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Israeli legal experts condemn Ukraine invasion, say it’s illegal under international law

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's religions and Diaspora affairs correspondent.

Ukrainian soldiers take positions outside a military facility as two cars burn, in a street in Kyiv, Ukraine, on February 26, 2022. (Emilio Morenatti/AP)
Ukrainian soldiers take positions outside a military facility as two cars burn, in a street in Kyiv, Ukraine, on February 26, 2022. (Emilio Morenatti/AP)

Top Israeli legal experts condemn “in the strongest terms” Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, saying it is illegal under international law and refuting Moscow’s justifications for the offensive.

In an open letter, 21 international law experts call on Israel to “adopt a principled position on the situation in Ukraine, reflective of the long-term community interests of international peace and security.”

The experts, including several deans of leading Israeli law schools, say Russia’s recognition of Luhansk and Donetsk, two areas of eastern Ukraine, as independent republics violates Kyiv’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and has “no legal validity.”

“Consequently, the Russian Federation cannot invoke collective self-defense, pursuant to Article 51 of the UN Charter, to justify armed intervention in Ukraine on the basis of the ‘request’ by these territories,” the experts write.

“Furthermore, the Russian Federation has no right of individual self-defense against Ukraine, as there was no ongoing or imminent armed attack by Ukraine against Russia. Claims that Ukraine must be ‘demilitarized’ do not give rise to any valid right of self-defense under international law,” they add.

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