International There is a substitution of concepts. Only

International legal assessment of the
actions of Ukrainian law enforcement agencies. If we look from the
international law, the armed conflict in Ukraine lies in the plane of the
Geneva Conventions, which establish the rules of warfare in its various
manifestations: starting with use of weapons to treat refugees and prisoners of

The problem is in that Kiev refuses to
recognize the militias of the Donetsk and Lugansk national republics as a
“belligerent party”, i.e. the subject of rights and duties that make
up the laws and customs of war. The new government called terrorists
disagreeing with its policies, and it is not necessary to stand on ceremony
with terrorists.  From the point of view
of Kiev and the West, an anti-terrorist operation is underway in the
South-East, which means there can be no talk – all means are good. There is a
substitution of concepts. Only a court can recognize a man as a terrorist, but
there are international legal definitions of the armed side, and militias are
suitable for them. According to Article 1 of Protocol II to the 1949 Geneva
Convention, armed groups are recognized as being “in command of, putting
this kind of control over part of the country’s territory that allows them to take
continuous and concerted military action and apply this Protocol.”
Obviously, this requirement of the militia of DNR (Donetsk National Republic)
and LNR (Lugansk National Republic) is fully accountable, which means that they
are protected by international law. And if they violate the norms, they,
naturally, will be held accountable. “The military of a gathering to the
contention comprise of all sorted out military, gatherings and units under the
charge of a man capable to this gathering for the lead of their subordinates,
regardless of whether this gathering is spoken to by the legislature or expert
not perceived by the unfriendly party,” – Article 43 of Protocol I to the
1949 Geneva Convention.

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As we see, the non-recognition of the DNR
and LNR by Kiev is not a reason not to recognize the armed forces of the rebel
republics as a party to the conflict. It is simply unprofitable for the
Ukrainian authorities to recognize the militias as belligerents, since then
they will have to fight according to the rules of international treaties and
national legislation. If you look at the ways in which Kiev conducts military
operations, it becomes clear that international law is violated in the grossest

And now let’s see who is on the other
side of the conflict: government troops, informal association “Right
Sector”, private security companies and foreign mercenaries. “Whenever
a conflict side includes in its military a paramilitary organization or an
armed organization that ensures the protection of order, it notifies the other
parties in conflict,” the same Article 43 of Protocol I states in Geneva
Convention of 1949. The participation of private security companies in the
conflict does not recognize Kiev, the status of the “Right Sector” is
generally unclear, and mercenarism is expressly prohibited by the Criminal Code
of Ukraine. But on such “trifles” Kiev and its western partners
prefer not to pay attention.

Considering the situation in Ukraine
through the prism of the norms of international law, it should be emphasized
that the Kiev authorities grossly violate international treaties that operate and
in peacetime and during the period of armed conflicts to which Ukraine is a

First of all, it is about respecting the
principles of equal rights and self-determination for citizens, as stated in
the UN Charter (paragraph 2 of Article 1) states that “… all people have
the privilege to self-assurance. By ideals of this right, they uninhibitedly
set up their political status and unreservedly give their financial, social and
cultural advancement “.  The
Declaration on the Principles of International Law concerning Friendly
Relations and Cooperation among States in accordance with the Charter of the
United Nations, 1970, talks about self determination of people. It states the
principle that talks exactly the same art.1, in addition it says ” each
state is obliged to respect this right in accordance with the provisions of the
Charter”.  Moreover, this
declaration specifies ways of realizing people’s rights for self-determination:
“The creation of a sovereign and independent state, the accession to or
integration together as the state or the establishment of any other political
status that is determined by the people are ways for the people to exercise the
right to self-determination”. Similar provisions are reflected in other
international documents.

Other rules on human rights are grossly
violated in Ukraine – the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights,
guarantee: rights to just and favorable working conditions (Art. 7); the right
to a fair wage; the right to social security (Art. 9); the right to protect the
family, children (Art. 10); the right to freedom from hunger (Art. 11); the
right to education (Art. 13), as well as the International Covenant on Civil
and Political Rights, which guarantees: the right to life, the right to freedom
and personal inviolability and other rights.

It is gross violations of human rights
that have caused mass protests of the population and destabilization of the
situation in the southeast and other regions of Ukraine. Instead of holding a
peaceful dialogue with the public about ways out of the crisis and resolving a
number of humanitarian problems of the residents of Donbass, the Kiev
authorities continue the military punitive operation against supporters of independence.
In addition, during military operations in the south-east, Ukraine grossly
violates the sovereignty and integrity in the territory of Russia, which
resulted in the June 14, 2014 attack on the diplomatic mission of the Russian
Federation in Kiev in violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic
Relations of 1961 and in an attempt to attack ” Right Sector “at the
Russian Consulate in Odessa; the Ukrainian armed forces unceremoniously crossed
and fired at the Russian border, the territory of Russia was repeatedly
subjected to artillery strikes. For example, on June 28, 2014, Ukrainian
security forces shelled the checkpoint “Gukovo” in the Rostov region.
Serious destruction was given to the premises of the customs post. The shells
also hit nearby settlements on the territory of Russia. In this regard, the
Russian ministry for the Foreign Affairs made a resolute protest for the
Ukrainian side and demanded that the incident be thoroughly investigated.

