On 24 February 2022, Russia began "a military invasion" (Western point of view) or "a special military operation" (Russian point of view) of Ukraine, in a major escalation of the Russo-Ukrainian conflict that began in 2014. Much has already been written about the annexation of Crimea and the ongoing war between pro-Russian separatist forces and Ukraine in the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts in the east of Ukraine. It will be some time before international law books and articles about this new phase of the conflict appear. This Research Guide will provide sources and publications from 2014 onwards available in the Library. We will add the newest materials as soon as they are published.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine was widely condemned internationally. The United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution which condemned it and demanded a full withdrawal. The International Court of Justice ordered Russia to suspend military operations, and the Council of Europe expelled Russia. Many countries imposed new sanctions, which have led to economic consequences for Russia and the world economy. Various countries gave humanitarian and military aid to Ukraine. Protests occurred around the world; those in Russia have been met with mass arrests and increased media censorship, including banning the terms "war" and "invasion". Some companies withdrew their products and services from sale in Russia and Belarus.
The invasion of Ukraine was appraised by many international jurists as a violation of the UN Charter and constituted a crime of aggression according to international criminal law, raising the possibility that the crime of aggression could be prosecuted under universal jurisdiction. The invasion also violated the Rome Statute, which prohibits "the invasion or attack by the armed forces of a State of the territory of another State, or any military occupation, however temporary, resulting from such invasion or attack, or any annexation by the use of force of the territory of another State or part thereof". Ukraine had not ratified the Rome Statute and Russia withdrew its signature from it in 2016.
Lyubashenko, I., Ukraine's Search for Justice in the Shadow of the Donbas Conflict: Strategic Reforms or Crisis Management?, 2020
Rytövuori-Apunen, H., Power and Conflict in Russia's Borderlands: the Post-Soviet Geopolitics of Dispute Resolution, 2020
Wylegała/Głowacka-Grajper, The Burden of the Past: History, Memory and Identity in Contemporary Ukraine, 2020
Sources of international law
- [International Court of Justice] Allegations of Genocide under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Ukraine v. Russian Federation)
This Application concerns a dispute between Ukraine and the Russian Federation relating to the interpretation, application and fulfilment of the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (the “Genocide Convention”). As Ukraine further explains, the Russian Federation has falsely claimed that acts of genocide have occurred in the Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts of Ukraine, and on that basis recognized the so-called “Donetsk People’s Republic” and “Luhansk People’s Republic,” and then declared and implemented a “special military operation” against Ukraine with the express purpose of preventing and punishing purported acts of genocide that have no basis in fact. On the basis of this allegation, Russia is now engaged in a military invasion of Ukraine involving grave and widespread violations of the human rights of the Ukrainian people. Ukraine emphatically denies that any such genocide has occurred and brings this Application to establish that Russia has no lawful basis to take action in and against Ukraine for the purpose of preventing and punishing any purported genocide.
- [International Court of Justice] Application of the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism and of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (Ukraine v. Russian Federation)
On January 16th, 2017, Ukraine filed a claim with the International Court of Justice requesting the court to initiate proceedings against Russia. Ukraine is accusing Russia of violating the Convention on the suppression of financing terrorism, and the International convention on elimination on all forms of racial discrimination. Ukraine wants not just for the court to order Russia to stop financing terrorists or to stop violating the rights of Crimean Tatars, but also the highest judicial authority within the UN system to recognize that Russia is financing the terrorist in eastern Ukraine, and indeed is violating Human rights of the Crimean Tatars in Crimea.
ICJ documents; PPL keyword: Application of the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism and of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (Ukraine v. Russian Federation)
- [International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea] Case concerning the detention of three Ukrainian naval vessels (Ukraine v. Russian Federation), Provisional Measures
By its Notification and Statement of Claim dated 31 March 2019, Ukraine instituted arbitral proceedings under Annex VII to the Convention against the Russian Federation in a dispute concerning “the immunity of three Ukrainian naval vessels and the twenty-four servicemen on board”. Pending the constitution of the arbitral tribunal and after the expiry of the two-week time limit provided for by article 290, paragraph 5, of the Convention, Ukraine, on 16 April 2019, submitted to the Tribunal a request for the prescription of provisional measures in respect of the dispute. The case was entered in the Tribunal’s list of cases as Case No. 26. By note verbale dated 30 April 2019, the Russian Federation informed the Tribunal “of its decision not to participate in the hearing on provisional measures in the case instituted by Ukraine”. By an Order dated 2 May 2019, the President fixed 10 May 2019 as the date for the hearing. By note verbale dated 7 May 2019, the Russian Federation transmitted a memorandum regarding its position on the circumstances of the case. Prior to the opening of the hearing, the Tribunal held initial deliberations on 9 May 2019. Oral statements were presented at a public sitting held on 10 May 2019. In accordance with article 75, paragraph 2, of the Rules, the Agent of Ukraine presented the final submissions at the hearing on 10 May 2019. The Tribunal delivered its Order on 25 May 2019. Ukraine submitted its initial report on Compliance with the Provisional Measures Prescribed on 25 June 2019 and a supplementary report on 26 June 2019. The Russian Federation submitted a report on 25 June 2019. Subsequently, Ukraine submitted communications concerning the case on 13 August 2019, 18 September 2019 and 29 November 2019, whereas the Russian Federation submitted notes verbales concerning the case dated 16 September 2019 and 22 November 2019.
