Putin and International Law 248


By sending troops into the Ukraine, (others than those stationed there by agreement) Putin has broken international law.  That does not depend on the Budapest Memorandum.  It would be a breach of international law whether the Budapest Memorandum existed or not.  The effect of the Budapest Memorandum is rather to oblige the US and the UK to do something about it.

The existence of civil disturbance in a country does not justify outside military intervention.  That it does is, of course, the Blair doctrine that I have been campaigning against for 15 years, inside and outside government.  Putin of course opposes such interventions by the West, in Iraq, Syria or Libya, but supports such interventions when he does them, as in Georgia and Ukraine.  That is hypocrisy.  There are elements on the British left who also oppose such interventions when the West does them, but support when Putin does them.  You can see their arguments on the last comments thread: fascinatingly none of them have addressed my point about Putin’s distinct lack of interest in the principle of self-determination when it comes to Chechnya or Dagestan.

The overwhelming need now is to de-escalate the crisis.  People rushing about in tanks and helicopters very often leads to violence, and here Putin is at fault.  There was no imminent physical threat to Russians in the Crimea, and there is no need for all this military activity.  Ukraine should file a case against Russia at the International Court of Justice; the UK and US, as guarantor states, can ask to be attached as guarantor states with an interest in the Budapest Memorandum .  That will fulfil their guarantor obligations without moving a soldier.

The West is not going to provide the kind of massive financial package needed to rescue the Ukraine’s moribund economy and relieve its debts.  It would be great if it did, but with western economies struggling, no western politician is in a position to announce many billions in aid to the Ukraine.  The chances of Ukraine escaping from Russian political and economic domination in the near future are non-existent – the Ukrainians are tied by debt.  That was the hard reality that scuppered the EU/Ukraine agreement.  That hard reality still exists.  The Association Agreement is a very long path to EU membership.

Both Putin and the West are reacting to events which unfolded within Ukraine.  Action by the West was not a significant factor in the toppling by Yanukovich – that was a nationalist reaction to an abrupt change of political direction which seemed to be moving Ukraine decisively into the Russian orbit.  Ukrainians are not stupid and they can see the standard of living in former Soviet Bloc countries which have joined the European Union is now much higher .  Anybody who denies that is deluded.  Of course western governments had programmes to encourage pro-western tendencies in Ukraine, including secret operations. It would be naïve to expect otherwise.  Anybody who thinks Russia was not doing exactly the same is deluded.  But it is a huge mistake to lay too much weight on these efforts – both the West and Russia were taken aback by the strength and speed of the political convulsions in Ukraine, and everybody is still paying catch-up.

Which is why we now need a period of calm, and an end to dangerous military adventurism – which undeniably is coming primarily from Russia.  Political dialogue needs to be resumed.  It is interesting that even the pro-Russian assembly of Crimea region has only called a referendum on more devolved powers, not on union with Russia or independence.  However I still maintain the best way forward is agreement on internationally supervised referenda to settle the position.  The principle of self-determination should be the most important one here.  If any of the regions of Ukraine wish to secede, the goal should be a peaceful and orderly transition.  Effective military annexation by Putin, and insistence by the West that national boundaries cannot be changed, are both unproductive stances.

 

 

 


248 thoughts on “Putin and International Law

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  • Winston

    You are deflecting the the issue. I didn’t know you were a neo-nazi sympathizer until now.

    Why has neo nazi government taken over?

  • nevermind

    Mike wrote

    “RD, Putin obviously prefers Russian nationalists to German ones. Neither are very pleasant.”

    yes Mike, nor are they anywhere else, just to finsih your list, rightwing fascists are big in France, Belgium,Italy, Greece and the US, not to speak of the fascists in Juapan and or Australia, now a global movement.

    can someone please tell us what Sasha Billy was saying to the public prosecutor? or do I have to ask a more discerning crowd somewhere else?
    somebody should get the guist of what he was on about throttling the young chap up by his tie.

  • Winston

    Since eastern Ukraine’s population exceeds western Ukraine, what would be result in election, especially now there is a neo-nazi government in Ukraine?

  • Herbie

    Habby

    Didn’t Nuland’s conversation with her ambassador indicate that she was pulling strings in terms of which fascist got what job?

    Surely you aren’t suggesting that the US and its allies don’t organise coups in other countries, are you?

    And then there’s those questions above.

