Verkhovna Rada has adopted the law on re-integration of Donbas in the second reading, where among other things it named Russia a military aggressor and occupier. Now, Ukraine has legally defined what everyone has been talking about since 2014 – the war was named war, Russia – the aggressor, and "LNR/DNR" have to be eliminated from our vocabulary altogether – now this is occupation administration.
Recognising Russia as the occupier allows to hold it fully responsible for human rights violations on the occupied territories. And the fact that Ukraine's stand is now legally documented can strengthen our position in the International Court of Justice. In April 2017, the court has already ruled on the provisional measures in regard to Russia – on ensuring the rights of Crimean Tatar population, on refraining from discriminatory actions against the citizens of Crimea. However, this decision was provisional and did not have significant legal force. Yet, it was still used as a basis for United Nations General Assembly Resolution adopted in December 2017.
And most importantly, on December 4, International Criminal Court in Hague, published its Report on Preliminary Examination Activities in the case of Ukraine vs. Russia. It qualifies the events in Crimea and Donbas as international armed conflict. In this context, the law is also important, as it strengthens Ukraine's position.
Co-director of Foreign Policy and International Security Programmes of the Razumkov Centre Mykhailo PASHKOV