RUSSIA’S INTERVENTION IN CRIMEA: THE LEGALITY AND COMPLIANCE WITH INTERNATIONAL LAW

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CEELS_2_2015_STAMATEKOU.pdf

CEELS_2_2015_STAMATEKOU.pdf

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RUSSIA'S INTERVENTION IN CRIMEA:
THE LEGALITY AND COMPLIANCE WITH INTERNATIONAL LAW

AIKATERINI STAMATEKOU
Legal expert in International Humanitarian Law, LLM (City University)

The events that took place in Ukraine and especially in Crimea in February and March 2014, led to the annexation of Crimea by Russia. The crisis in Crimea unfolded in the aftermath of the Ukrainian Revolution. The series of events that resulted in the Crimean crisis started when President Yanukovych had to flee the country after weeks of protests against his decision not to sign an Association Agreement with the European Union. Russia took advantage of Ukraine's political unrest and intervened in Crimea using several justifications which are examined thoroughly in the article, such as self-defense to protect nationals and ethnic Russians in Crimea, humanitarian intervention to support self-determination, intervention with the consent of the legitimate authority of Ukraine. The purpose of this article is to determine whether Russia's intervention in Crimea was in compliance with international law. For that reason, Part II of the essay, examines all possible grounds for the legality of Russia's actions. In particular, Part II (I), considers the justification of humanitarian intervention and Responsibility to Protect whereas Part II (II) explores the argument of humanitarian intervention to support the self-determination of the people of Crimea. Part II (III) examines the argument of self-defense to protect Russian citizens and ethnic nationals living in Crimea. Part II (IV) analyzes the strongest and most viable argument of Intervention by Invitation. Part III deals with the legal elements of aggression and examines whether Russia's actions in Crimea could constitute an act of aggression.

[The following legal analysis is part of her LLM dissertation, submitted in September 2014 to the City University (dissertation supervisor: Ioannis Kalpouzos).]