    Thanks

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    Herbie

    “Oh. Here you are habby.”
    __________________

    Yes indeed, Herbie. Since you’re the one making the accusations, please answer the questions I asked a short while ago on another thread, and in particular:

    1/. What is the total membership of the Rada?

    2/. How many members took part in the vote?

    3/. What were the voting figures?

    ***********

    It is really time you learnt something of you wish your comments to be taken seriously and seen as being made in good faith: it is flawed on your part to make a claim (or insinuation) and then, when someone contests what you say, ask that person to prove what HE says. You’ve got it the wrong way round : when YOU make a claim (or insinuation), it is for YOU to back it up – with facts.

    Thank you.

  • guano

    “The West is not going to provide the kind of massive financial package needed to rescue the Ukraine’s moribund economy and relieve its debts. It would be great if it did,…”

    Why would it be great if it did? The West has many more trillions of minus zeros, or should that be tr0lli0ns, than Russia. The Russian fleet may be ancient, but it is owned, not borrowed from the bank. The poorest peasant on earth has more money at zero than the average westerner who owes an average 200,000 pounds.

    I am reminded by Craig’s pro EU future for the Ukraine of the Jash/ baby donkeys who first took UK money to cause problems for Saddam Hussain. They were told, like Qaida today in Syria, that they were making jihad for Allah and Islam. Turns out they were shoe-horning western oil companies into access to the black gold under the River Euphrates.

    Those Jash/ milk-baby donkeys got paid for their services and later tortured almost to death by UK controlled agents in Iraq.
    When agents of the West call for an uprising in a former Soviet bloc country they should remember who they are dealing with, viz scum.

    Just because, at the expense of UK wages, certain eastern bloc European countries have multiplied their finances many hundreds of times, does not mean that those countries are not going to be put on the rack at some time to teach them a lesson about getting above their station.

    It took nearly 100 years from 1918 when Churchill asked for Mosul and Palestine from the spoils of the Ottoman Empire to the exploitation by UK related global companies to get their hands on the assets as planned. Kurdistan was ravaged by war and Palestine continues to be ravaged.

    Sweet, sweet poison. You too could be like Poland. You could alternatively get raped like Palestine. White man speak with fork tongue.

  • Ben

    Press the Meat has Kerry on…..discussing the Syrian connection……..supports the rebels, blah, blah, but of course The Black Sea, NATO isn’t broached. What a surprise the moderator just wants to trap him into a rhetorical cul-de-sac…….nothing with any depth. Typical.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    Herbie

    “Didn’t Nuland’s conversation with her ambassador indicate that she was pulling strings in terms of which fascist got what job?”
    _______

    No. But feel free to give verbatim text.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    “Surely you aren’t suggesting that the US and its allies don’t organise coups in other countries, are you?”
    ___________________

    Red herring. What I was suggesting was that you should attempt to back up your assertions. And I ask you to do so again (my post at 16h06 above).
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Thank you, Herbie

  • Herbie

    habby

    I haven’t made any claim about the legitimacy of the Ukrainian parliamentary decision.

    But, both yourself and Angrysoba have claimed it as legitimate.

    So, can you please answer the questions put to you:

    1. Were members threatened with or in fear of violence?

    2. Were all members who wished to vote in attendance.

    3. Was the president ousted lawfully and in accordance with the constitution?

    Since the issue of parliamentary legitimacy forms a central tenet of your position I think any failure to answer these simple questions ought to be viewed rather negatively in terms of your position.

    Thanks

  • OldMark

    Good post Craig, especially the last paragraph. Just one quibble-

    ‘Ukraine should file a case against Russia at the International Court of Justice; the UK and US, as guarantor states, can ask to be attached as guarantor states with an interest in the Budapest Memorandum.’

    The UK and US would certainly gain some respect for upholding international law on this occasion; however, it is unlikely to cut any ice on the ground- the same International Court ruled a decade ago that the Turkish invasion of northern Cyprus in 1974 was illegal. After nearly 40 years, the Turks are still there.

  • wikispooks

    Nuland: 3 x videos with the verbatim text; including her confirmation that the US has spent $5 billion to secure its objectives (of freedom and democracy naturally) in the Ukraine. And the last one – nervous young US Dept of State spokes-lady, Jan Paski, earnestly assuring us that black is white.

  • Ben

    INTERNATIONAL LAW !!!!!!! (Goose? Gander?)

