On March 6, 2014 the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry summoned diplomats of the Russian Federation in Ukraine. Russian diplomats were given a note on the violation of imperative norms of international law by their state. The text of the document is as follows.
On 1 March 2014, at 17:21 Kyiv time, the Federal Council (Upper House) of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation unanimously approved a request of President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin on a deployment of “limited military contingent” of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation on the territory of Ukraine.
This decision was approved in violation of the UN Charter, Declaration on Principles of International Law of 1970, Helsinki Final Act of CSCE of 1975, and Agreement on Friendship, Cooperation between the Russian Federation and Ukraine of 1997, as well as a list of other international agreements. At the same time, demonstrative refusal of the Russian Federation regarding preliminary consultations with Ukraine and state guarantors of its territorial integrity (United Kingdom, USA, France, and China) is a significant neglect of its own international law obligations, set in Budapest Memorandum of 1994.
This legal nihilism is confirmed by the address of President of the Russian Federation V.Putin, made during the press conference on 4 March, 2014. Particularly, V.Putin announced that under the result of developments of several latest months in the territory of Ukraine appeared a new country, with respect to which the Russian Federation doesn’t sign any binding documents.
The decision of the Federal Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation regarding the use of Armed Forces on the territory of independent country, one of the founders of the United Nations Organization, contradicts norms of international law concerning situations when protection of rights and legitimate interests of own citizens who stay outside the borders of territory of theirs country, allows military involvement of the country of their citizenship. Under the Constitution of Ukraine and relevant norms of international law, the Autonomous Republic of Crimea is an integral part of Ukraine and is one of its administrative-territorial units. We underline that no one properly authorized national, foreign or international organization has announced the violation of human rights on the territory of Ukraine (particularly in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea) that would require an intervention of some international subject or international community. Thus, the appeal of the pretender leaders of the one of administrative units of Ukraine - Autonomous Republic of Crimea – to Russian authorities with request to provide military support is illegal. Moreover, all decisions approved on the basis of that request are illegitimate. In particular, this is proved by the determination of criminal liability for public appeals on the unleashing of war, both by the legislation of Ukraine (article 436 of Criminal Code of Ukraine) and by the legislation of the Russian Federation (article 354 of Criminal Code of the Russian Federation).
Signs of the same crime are clearly seen in the so called Appeal of the Ukrainian citizen Mr. V.Yanukovych to Mr. V.Putin, the President of Russia, with a request to use the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation for restoration of legitimacy, peace, law and order, stability and protection of the people of Ukraine. This appeal clearly violates Article 85 of the Constitution of Ukraine, under which the right to allow an admission of foreign armed forces at the territory of Ukraine belongs solely to the Ukrainian Parliament.
According to the principle of just and fair interpretation of international treaties, we are witnessing the considerable violation of the provisions of the Agreement between Ukraine and the Russian Federation on the Status and Conditions of the Russian Black Sea Fleet's Stay the territory of Ukraine dated 8 August 1997, particularly Paragraph 1 of Article 6 stipulating that military units of the Black Sea Fleet "will act on positions of their initial dislocation in accordance with the legislation of the Russian Federation, respect the sovereignty of Ukraine, comply with its legislation, and do not intervene in the internal affairs of Ukraine". Paragraph 2 of Article 8 has also been violated, under which military units of the Black Sea Fleet "will conduct military exercises and other military and strategic activities on their training bases, proving and shooting grounds, tactical centres and, except forbidden areas, in specifically allotted air space areas by the concurrence of the respective Ukrainian authorities. There was no such concurrence between the respective Russian and Ukrainian authorities. At the same time, Russian soldiers (they informed representatives of the mass media about their citizenship) have left positions of their initial dislocation, thus violating the provisions of the Agreement.
With regard to the abovementioned, actions of the Russian Federation are an act of aggression, i.e. international crime. We would like to remind that international law foresees the special regime of international responsibility to any State that violates imperative norms of the common international law. Moreover, any person found guilty of committing aggression shall bear individual criminal responsibility under the international law.
Therefore, the actions of the Russian Federation give legal grounds to Ukraine for the fulfilment of its inalienable right for personal and collective self-defence in accordance with Article 51 of the UN Charter, including appeal to the other states and organizations to repel external aggression. Taking into account the Russian Federation's multiple violations of multilateral and bilateral agreements, Ukraine reserves the right to suspend a fulfilment of its commitments on bilateral agreements, in particular regarding the temporal stationing of the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation on the territory of Ukraine.
Neglecting the basic principles of international law by the Russian Federation will inevitably lead to serious political, economical and military losses in conditions of modern global world, to destabilization not only in Eastern Europe but in Russia as well. Russian use of nonexistent and unconfirmed breaches of collective rights of population of certain regions of Ukraine as a reason for military aggression with high probability can become a precedent which could be used for similar military interference into internal affairs of other states by multinational Russia. This precedent can be also used by other states to interfere into Russian internal affairs and to support separatist movements in its individual regions.
The Russian policy toward Ukraine is not only destroying the bilateral international legal basis. It threatens the whole system of international law.
International law is and remains an instrument for settling international disputes by peaceful means between states. Any interference of one state into internal affairs of another is unacceptable and must be condemned by international society.
We would like to underline one more time that the Russian Federation by its actions has violated imperative regulations of common international law (jus cogens) that are used and accepted by international community as regulations denial of which is unacceptable (article 53 of Vienna Convention of the Law of Treaties 1969). Jus cogens regulations are the criteria for definition of the legality of other regulations.
Consequently, the statement of President of Russian Federation V.Putin on the non-recognition of Government of Ukraine contradicts international law.
The violation of norms jus cogens by the Russian Federation is a direct encroachment on the interests of international community as a whole. It creates an obligation for countries not to allow their impunity as obligation erga omnes (obligation among all). At that, execution of crime of aggression will effect on criminal responsibility of certain officials of aggressor state.