UN Declarations and Resolutions
→ Official Document System Search. ODS is the UN's Official Document System. You can search for UN declarations, resolutions and other documents by keywords, then narrow your search.
- Gornig, C., Der Ukraine-Konflikt aus völkerrechtlicher Sicht, Berlin, Duncker & Humblot, 2020.
- Grant, T.D., Aggression against Ukraine: Territory, Responsibility and International Law, New York, Palgrave Macmillan, 2015.
Selected books and articles
- Anderson/Ellis (eds), Resurgent Russia: An Operational Approach to Deterrence: a U.S. Army War College Integrated Research Project in Support of: U.S. European Command and U.S. Army Europe, New York, Skyhorse Publishing, 2017.
- Åslund, A., Ukraine: What Went Wrong and How to Fix It, Washington, Peterson Institute for International Economics, 2015.
- Bertelsen, O., Revolution and War in Contemporary Ukraine: The Challenge of Change, Stuttgart, ibidem-Verlag, 2016.
- Bossuyt, F. and P. Van Elsuwege (eds), Principled Pragmatism in Practice: the EU's Policy towards Russia after Crimea, Leiden; Boston, Brill Nijhoff, 2021.
- Coyle, J.J., Russia's Border Wars and Frozen Conflicts, Cham, Palgrave Macmillan, 2018.
- D'Anieri, P., Ukraine and Russia: From Civilized Divorce to Uncivil War, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2019.
- Fawn, R., Managing Security Threats along the EU's Eastern Flanks, Cham, Palgrave Macmillan, 2020.
- Grigas, A., Beyond Crimea: The New Russian Empire, New Haven; London, Yale University Press, 2016.
- Hahn, G.M., Ukraine over the Edge: Russia, the West and the "New Cold War", Jefferson, McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, 2018.
- Hunter, R., "The Ukraine Crisis: Why and What Now?" Survival, Vol. 64 (2022), No 1, pp. 7-28.
- Kammel, A.H. and B. Zyla (eds), Peacebuilding at Home: NATO and its 'New' Member States after Crimea, Baden-Baden, Nomos, 2018.
- Kanet, R.E., The Russian Challenge to the European Security Environment, Cham, Palgrave Macmillan, 2017.
- Kent, N., Crimea: A History, London, Hurst & Company, 2016.
- Lendman, S., Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks World War III, Atlanta, Clarity Press, Inc., 2014.
- Lier, K., Die Grenzen des Selbstbestimmungsrechts der Völker am Beispiel der Ukraine-Krise, Hamburg, Verlag Dr Kovac, 2021.
- Lyubashenko, I., Ukraine's Search for Justice in the Shadow of the Donbas Conflict: Strategic Reforms or Crisis Management?, Berlin, Peter Lang, 2020.
- McFaul, M., From Cold War to Hot Peace: An American Ambassador in Putin's Russia, Boston; New York, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018.
- Menon, R. and E. Rumer, Conflict in Ukraine: The Unwinding of the Post-Cold War Order, Cambridge; London, The MIT Press, 2015.
- Naumescu, V. and D. Dungaciu (eds), The European Union's Eastern Neighbourhood Today: Politics, Dynamic, Perspectives, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2015.
- Neill, K., Claiming Crimea: A history of Catherine the Great's Southern Empire, New Haven; London, Yale University Press, 2017.
- Petersson, M., The US NATO Debate: From Libya to Ukraine, New York; London, Bloomsbury, 2015.
- Pifer, S., The Eagle and the Trident: U.S.-Ukraine Relations in Turbulent Times, Washington, Brookings Institution Press, 2017.
- Portela, C., Pospieszna, P., Skrzypczyńska, J. and Walentek, D., "Consensus against All Odds: Explaining the Persistence of EU Sanctions on Russia", Journal of European integration, Vol. 43 (2021), No. 6, pp. 683-699.
- Rytövuori-Apunen, H., Power and Conflict in Russia's Borderlands: the Post-Soviet Geopolitics of Dispute Resolution, London, I.B. Tauris, 2020.
- Salzman, R.S., Russia, BRICS, and the Disruption of Global Order, Washington, Georgetown University Press, 2019.
- Sayapin, S. and E. Tsybulenko (eds), The Use of Force against Ukraine and International Law: Jus ad Bellum, Jus in Bello, Jus post Bellum, Berlin, Springer, 2018.
- Yekelchyk, S., Ukraine: What Everyone Needs to Know, Second Edition, New York, Oxford University Press, 2020.
- Wylegała, A. and M. Głowacka-Grajper, The Burden of the Past: History, Memory and Identity in Contemporary Ukraine, Bloomington, Indiana University Press, 2020.