    Obama gives lectures on the concept of sovereignty? Look at the list of countries in which we’ve interfered: Iran, Guatemala, Haiti, Indonesia, Cuba, Nicaragua, Chile, Argentina, the Philippines, Afghanstan —

    Who complained when Boris Yeltsin — a drunken American toady with single-digit approval ratings — bolstered his popularity by launching a brutal war in Chechnya?. In fact, Bill Clinton compared Yeltsin to — — Abraham Lincoln.

    There are so many axes to grind, so little time.

  • Jan Wiklund

    It is, of course, perfectly reasonable for British people to object against the UK sending troops into a country but don’t give a damn when Putin does – and that is that they are citizens of the UK and have a responsibility for what the UK government does.

    Keeping one’s own house in order, so to say, but dopn’t meddle with the neighbour’s.

    There is also another, quite reasonable cause for not meddling with what the Russians do, and that is htat it may be a waste of energy. It is easier, and may even pay off, to put pressure on one’s own government, but what you say about the Russians would probably not have any results at all.

    Except, and that is the third reason, that it sounds a great deal hypocritic for Britons to teach lessons to other countries on this matter.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    Herbie

    “I haven’t made any claim about the legitimacy of the Ukrainian parliamentary decision.”

    Please refer to your post at 14h51 on the previous thread.

    “But, both yourself and Angrysoba have claimed it as legitimate.”

    Which post of mine was that, Herbie? But I have asked you for the attendance and voting figures in the Rada – when are you going to provide them, to back up your assertions? Please stop clowning about and get serious.

  • nevermind

    To tyhe subject of arrests and protests within Russia we must realise that if such demonstartions would happen here and at the same scale, our police would soon call in the armed forces to stiffle it.

    http://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/liveticker-zur-krim-krise-am-2-maerz-2014-a-956418.html

    This from der Spiegels ‘timeline’home page with pictures from Moscow, St petersburg and various links. Sorry its in German, can’t translate everything, you have to refresh your German, however hard it is when one is learning Mandarin.

    16:12 Ukraine’s War fleet of ten shiops have declared themselves loyal to Kiev. So what was that other story all about a ship wanting to take Russian orders?

    Some 10.000 pro Putin demonstrations in Moscow with 350 arrested for demonstrating against his aggression.

    What, apart from fanning the situation with twitter com ments and shaking hands with the currewnt administration, are western countries doing to mitigate the tensions?

    Who is going to Moscow and Kiev, when does the security council sit on this issue?

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    Old Mark

    “‘Can you – or anyone else – give a breakdown of the current Ukrainian debt, please?’

    A quarter of Ukrainian debt is in short term bonds, and must be settled by next summer. The probability of a Ukrainian default is higher than that of any other country, save Argentina.”
    _____________________

    Thank you for that beginning, Old Mark. To get a clearer picture :

    1/. The other three quarters of the debt – in which form is it, and owned to whom?

    2/. The quarter in short term bonds – to whom is it owned?

    Thank you.

  • Herbie

    Habby

    I won’t waste further time with you. You’re clearly up to your old diversionary tricks again.

    I merely note that both your and Angrysoba’s claim for the legitimacy of the vote remains unsubstantiated due to your repeated refusal to answer some simple questions on it.

  • lwtc247

    Craig.
    You call against escalation and want things to follow through both slowly and politically. Why then your surprise when Crimea is doing just that and not leaping ahead and declaring independence and what not. Fair to presume you applaud their approach?

    I agree with you it looks like the Russians are ever more guilty of the same dirty illegalities the west has become notorious for. Kerry’s words on this stank beyond belief.

  • lwtc247

    There is a broader point too.
    If the elected officials of Ukraine decided to align much more towards Russia, what right does anyone have to stop that? Also, Ukraine should NOT file a case against Russia at the International Court of Justice – because the people in charge are NOT elected but planted puppets with no moral or legitimate authority other than that of the cudgel their wield.

    p.s. Yes, the ‘distinct lack of interest’ at Putin in terms of self-determination when it comes to Chechnya or Dagestan by the western left(i.e watered down) wing of NeoLiberaism shows them for the charlatans that they are.

  • guano

    Kerry has more carrots on his hat than corks on crocodile dundees.
    One of the carrots is the one Craig is dangling to keep the Russians pushing in the scrum of Syria in an effort to wreck Syria completely`- the carrot of Eastern Uzbekistan and the Crimea for Russia.

    Then there’s the carrots of autonomy for Chechnyans, Eastern Turkey for Kurdistan, and a Sunni block of Syria for Al Qaida. And The rest of Syria on its knees for Israel with a UN resolution to appoint Israel as curator of that land ad in finitum.

