ARMED CONFLICT IN THE SOUTH-EAST OF UKRAINE: LEGAL QUALIFI-CATIONS AND CONSEQUENCES

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Abstract


Unconstitutional change of power in Ukraine as a result of the "Maidan revolution" in February 2014, with the subsequent power grab by Ukrainian radicals of local authorities under nationalist slogans, led to the establishment of control over parts of the territory of Donetsk and Lugansk regions by Donbass militias, and then to the ongoing fighting between the armed formations of the latter with units of the regular armed forces of Ukraine. The purpose of this publication is to establish the form of the armed conflict and its legal consequences from the standpoint of current international law, which has not yet found proper legal analysis and coverage in either domestic or foreign (including Ukrainian) legal doctrinе. In official statements and legislative acts of Ukraine, this conflict is declared as a "state of war with Russia", "aggression of Russia", and the Ukrainian doctrine of international law almost unanimously declares the need to apply to the conflict the norms of international humanitarian law and qualifies it as an international armed conflict. In this publication, on the basis of the analysis of existing international legal norms and legal doctrine, the qualification of existing forms of armed conflicts is carried out: war, international armed conflict, non-international armed conflict, internationalized armed conflict. This examines the legal consequences (or otherwise the obligations of the parties to the conflict) that are caused by each form of such armed conflict, that is concealed and ignored by the Ukrainian side. On the basis of the theoretical and legal analysis of the UN Charter, the relevant provisions of the Geneva conventions on the protection of victims of war of 1949 and Additional protocols I and II of 1977, the author qualifies the situation in the South-East of Ukraine as a non-international armed conflict and the obligation to comply with applicable legal norms by all parties to the conflict. At the same time, the author comes to the conclusion about the insolvency of the claims about the applicability of the rules governing other mentioned forms of armed conflicts.


About the authors

Petr P. Kremnev

Lomonosov Moscow State University

Author for correspondence.
Email: intermsu@rambler.ru
13, b.1, Leninskie gory, 119991, Moscow, Russia

Doctor of Legal Sciences, Professor of the Department of International Law, Faculty of Law

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