Use international law: Take Putin’s threatened invasion of Ukraine to the U.N. Security Council and the General Assembly; use SWIFT and Nordstream II to move beyond an illusory deterrent and really deter Putin; sanction Belarus for complicity in any invasion


1) Fiona Hill, “Putin Has the U.S. Right Where He Wants It, New York Times, January 24, 022.

U.S.,NATO, and EU heavy “costs” that will be imposed on Russia if it invades Ukraine are a deterrent, built on illusions, which will not deter Putin.

The West needs to strengthen its deterrent threats and to start imposing sanctions now.

Russia should be sanctioned for threatening the use of force in violation of Article 2 paragraph 4 of the U.N. Charter, and bringing the world dangerously close to a major war in Europe which has the potential of escalating to a nuclear conflict.

The West has been playing defense, reacting slowly to Russia’s threat of a war of aggression against Ukraine.

German war criminals were tried at Nuremberg for committing “crimes against peace”. Putin is committing crimes against peace as we speak.

NATO and the West need to stop responding to Putin’s unlawful demands and to start making their own demands on Putin and Russia.

The best defense is a good offense, it is often said.

It is now time for the civilized nations if the world to move from defensive maneuvering to going on the offense against Putin and Russia.

They should demand the following steps from Putin, and impose escalating sanctions on Russia if he does not comply, and until he does.

These demands include the following:

1. Russia must comply with its legal obligations under the United Nations Charter.

2. Russia must cease immediately its military threats against the territorial integrity and political independence of Ukraine.

3, Russia must return the Crimea to Ukraine, and undo the effects of its illegal conquest and purported annexation of that territory in violation of Article 2 paragraph 4 of the U.N. Charter and other peremptory norms of international law.

4. Russia must withdraw its troops and cease its support for agents under its control in the Eastern Ukraine, following its illegal invasion of Donetsk and Luhansk provinces in 2014.

5. Russia must withdraw its troops from Georgia, which it invaded in 2008 in violation of Article 2 (4) of the U.N. Charter.

6. Russia must respect the sovereign equality of all states and respect the principle of non-intervention in the internal or external affairs of any state, in accordane with the United Nations Charter, and its authoritative interpretation by the U.N. General Assembly in the latter’s 1970 “Declaration on Principles of International Law Concerning Friendly Relations and Co-operation Among States in Accordance with the Charter of the United Nations” (commonly referred to as the “Declaration on Friendly Relations”).
–G.A. Res. 2625 (XXXV)25 GAOR, Supp. (No. 28) 121, reprinted in 9 I.L.M. 1292 (1970).


“Russia’s utter and continuing violation of international law in the Ukraine: U.N. General Assembly Resolution A/RES/25/2625 (1970) on Principles of International Law and Friendly Relations Among States,” The Trenchant Observer, February 8, 2015.

The U.S., the EU, and NATO member countries should begin imposing severe economic sanctions on Russia and Belarus for their ongoing threat to invade Ukraine, and on Russia for its continuing occupation of the Crimea, and for its continuing occupation, both directly and through agents under its control, of Donetsk and Luhansk provinces (together “the Donbas’) in the Eastern Ukraine.

The goal should be to really deter Putin from invading Ukraine, not just to put on a good show that NATO, the U.S. and the EU tried.

A secondary goal should be to deter Alexander Lukashenko from allowing the territory of Belarus to be used by the Russians to invade Ukraine.

To really deter Putin, all countries should pressure Germany to go along with the expulsion of Russia from the SWIFT international payments system, if it invades Ukraine, and to commit now to cancellation of the Nordstream II pipeline project if such an invasion occurs.

As the civilized nations of the world move to offensive operations in defense of Ukraine, the imposition of heavy economic and other sanctions, perhaps on a partial and escalating basis, should begin at once.

Both Fiona Hill, above, and former Defense Secretary William Cohen, have called for the question of the threatened Russian invasion of Ukraine to be taken to the U.N. Security Council and the U.N. General Assembly.

These steps should be undertaken at once.

The Trenchant Observer