    Craig is using his good reputation for many good deeds to prepare us for the coming carve-up of land, which will be followed by 40 years of carve-ups throughout the former Soviet stans. For obvious reasons Craig would like for instance Uzbekistan to come into a peaceful, brokered, regime change.

    A picture of Obama comes to mind, under the banner of AFRICOM with skulls dangling round his hat, and John McCain greeting Jesus pbuh in Damascus on a red carpet made from the blood of Syrians.

    Craig should know better than to be gung-ho about any of these things. I think his mind has been turned by his Muslim Qaida ‘friends’.

  • N_

    By sending troops into the Ukraine, (others than those stationed there by agreement) Putin has broken international law.

    That parenthesis is pretty damned important. How do we know that Russia hasn’t acted only in keeping with bilateral arrangements with Ukraine regarding the Crimea?

    Maybe someone can post a link to those treaty arrangements?

    How much prior notice is Russia obliged to give, in relation to what kinds of military movements? and do the Banderists count as a legally constituted government?

    For all the bluster by politicians and barrack-room lawyering in the media, I would like to know what the agreement between Russia and the Ukraine regarding the Crimea actually says.

    It would also be useful to cite the Ukrainian constitution, especially to determine Yanukovych’s status if he asks for Russian assistance.

    That does not depend on the Budapest Memorandum. It would be a breach of international law whether the Budapest Memorandum existed or not. The effect of the Budapest Memorandum is rather to oblige the US and the UK to do something about it.

    One thing is for certain – the only actions that the Budapest Memorandum, on any interpretation, could possibly oblige the US, the UK or indeed Russia to take is to bring the matter of concern before the UN Security Council (para. 4) – and to consult with the other two powers (para. 6).

    The US, UK and Russia are not ‘guarantor powers’. If they were, there would be a Treaty of Guarantee, as there was with Cyprus: like this.

    I will paste the Budapest Memorandum below.

    I think there would have to be some ridiculous parsing of para. 4 to make it apply to any action or threat which does not involve nuclear weapons.

    (I will try to find a copy of the memorandum in Russian, where my interpretation should be provable or indeed disprovable using case endings. If anyone has got a link, please can they post it.)

    Basically the US, the UK and Russia must take the issue to the UNSC if someone attacks the Ukraine with nuclear weapons or threatens to do so.

    But while I’m here, does anyone think the US – along with Germany’s other ally, the UK 🙂 – haven’t breached Para 3?

    Here is the Memorandum. People can make up their own minds as to whether it’s being described honestly in the British media.

    ===========================================
    Memorandum on Security Assurances in connection with Ukraine’s accession to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons

    The United States of America, the Russian Federation, and
    the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland,

    Welcoming the accession of Ukraine to the Treaty on
    the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons as a
    non-nuclear-weapon State,

    Taking into account the commitment of Ukraine to
    eliminate all nuclear weapons from its territory within a
    specified period of time,

    Noting the changes in the world-wide security situation,
    including the end of the Cold War, which have brought
    about conditions for deep reductions in nuclear forces.

    Confirm the following:

    1. The United States of America, the Russian Federation,
    and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern
    Ireland, reaffirm their commitment to Ukraine, in
    accordance with the principles of the CSCE Final Act,
    to respect the Independence and Sovereignty and the
    existing borders of Ukraine.

    2. The United States of America, the Russian Federation,
    and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern
    Ireland, reaffirm their obligation to refrain from the
    threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or
    political independence of Ukraine, and that none of
    their weapons will ever be used against Ukraine except
    in self-defense or otherwise in accordance with the
    Charter of the United Nations.

    3. The United States of America, the Russian Federation,
    and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern
    Ireland, reaffirm their commitment to Ukraine, in
    accordance with the principles of the CSCE Final Act,
    to refrain from economic coercion designed to
    subordinate to their own interest the exercise by
    Ukraine of the rights inherent in its sovereignty and
    thus to secure advantages of any kind.

    4. The United States of America, the Russian Federation,
    and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern
    Ireland, reaffirm their commitment to seek immediate
    United Nations Security Council action to provide
    assistance to Ukraine, as a non-nuclear-weapon State
    Party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear
    Weapons, if Ukraine should become a victim of an act
    of aggression or an object of a threat of aggression in
    which nuclear weapons are used.