Look at it from the international
humanitarian law applied in the period of armed conflicts, the current military
confrontation in Ukraine can be characterized as an armed conflict that does
not have an international level, in which one side is the armed forces of
Ukraine supported by informal armed groups “Right Sector” and private
armed security companies (PMSCs ), who do not have a license of the Government
of Ukraine to participate in military actions in the armed forces, which
contradicts Art. 43 of Additional Protocol I of 1977, Art. 17 of the
Constitution of Ukraine of June 28, 1996, as well as the Law of Ukraine
“On Combating Terrorism”, as will be discussed below. Foreign
mercenaries also fight on the side of the Ukrainian armed forces, the use of
which in itself is considered as war crime.

Another side of this armed conflict is
the armed militia of Donbass, that under the command, has such control in some
parts of Ukraine that allows them to implement continuous and concerted
military actions and apply international humanitarian law, which corresponds to
Art. 1 of Additional Protocol II of 1977 to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August
1949 on the protection of victims of war. That is, the people’s militia of
Donbass corresponds to all the signs of the belligerent side of international
humanitarian law.

The military of Ukraine, contrary to the
principles of international humanitarian law, protect the victims of war,
protect civilian objects during the armed conflict, and restrict the
belligerents in the choice of methods and means of warfare destroy the civilian
population and civilian objects of Donbass, than the commitments undertaken by
Ukraine, common to all the Geneva Conventions of 1949, and Protocol II of 1977,
as well as the Manual for the Commanders of the Armed Forces of Ukraine
(Priadnik for the Command Warehouse of the Zbrojnykh Syla Ukraininy), which is
expressed in the use of such prohibited methods as:

strikes against civilians, individual civilians (including children, women,
elderly, sick, wounded – Article 13 of the Additional Protocol II of 1977),
civilian objects (houses, hospitals, schools, kindergartens, shops, energy and
heating systems, drinking water supply facilities, individual and public
transport, etc.) in Donetsk, Slavyansk, Kramatorsk, Konstantinovka, Gorlovka,
Lugansk, Lisichansk … and other cities of the southeast, which causes huge
sacrifices and destruction, creates an atmosphere of hunger among the civilian
population (Article 14 of the Additional Protocol II of 1977, Article XXV of the
Convention on the Laws and Customs of War on Land in 1907);

Terrorism of the civilian population, which is expressed in the use, especially
at night, of combat equipment such as bomber aircraft, tanks, heavy artillery
(guns, howitzers), the Grad fire system, which results in huge casualties,
large fires and destruction of objects for the survival of people, which sows
panic, horror and fear among civilians (Article 4d, Article 13, paragraph 2 of
Additional Protocol II of 1977);

The murder of Right Sector fighters to intimidate those who were out of order
(wounded in the hospital near Lugansk on May 23, 2014), the execution by the
Nationalguard of soldiers-conscripts who laid down their arms and refused to
conduct a fratricidal war (Article 4.2d) of Additional Protocol II 1977 of the

use in the armed conflict of UN symbols (Article 38 of the Additional Protocol
I of 1977);

the use of foreign mercenaries, fighters of private armed security companies in
military operations against Donbas militiamen, as already mentioned;

Murder, hostage taking, torture of Russian and foreign journalists who bring
truth to the world community about the criminal actions of Ukrainian armed
forces in the process of conducting military operations.

It should be emphasized that according
to the norms of international humanitarian law, journalists who are on professions
that involve dangerous missions in areas of military actions has to be treated
as civilians. And in this regard, they enjoy protection as such (Article 79 of
Additional Protocol I and Article 13 of Additional Protocol II of 1977) and
should not be targeted, they are prohibited from acts of violence or threats of
violence in order to prevent them from fulfilling their professional debt.

The power structures of Ukraine (formal
and informal), in contrast to the standards of international humanitarian law
and the Manual for commanders of armed forces of Ukraine, display cruelty against
the peaceful population of Donbass through the use of such prohibited means of
warfare as incendiary weapons against civilians or civilian objects (the
Convention on the Prohibition or restrictions to use a specific types of
weapons that might be extremely damageable, 1980 and Protocol III); cluster
munitions (Convention on Cluster Munitions 2008); chemical weapons (Convention
on Use of Chemical Weapons and Their Destruction, 1993). The aforementioned
prohibited methods and means of warfare used by the armed forces in
Ukraine  according to the Geneva
Conventions on the Protection of War Victims of 1949 and the Additional
Protocols of 1977 are important violations of international humanitarian law,
plus they are classified as war crimes (Article 85 p. 5 of Additional Protocol
I of 1977). Such actions are punishable also by the Criminal Code of Ukraine
(as amended on June 19, 1944), according to which ” the
utilization of methods for warfare denied by international law, different
infringement of the laws and traditions of war…” is punishable by
deprivation of liberty for a time of 8-12 years “. The same acts, if they
are “combined with an intentional murder,” can be punished for a
period of 10 to 15 years or by life imprisonment “(Article 438).

Mass violations of human rights by the
Kiev authorities subordinated to them by the armed forces and illegal armed
formations, the daily and systematic committing of war crimes by them, provoked
a large flow of refugees from Ukrainian cities in the area of ??military
operations. A real humanitarian catastrophe is taking place in the south-east
of Ukraine. According to the norms of international law, persons committing
international crimes are brought to individual criminal responsibility by
national or international judicial bodies.



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