1) Andrew E. Kramer and Steven Erlanger, “Russia Lays Out Demands for a Sweeping New Security Deal With NATO; The proposal, coming as Moscow masses troops on the border with Ukraine, would establish a Cold War-like security arrangement in Eastern Europe that NATO officials immediately rejected, New York Times, December 17, 2021.
2) “Ukraine: Putin’s “red lines” and the “red lines” of the U.N. Charter and international law, The Trenchant Observer, December 3, 2021.
Vladimir Putin has a weak hand.
He is threatening to invade Ukraine further (beyond his 2014 invasion of the Crimea and the Donbas region in the eastern Ukraine), in order to force the U.S. and NATO to agree to never admit Ukraine or Georgia (which Russia invaded in 2008) into the NATO alliance.
Russia has reportedly even advanced draft treaties laying out its demands. The treaties were put forward by a lower official, not even by foreign minister Sergey Lavrov or by Putin himself, and must be regarded as part of a transparent negotiating pkoy.
Any treaty secured under the current Russian threat of using force against Ukraine would be null and void under the jus cogens prinviple of international law that a treaty secured by the threat or use of force is void. This norm of peremptory international law is codified in Article 52 of the 1969 U.N. Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties.
Putin is violating the prohibition against the threat or use if force contained in Article 2 paragraph 4 of the U.N. Charter, itself a norm of jus cogens or peremptory international law. It is the mosr important principle in the United Nations Charter, the foundation stone on which it is built.
The U.S., NATO countries, the EU, and other allies should immediately adopt sanctions sagainst Russia for threatening to invade Ukraine.
In addition, the U.S. and its allies should introduce a resolution in the U.N. General Assembly reaffirming these principles and the right of all sovereign states to join any military alliance or economic union they want to.
These basic principles of international law have been reaffirmed in the General Assembly’s 1970 Declaration on Friendly Relations and Peaceful Relations Among States. The proposed resolution should reaffirm the Declaration on Friendly Relations, once again.
These principles are supported by an overwhelming number of states. The vote on the resolution in the General Assembly would be a powerful reminder to Russia–and China–that the prohibition against the threat or use of force retains the strong support of the great majority od states.
With regard to China, the Declaration on Friendly arelations contains specific language that makes clear that any Chinese use of force against Taiwan would violate Article 2 (4) of the U.N. Charter.
The U.S., NATO, the EU, and their allies should impose sanctions against Russia now for its violation of Article 2 (4) by threatening the use of force against Ukraine. Such action would do far more to deter Putin and Russia from invading Ukraine than mere talk of “serious consequences” for Russia if it invades Ukraine.
The Trenchant Observer