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Russian Invasion of Ukraine and the Breach of International Law

Russian invasion of Ukraine: The genesis of its existence and the breach of International law. By Adebayo Faruq Adebayo

Russian invasion of Ukraine: The genesis of its existence and the breach of International law.
By Adebayo Faruq Adebayo


According to John Locke, in the days immemorial, the world was in chaos without any law regulating the conduct of man. Everyone believes in his ideology and termed it to be right. We have different conscious, if stealing is judged by your own conscious to be good and right, others may see it as the worse action. According to Natural law theory by Thomas Aquinas, if ten people are put in 10 different rooms and they were asked the same question if stealing is good. Majority would say stealing is bad. The fact that there is still minority who answered in negative prove that our conscious and ideologies will always be different if not totally, then partially.

However, what certain is that no matter how we have different thinking faculties, ideologies and opinions there will surely be some general opinions on a particular view which will be unanimously agreed upon by all. Throughout the world, we all agreed to some rights that are inalienable because we are human being. No matter the differences in our idiosyncrasies. According to the UDHR preamble, it provides that “Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world”.

Also, After the Second World War in 1945 51 countries committed to maintaining international peace and security, developing friendly relations among nations and promoting social progress, better living standards and human rights. In that end, they created a charter that regulate all the member states and by the provision of Article 1 of the charter which provides that ” To maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace, and to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and inter-national law, adjustment or settlement of inter-national disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace;”.

It is included in the article, the parties involved and the rationale behind their establishment. The aggression shown by the aggressor, and the laws and charters that were breached during the invasion.


Northern Atlantic Treaty organization(hereinafter referred to as NATO) is a security alliance between North America and Europe. it was formed after the second world war. The goal was to protest Democratic freedom on the 4th of April 1949. It was simply an anti-soviet accord aimed to counter any future aggression by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (hereinafter referred to as USSR). It was established for a new balance of power In Europe. It promised all member states a collective security which was a core principle laid out in Article 5 of the NATO Treaty. It obliges member states to protect one another in case of a war. NATO believes an armed attack against one ally is an attack on all allies which means that if one NATO nation is attacked all NATO nations will retaliate. This allowed NATO members to pool and share their military resources they built efficient defense capabilities however there was more to NATO than just defense. It was an alliance of liberal countries that serves as an engine of democratization that was supposed to promote values and interest. It also pushed back against the rise of communism naturally. Moscow saw this alliance as a threat to its interests and in response it created the WARSAW pact in the year 1955. It was a counter weight to NATO though parts of their goals were the same. If WARSAW member is attacked all others will defend it. In Russia historical memory , there were five reasons why the pact was justified when the west threaten Russia interest. These include the polish occupation of the Kremlin in early 17 century, the Swedish invasion of 18 century, the Napolean invasion of 19 century and the two Germany war in 20 century. This created fear in Russia of the west and Moscow perceived NATO as a tool for America imperialism and the assessment was not really off the mark. Berlin wall collapsed in 1989 and soviet union disintegrated in 1991 and the iron curtain was completely demolished. Europe regional order hinged on one question. Should Germany join NATO or allied with WARSAW pact under the regime of the former U.S.A president George Washington. It was concluded that Germany should join NATO on the condition that NATO will not extend to the Eastern part of the Europe.
When the Ukraine was anticipating to join the NATO alliance, Moscow tried to remind the NATO and the USA of their agreement which USA denied that such agreement never exist. The denial later escalate the matter and the Russia remained adamant that NATO should not extend to the East.

According to United Nations, it defines aggression as the use of armed force by a State against the sovereignty, territorial integrity or political independence of another State, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Charter of the United Nations, as set out in this Definition.
it is further defined in the General Assembly resolution 3314 (XXIX) “The First use of armed force by a State in contravention of the Charter shall constitute prima facie evidence of an act of aggression. ”

Two elements must be taken notice in the definition of General Assembly resolution 3314(XXIX) which are: in contravention of the UN Charter, and the first such use of force in a conflict
The UN states that a war of aggression is a crime against international peace which gives rise to international responsibility. There is no justification for aggression politically, economically, militarily or otherwise.

The UN also states that territorial acquisition or special advantage resulting from aggression is always unlawful.

On 24 February, about 5 am EET (UTC+2), Putin announced a “special military operation” to “demilitarize and denazify”Ukraine. Minutes later, missiles and airstrikes hit places across Ukraine, including the capital Kyiv, shortly followed by a large ground invasion from multiple directions. The president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, enacted martial law and general mobilization. When the action of President Putin is compared with the definition of UN general assembly resolution, it can be seen as a perfect example of the definition.


Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a contravention of Article 2(4) of the U.N. Charter, which provides that the “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state.”
Though, it has been justified by President Vladimir Putin and other Russian officials that their action with the use of force is justifiable under Article 51 of the UN Charter. However, their justification has no strong foundation in fact or law. Article 51 provides that “nothing in the present charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a member of the United Nations.” However, Ukraine did not commit or threaten to commit an armed attack against Russia or any other UN member state. Even if Russia could show that Ukraine had committed or planned to commit attacks on Russians in the Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, Article 51 would not permit an action in collective self-defense, because Donetsk and Luhansk are not UN member states. Indeed, they do not even qualify as states under international law, despite their purported secession from Ukraine and Russia’s recognition of them as independent.

Putin’s statements that Ukraine was committing “genocide” against Russians in Donetsk and Luhansk, although a thinly veiled effort to justify Russia’s use of force in the language of international law, are also not supported by the facts and would not, in any case, give Russia a right to launch an invasion of Ukraine. The Genocide Convention defines genocide as certain, specified actions intended to destroy in whole or in part a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group. There is no evidence that Ukraine engaged in any of the defined actions and certainly no evidence of an intent to destroy in whole or in part any group in eastern Ukraine. Even if the Ukrainian government had committed human rights abuses against Russians in eastern Ukraine, neither the Genocide Convention nor the UN Charter authorizes convention parties or UN member states to use force to remedy acts of genocide or serious human rights abuses.

The invasion by the Russian troops in Ukraine claimed to be self-defense can be termed to an unopened and hidden apple of discord. Both parties including the third parties(NATO, USA) know what Russia is fighting for. Like it has been promised that NATO will not extend to the eastern part of the Europe. The action of NATO apparently and advancing to welcome and embrace Ukraine to their alliance will give the privilege for the world’s most foremost military hegemony, USA to have military bases in the Ukraine which tends to put Russia into threat. Threat in the sense that Ukraine joining NATO poses too much of a threat to Russia and what it sees as its sphere of influence. The US, as, maintains hundreds of military installations worldwide. Many are inside the US, while ample remain outside its borders in some of the world.

Ukraine afraid of Russia may one day come to annex or use its power over her trying all possible means to join NATO for military protection. Going by the principle set out by Article 5 in NATO’s founding treaty that “an attack against one ally is considered as an attack against all allies”, committing them to protect one another. It is appropriate to just be looking ahead towards the action of the NATO in response to the Ukraine demands and it is imperative to take notice that Ukraine is yet to be a member state. Remember once again that all the parties involves know the hidden truth behind Russia Invasion.


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