The Instigator
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The Contender
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0 Points

Putin's invasion of the Crimea was justified

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/1/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 784 times Debate No: 67710
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (5)
Votes (2)




This "invasion" was supported by democracy and was morally justified. Putin was trying to protect the huge number of ethnic Russia who were threatened. The former government in Kiev was illegally overthrown and the man Putin regards as Ukraine"s legitimate president asked him for military help. Putin was not being cynical he was standing up for democracy .
I look forward to having this debate and wish the best of luck to my opponent.


I accept the statements you have posted ignore the complex history of the Crimea Peninsula and sets a dangerous precedent for later Russian "diplomacy". Seeing as their is no arguments in this section i'll assume that is for next round
Debate Round No. 1


The Revolution In Ukraine Was Unconstitutional:

President Removed From Power Unconstitutionally

The rebellion completely disregarded the Constitution of Ukraine and used forceful coercive means to seize power from the legitimate government. The "uprising" can only be described as a coup. The vote to remove Yanukovych, the president of Ukraine, did not follow constitutional procedures. Under Articles 108-112 of Ukraine"s constitution, there are four ways a sitting president may leave office between elections: resignation, incapacitation, death, and impeachment. None of the first three happened. Yanukovych has vehemently denied that he resigned. Having decamped Kyiv, he actually asserted his role as head of state, calling the vote "illegal." "I'm not going to leave Ukraine or go anywhere. I'm not going to resign. I'm a legitimately elected president," he said. So that leaves impeachment. According to Article 111, impeachment must follow a specific set of procedures: Parliament must vote to impeach and then convene a committee to investigate. That committee must investigate and report back to parliament, which must then vote to bring charges. A final vote to convict may only come after receipt of a judgment from the Constitutional Court that "the acts, of which the President of Ukraine is accused, contain elements of treason or other crime." And this final vote would have taken the votes of at least 3/4 of all MPs (338/450), whereas only 328 MPs voted for impeachment. This means the takeover is was unconstitutional.
Since the rioting revolutionaries seized power by using force and unconstitutionally deposed the president it satisfies the legal definition of a coup: An often violent, always sudden and unlawful replacement of an existing government." This point made clear by political scientist, Jay Ulfelder:
"Even if we assume, as I do, that most participants in that uprising would not have physically harmed Yanukovich had they captured him, their forceful attempts to seize and occupy government buildings and their clashes with state security forces are clearly coercive acts....So, technically speaking, Yanukovych"s removal checks all of the boxes for what we would conventionally call a coup. We can quibble about how relevant the threat of force was to this outcome, and thus whether or not the label "parliamentary coup" might fit better than plain old coup, but the basic issue doesn't seem especially ambiguous."

Changes Were Originally Unconstitutional

The deal which the rebels managed to reach through rioting restored the 2010 amendments which were in had already deemed unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court of Ukraine on October 1st 2010. On November 18, 2010 by The Venice Commission made a report on the opinions of the court in which it stated "It also considers highly unusual that far-reaching constitutional amendments, including the change of the political system of the country - from a parliamentary system to a parliamentary presidential one - are declared unconstitutional by a decision of the Constitutional Court after a period of 6 years." The 2004 constitutional amendments were passed in Parliament only with limited with limited consultation and discussion between political forces, in the context of the Orange Revolution. They therefore attracted criticism from several internal and external bodies (the Council of Europe, the European Parliament and the Venice Commission).The rebels have been fighting for a cause deemed illegal by Ukraine's Constitutional Court and other legal bodies.

Implementation Of Amendments - Legally questionable

But even if the rebels had been fighting for legitimate constitutional change the way the changes were created is, legally, very questionable. The changes were passed under a simplified procedure without any decision of the relevant committee and was passed in the first and the second reading in one voting by 386 deputies.


