Russo-Ukrainian War


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.

Librarian’s choice
Lyubashenko, I., Ukraine's Search for Justice in the Shadow of the Donbas Conflict: Strategic Reforms or Crisis Management?, 2020
Should we punish wrongdoers? Should we take care of the ones who suffered from wrongdoings? Although we may believe answers to these questions are obvious, they become less so when similar questions are asked under exceptional circumstances, such as armed conflicts.
Rytövuori-Apunen, H., Power and Conflict in Russia's Borderlands: the Post-Soviet Geopolitics of Dispute Resolution, 2020
As Cold War battle lines are seemingly re-drawn, Russia's various 'frozen' war zones (ongoing separatist conflicts) are often cited as particularly volatile and assumed by some Western commentators and policymakers to be 'next' on Putin's 'wish list'.
Grant, T.D., Aggression against Ukraine: Territory, Responsibility and International Law, 2015.
Aggression against Ukraine marks a stunning shift. Ever since 1945 it had been understood that the borders of States must not be the object of forcible change by other States. However, Russia has now revived long-buried historical claims—and prosecutes them by dint of arms.
Bibliography manually

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.

ICJ documents; PPL keyword: Allegations of Genocide under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Ukraine v. Russian Federation)

  • [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.

ITLOS documents; PPL keyword: Case concerning the detention of three Ukrainian naval vessels (Ukraine v. Russian Federation), Provisional Measures

UN Declarations and Resolutions

The resolutions and decisions of the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council may provide valuable information on the Russo-Ukrainian War.

 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.

 Start Your Research: (7) Resolutions and Decisions of International Organizations.

Reference works

Selected books and articles