International Justice

CJ354 Endicott College

Ukraine: Split Decisions

Single Ukraine?

The world continues to watch Ukraine as it remains an issue of Russian geographical self-interest.

March 4, President Putin made his first public appearance since ordering and subsequently halting the advance of Russian troops into the contested area. He broke his silence on the political upheaval in Ukraine on Tuesday during a 66-minute news conference that sought to justify Russia’s actions and policies.

Amidst the political crisis in the Ukraine, numerous Western leaders have accused of Moscow of violating international law by deploying unmarked Russian military forces across the autonomous Republic of Crimea. Is Moscow violating international law?

On the other hand, Western leaders, like Obama have been criticized of “wishful thinking.” The Washington Post said “For five years President Obama has led a foreign policy based more on how he thinks the world should operate than on reality.”

Russia can legally argue its position for sending troops since the interim government in Kiev is not the legitimate government of the Ukraine. Foreign governments that are willfully recognizing and thereby trying to confer international legitimacy on the interim government in Kiev, however, are considered to be breaking international law by violating the sovereignty of the Ukraine constitution.

International law continues to play a difficult and diffuse role. Russia seems to be in the position that they can technically invoke a legal position to instigate a humanitarian intervention, yet Russians’ support for the independence of Crimea could be a violation of the sovereignty of the Ukraine.

The position of the U.S. seems to be in cooperation with the Russia administration while rejecting a Russian-backed effort for a referendum in Crimea to separate from the rest of Ukraine. Is there any common ground of Obama’s “resetting” of U.S. relations without Russia?

What kinds of legal grounds does this referendum have? How would joining Russia lead to more security and leadership crises? Does Ukraine’s current new interim government not recognize the leadership in Crimea? Are you in favor or Crimea reuniting with Russia as a subject of the Russian Federation or in favor of retaining the status of Crimea as part of Ukraine?

The referendum was announced to be set for May 25, but Kiev’s new government has slated the presidential election for that day. The regional Crimean parliament has moved the date for March 16.


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