    5. The United States of America, the Russian Federation,
    and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern
    Ireland, reaffirm, in the case of the Ukraine, their
    commitment not to use nuclear weapons against any
    non-nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty on the
    Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, except in the
    case of an attack on themselves, their territories or
    dependent territories, their armed forces, or their allies,
    by such a state in association or alliance with a nuclear
    weapon state.

    6. The United States of America, the Russian Federation,
    and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern
    Ireland will consult in the event a situation arises which
    raises a question concerning these commitments.

    This Memorandum will become applicable upon signature.
    ===========================================

  • Mary

    Worms turn.

    2 March 2014 Last updated at 17:18

    New head of Ukraine’s navy ‘defects’ in Crimea
    The newly appointed head of Ukraine’s navy has sworn allegiance to the Crimea region, in the presence of its unrecognised pro-Russian leader.

    Rear Admiral Denis Berezovsky was only made head of the navy on Saturday, as the government in Kiev reacted to the threat of Russian invasion.

    Russia’s troops have been consolidating their hold on Crimea, which is home to its Black Sea Fleet.

    The US has warned Moscow may be ejected from the G8 for its actions.

    ~~~
    BBC website. Wonder if he is related to the late Boris Berezovsky?

  • Abe Rene

    Hopefully William Hague will exert a good influence in Ukraine when he goes there, along the lines of what you have written here.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    The following, from WIKISPOOKS, (16h20) appears to be a response to my request (to Herbie) to supply verbatim evidence for the suggestion that “Didn’t Nuland’s conversation with her ambassador indicate that she was pulling strings in terms of which fascist got what job?”:

    “Nuland: 3 x videos with the verbatim text; including her confirmation that the US has spent $5 billion to secure its objectives (of freedom and democracy naturally) in the Ukraine. And the last one – nervous young US Dept of State spokes-lady, Jan Paski, earnestly assuring us that black is white.”
    ______________________________

    Closer examination of this “evidence” makes it clear that this is another example of the tactic consisting in providing links which, when actually read, do not correspond, or then only partially correspond, to the claims made of them. Presumably the provider of the link(s) hopes that readers will not be bothered to read or listen to them carefully. But I have done so. Thus:

    1/. On the theme “Nuland is pulling strings in terms of which fascist got which job”.

    Wrong, and not evidenced by the verbatim, in which AS Nuland suggests that the Ambasssador make various phone calls (a normal function for a diplomat, one would think) and expresses the opinion to the Ambassador that Yats would probably be the best person to head the new govt (given his economic credentials) and that it would be better if Klishko and one other person were NOT in the govt. AND THAT IS ALL! No other names and govt posts mentioned, no evidence of pulling strings.

    2/. “including her confirmation that the US has spend $5 billion to secure its objectives”.

    This seeks to give the impression that the US has spent €5 billion since the crisis erupted ( or shortly before)in order to secure “US objectives”. But here is the transcript of what AS Nuland actually said on this in her conference (yes, I’ve taken the trouble to listen to it):

    “SINCE UKRAINIAN INDEPENDENCE IN 1991 the US has supported Ukrainians as they build democratic skills and institutions, as they promote civic participation and good governance, all of which are preconditions for Ukraine to achieve its European aspirations. We’ve invested over $5 billion to assist the Ukraine govt in these and other goals..”

    So, $5 billion since 1991, ie, over 12 years and not just latterly. (NB for context – US govt spending for fiscal 2013 alone was $3454 billion). And the objectives are objectives for Ukraine.

    ****************

    The conclusion must be that readers would be well-advised to overcome natural laziness and to read or listen to links VERY carefully, because those who provide the links do not always do so in good faith and with complete honesty.

  • nevermind

    According to live ticker der Spiegel
    16:57 (Norwich is routed before half time by Villa), my emphasis and free translated the Canadian Foreign minister John Baird, just back from Kyiv, said ‘that he would not discount that he would ask the Russian Ambassador to leave’. John Baird clearly declared his refusal of a military intervention in the Ukraine by the West. This despite Canada’s withdrawl of its ambassador from Moscow last Saturday.

    17:11 Newly appointed head of the Ukrainian Navy declares his allegiance to Kiev.

    17:37 British Prime minister Cameron declares ‘that there would be no British ministers joining the paraolympics in Sochi due to the situation in the Ukraine’

    sorry to post again..
    http://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/liveticker-zur-krim-krise-am-2-maerz-2014-a-956418.html

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