Putin had moral and legal justification for his intervention. 58% of Crimean's are ethnic Russian. In a poll held by Kyiv International Institute of Sociology in May 2009 in Ukraine, 76% respondents respected the Russian establishment. This new government which had sprung up through illegal methods was anti Russian. It was a danger to ethnic Russians and did not support the views of the majority in Ukraine who respect the Russian establishment. Putin was protecting Russians when he intervened.
But it seems that the U.S have no right in criticising military intervention based on a humanitarian precedent. NATO forces led by the United States attacked Serbia in order to rescue Kosovo from "ethnic cleansing" by Serbian troops and paramilitaries. The United States, like Russia now, lacked UN authorization. The United States, like Russia, were working on a humanitarian basis. Later, a quasi-official justification was ginned up: the invasion was "illegal but legitimate" (according to one source) because of its humanitarian purpose.
Putin could thus argue for an implicit or "evolving" exception to the rules against use of force when humanitarian concerns are at issue. To avoid contradicting his position on Syria, he can argue that the distinction is that he is responsible for protecting ethnic Russian inhabitants of Ukraine, and that the mixture of populations in Ukraine could have fuel an even bloodier civil war unless Russia had moved quickly and firmly.
Russia was legally justified under international law to intervene because it was asked to by the legitimate president. Russia has displayed a letter from the ousted president asking for military help in suppressing the revolt. The current government is illegitimate, because Yanukovych was not properly removed from power in a formal impeachment. I have already established that president yanukovych is legally the legitimate president which means that under international law Putin actually does have the legal right to military intervention. The letter from Viktor Yanukovich (the rightful president) was sent to Vladimir Putin. An extract from the letter shows that Putin was definitely asked to intervene: "I would call on the president of Russia, Mr Putin, asking him to use the armed forces of the Russian Federation to establish legitimacy, peace, law and order, stability and defending the people of Ukraine".
Ashley S Deeks who studies at University of Virginia School of Law and specialises in international law states: "There are three cases in which one state may use force in or against another state: when the Security Council authorizes it under Chapter VII; when the territorial state consents; or when it is acting in self-defence against the territorial state. " Crimea's legitimate government consented, making the intervention legal. The International Court of Justice which has confirmed and applied the general rule that intervention is "allowable at the request of the government". This evidence shows that legal intervention was justified.
Russia needed to send in troops to safeguard Russians or Russian speakers in Ukraine from violent reprisals. Putin himself speaks legal justification for intervention: "It is this uncontrolled crime" he said while talking about the unlawful revolution "Therefore, if we see such uncontrolled crime spreading to the eastern regions of the country, and if the people ask us for help, while we already have the official request from the legitimate president, we retain the right to use all available means to protect those people. We believe this would be absolutely legitimate."
Ukrainians cast their votes on 16th of March 2014 and 97% of the voters wished to join Russia. Putin had parliamentary approval for a military intervention.


sidewinder forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


An Expansion On The Moral Justification For Intervention
The legal justification for intervention has already been made, but the humanitarian argument is just as strong. Putin intervened to protect Ethnic Russians. The illegitimate Ukrainian parliament, once it came to power, instantly adopted a bill to repeal the 2012 law on minority languages, which protected the status of languages other than Ukrainian, such as the Russian language. This attempt to make Ukrainian the sole state language at all levels, seemingly in an expression of Ukrainian nationalism, alienated many in the vast Russian-speaking regions of Ukraine. Although this bill was never enacted, due to a presidential veto, the majority of the new government had voted for it. It was a telling act and revealed the anti-Russian attitude of the new regime.
This government was propped by anti-Russian leaders. Dmytro Yarosh is a Ukrainian nationalist politician. He was the leader of the party known as the" Pravy Sektor" (Right Sector), which embodies some of the greatest fears of Ukraine"s ethnic Russian minority. He has openly referred to Russia as the "centuries-old enemy of Ukraine," and has spent years training a small paramilitary force to fight what he calls "Russian imperialist ambitions." At the time of the coup he was offered top positions in Ukraine"s security structures. Zoryan Shkiryak who was involved in the negotiations over Yarosh"s role in the government, says the right-wing militant was in the running to become deputy prime minister overseeing the security services. After much debate, Yarosh was offered the role of deputy head of the National Security Council, but rejected it as beneath him.
This government was a threat since it supported anti-Russian legislation and was backed by anti-Russian politicians. The fear of the new anti-Russian government was what drove ethnic Russians to fight against it. Dobrynya, an organizer of a large pro-Russian protest in the Crimean capital of Simferopol, said her greatest concern was the role of Right Sector in the new government. "We"re supposed to accept these radicals deciding who is going to rule Ukraine? That can"t happen". In four other cities of eastern Ukraine, major demonstrations called for Russia to send contingents to protect them from the "fascists."
As I have already said in round one, the majority of Ukrainians respect the Russian establishment, and so this new, illegitimate, government did not represent the views of Ukraine. When Russian military intervention came most of Ukraine thought of it as more of a liberation than an invasion. If this intervention had been a brutal attack on a nation who was resisting a foreign power we ought to have seen every Ukrainian out on the street waving flags in support of Ukraine's new government. But instead, just as the democratic referendum to join Russia had shown, people welcomed Russia. As the news of Russian intervention spread, locals in at least four major cities in the east of Ukraine climbed onto the roofs of government buildings and replaced the Ukrainian flag with the Russian tricolour. The majority wanted the Russians to intervene. The largest pro-Russian demonstration had a peak attendance of 30,000 people in Sevastopol. This is three times the largest pro-Ukrainian protest with 10,000 people attending, in Odessa. Putin could not be more justified his intervention to protect ethnic Russians against an illegal, anti-Russian, nationalist government.

