Russia's War In Ukraine: First Anniversary Realpolitik

23 Pages Posted: 22 Mar 2023 Last revised: 5 Apr 2023

Date Written: March 21, 2023


The Western press has devalued Russia’s regional security concerns. Mutual mistrust was triggered when Western leaders did not reconfirm a controversial political understanding. They ostensibly promised that if the Warsaw Pact were dissolved, NATO would not move one inch eastward. A dozen former Soviet satellites now NATO members. Several are on Russia’s borders, with more on the horizon.

The annual Munich Security Conference hosts the globe’s political and military elites. In 2007, Vladimir Putin said: “[T]he United States has overstepped its national borders. … [N]o one feels safe. … [W]e have reached that decisive moment when we must seriously think about the architecture of global security.”

Putin thereby signaled his potential shift from a 21st-century “friendly European nation” to an autocratic regime−with a view toward Making Russia Great Again. In 2008, Russia invaded Georgia, having recognized the unrecognizable unilateral declarations of independence of two Georgian provinces. In 2014, Russia annexed Crimea and initiated its illegal occupation of the Donbas region of Ukraine. Russia facilitated unrecognized referenda, whereby it claimed to have democratically annexed both regions of Ukraine. In 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine, hoping to overtake the entire country.

This article is a revised version of the author’s presentation on the first anniversary of the war. It was co-sponsored by the Thomas Jefferson School of Law Diversity Committee, American Society of International Law, and San Diego’s House of Ukraine. This adaptation recaps how Russia’s war against Ukraine has violated the: (1) UN Charter; (2) Helsinki Accords; (3) Budapest Memorandum; (4) Minsk Agreements; (5) International Humanitarian Law; and (6) International Human Rights Law.

The US resolve to stay the course−urged by a half-dozen UN General Assembly resolutions, NATO, G20, and various western leaders−faces pushback. The most prominent is the pending the US House of Representatives “Ukraine Fatigue Resolution.” If it succeeds, or Russia wins this war, Putin will have accomplished the above “decisive moment” by changing “the architecture of global security.” He will have shattered the holy grail−the post-WWII global order prohibiting the annexation of territory via conquest.

Keywords: War, Ukraine, UN Charter, Helsinki Accords, Budapest Memorandum, Minsk Agreements, International Humanitarian Law, International Human Rights Law, Ukraine Fatigue Resolution, Diplomacy.

JEL Classification: A23, B22, F01, F50, F51, F52, F53, F55, F59, F61, F62, N10,

Suggested Citation

Slomanson, William R., Russia's War In Ukraine: First Anniversary Realpolitik (March 21, 2023). 45 T. Jefferson L. Rev. forthcoming 2023, Thomas Jefferson School of Law Research Paper No. 4395960, Available at SSRN: or

William R. Slomanson (Contact Author)

Thomas Jefferson School of Law ( email )

701 B Street
Suite 110
San Diego, CA 92101
United States

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