injured state, such as Ukraine, to take countermeasures in order to compel the offender to comply with its international obligations. Ukraine has a chance, if it is rational, to stop performing any of its obligations under bilateral agreements with Russia, and some of them (eg, concerned the Black Sea Fleet in Ukraine) – stop performing referring to p.1 of article 60 of the Vienna Convention on law of treaties of 1969.

Arsenal legal options are great because against Ukraine the basic and universally recognized principles and norms of international law were violated. However, before applying these permitted under international law responses it is necessary to approach it carefully in any case and consider all the possible consequences.

Let’s remind that on March 1, 2014 the Federation Council approved the Russia’s army entering the territory of Ukraine. Earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin applied to the Federation Council for the appropriate sanction, explaining it by the “extraordinary situation” in Ukraine, the threat of life of citizens of Russia and the personnel of the Russian Armed Forces in Ukraine. The Ukrainian authorities considered such action aggression and military intervention. Army of Ukraine is at full combat readiness, and the Russian side is warned about possible tragic consequences for both sides in the case of an invasion of Russian troops in Ukraine.

Countries – NATO members expressed the need for an emergency meeting about the actions of Russia against Ukraine. NATO urged Moscow to abandon attacks on Ukraine. The Defense ministers of the EU and the U.S. held emergency talks. U.S. President Barack Obama for a half an hour was convincing the Russian leader Vladimir Putin to renounce his plans, threatening with international isolation.

Quoting news.liga.net
Prepared by Ales LETA
Belarusian Legal Portal
Photo: EPA

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *