Explainer: when does a conflict become a war?

By Professor Katja Ziegler, Sir Robert Jennings Professor of International Law

Professor Katja Ziegler explains the common question from recent reports about a Russian invasion in Ukraine on the Caspian Sea; When does a conflict become a war?

“Is the conflict in Ukraine a war? This question has been raised in recent reports about a Russian invasion in Ukraine on the Caspian Sea. The USA and other NATO powers call it an “incursion”; the Baltic states and Ian Bremmer, the president of the Eurasia Group, call it war.

Using that word to describe the Ukraine crisis carries obvious political weight. Until now, it was unclear if, and to what extent, Russia was arming and supporting Ukrainian rebels. The recent uptick in the use of war vocabulary shows that international observers increasingly view this as an inter-state conflict.

The problem is that “war” is not specifically defined in modern international law after 1945 and international instruments from before 1945 do not offer clear criteria for what war is either.”

 

Read the full article on The Conversation

This article was originally published on The Conversation .

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