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The Ukraine-Russia face-off

A few weeks ago, Ukrainians hatched a people's revolution in which their ethnic Russian Prime Minister, Viktor Yanukovitch, was cavalierly ousted. In the said revolution, the native Ukrainian language, rather than the Russian language, was popularly adopted as the nation's lingua franca and popular opinion tilted in favour of alliance with Europe (European Union) rather than with the Eastern Bloc, represented by Russia. There is a sizeable crop of ethnic Russians in Ukraine, particularly in Crimea, a semi-autonomous region of Ukraine (60% of Crimean population are ethnic Russians); which explains why the ousted Ukrainian Prime Minister, Yanukovitch, is an ethnic Russian and why Sergey Aksyonov, the Crimean Prime Minister, is also an ethnic Russian as well. By reason of this fact, Russia, on February 28, 2014, rolled out its military hardware in every nook and cranny of Crimea, a region in Ukraine, consequent of the people's revolution, an internal affair of Ukraine!
The point should be made that Ukraine is an independent sovereign nation, the fact that there is in it a plurality of ethnic Russians, notwithstanding. That being so, the Ukrainian borders are sacrosanct and cannot be violated, unprovoked, by any other country or group of countries. Section 4 of Article 2 of the Charter of the United Nations Organization (UNO) stipulates that “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.”  Ipso facto, the brazen Russian aggression on Ukraine is condemnable as it is a violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. It must be noted that Russia had, in 1954, when both Ukraine and Russia were still part of the defunct Union of Soviets Socialist Republics (USSR), surrendered Crimea to Ukraine and that the Budapest Agreement of 1994, signed by Russia and all the former satellite republics of the former USSR, reinforced Russia's surrender of Crimea to Ukraine.
We are in full accord with the US President Barack Obama who aptly remarked that in her unprovoked aggression on Ukraine, Russia “is on the wrong side of history.” Russia's infraction of international law, with reference to her power-drunk and invidious occupation of parts of Crimea, is not unlikely to issue forth in a new East-West conflict, the resurgence of the Cold War, which ended in the early nineties. The UN should put its best legs foremost and prevent this potential untoward upshot. Article 41 of the UN Charter provides that “The Security Council may decide what measures not involving the use of armed force are to be employed to give effect to its decisions, and it may call upon the Members of the United Nations to apply such measures…” According to this Article, such measures “may include complete or partial interruption of economic relations and of rail, sea, air, postal, telegraphic, radio and other means of communication, and the severance of diplomatic relations.” Where the foregoing measures are inadequate or are unable to produce the desired result, recourse could be had to Article 42, involving military solution.
Europe and the rest of the world should be able call off Russia's peremptory violation of Ukraine's territorial integrity despite Germany's close commercial ties with Russia, the lure of Russia's oil to Europe and Britain's ambivalent attitude to the issue of economic and diplomatic sanctions against Russia. Failure to call Russia to order would fly in the face of the Purposes of the Charter of the UN, brilliantly stated in its Article 1: “To maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace; and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace…” We are persuaded that this is one occasion when narrow national interests and political cleavages must be subordinated to the maintenance of international peace and security.

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