The armed conflict in Ukraine shows how difficult it sometimes is to clearly identify the nature of armed conflict. This is connected primarily with the lack of the full range of information on facts – knowledge of which is essential for determining the degree of control by a third country (Russia) over non-State party to an armed conflict (Ukrainian separatists). It is especially difficult to make such an assessment while armed conflict continues and is undoubtedly easier when the judgment is made after the fact, when there is access to intelligence and testimony of witnesses.
This paper presents a factual section which then concentrates on the legal framework for armed conflicts in general and examines the types of armed conflicts and international humanitarian law applicable to them. The legal ramifications are followed by an analysis of the events in the Crimea and eastern Ukraine in order to apply the law to the facts. The author attempts to establish whether the situation in the Crimea and eastern Ukraine is an international or non-international armed conflict and what law is applicable.