The Hypocritical West

The U.S and E.U have both imposed sanctions and criticised Russia based on incorrect hypocritical arguments.
The Daily Mail reporter, Stephen Glover, highlights the West's double standards:
"How would we feel if there were an enclave in France that until 1954 was part of Britain, whose inhabitants largely saw themselves as British and spoke English? We would feel a great affinity with them, and, if they wished to re-unite with this country, and separate from France, we would support their aspirations.
Didn"t Margaret Thatcher send a taskforce halfway around the world over 30 years ago to defend the interests of 2,000 Falkland islanders who saw themselves as British?
Look how irate the Spanish are about the tiny outcrop of Gibraltar. If they can feel this way about a strip of land that has not been Spanish since 1713, and contains very few, if any, Spaniards, imagine how much more the Russians must yearn for their Crimean brethren to be re-united with them after a recent divorce that was a whim of history, and entered into without any democratic legitimacy."
Russia's intervention was legal and the Crimea has the right to leave Ukraine, as Eric Posner, Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School, tells us, "There is no law against one territory seceding from another. In fact, the right to self-determination is enshrined in the UN charter and several human rights treaties."
The American attitude towards Syria's chemical weapon use could also be an example of American hypocrisy. As Posner says, "President Obama was prepared to use military force to punish Syria for using chemical weapons against civilians, based on a mix of legal and interest-based motivations"to strengthen a norm against using chemical weapons, to protect civilians, and to weaken the Syrian government." Another instance of American hypocrisy is the intervention in Kosovo, which I discussed in round one. The West condemns the Russian "annexation" of Crimea all the while supporting Israel's creeping annexation of Palestinian land through colonial-settlement expansion. As Putin said, Western politicians seem to call things "white today and black tomorrow".
Of course denouncing the actions of Western nations does not justify Putin's actions. But it shows that the only people criticising Putin are politically motivated to do so and this means they are purposefully ignoring the valid legal arguments in support of intervention.


Putin intervened with the support of law for humanitarian reasons. In international law, if a state consents, then the use of force by another state is allowed. This is made clear by three distinguished international law professors:
Antonio Cassese, Professor of International Law at the University of Pisa
International Law (written 2001): "international use of force without Security Council mandate may be justified in self-defence; with the genuine consent of the territorial state; or in necessary and proportionate response to an unlawful but small-scale armed action by another state"
Monica Hakimi, a proffessor of international law, studied at Yale Law School,
To Condone or Condemn? Regional Enforcement Actions in the Absence of Security Council Authorization (written 2007): "The Charter prohibits the use of force against any state, except with that state"s consent, in self-defense, or as authorized by the Security Council under Chapter VII."
David Wippman, a Professor of international law, studied at Princeton University
Military Intervention, Regional, Organizations, and Host-State Consent (written 1996): "consent may validate an otherwise wrongful military intervention into the territory of the consenting state is an accepted principle."

Ukraine's legitimate government (which remains the legitimate government since the president was deposed through unconstitutional methods according to Articles 108-112 of the Constitution of Ukraine) did consent. As the letter from Viktor Yanukovich states: "I would call on the president of Russia, Mr Putin, asking him to use the armed forces of the Russian Federation to establish legitimacy, peace, law and order, stability and defending the people of Ukraine."
Putin's military intervention was justified. And the use of force for protection was morally right.


sidewinder forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by JudeMatgi 1 year ago
Well......that was a great debate, thanks sidewinder
Posted by JudeMatgi 1 year ago
I can change my introduction, however it is merely that- an introduction. I didn't want to use any of my major points on an introduction and just used it as a way to show how I came to this conclusion
Posted by Emilrose 1 year ago

Agreed. U.S action (wrong or otherwise) does still not complete the resolution. You actually have to show *how* Putin is justified.
Posted by JudeMatgi 1 year ago
Of course my entire debate isn't going to be based around that point, in fact none of the points I have conceived linked to that, it is merely an introduction.
Posted by dsjpk5 1 year ago
Comparing him to th US (or any other country) is a non-starter. All your opponent will have to do is denounce both parties.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Valkrin 1 year ago
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Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: Two forfeits from Con resulting in an uncontested case from Pro.
Vote Placed by lannan13 1 year ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Forfeiture