Thursday, June 30, 2022

Eugene Czolij: A no-fly zone needs to be enforced now over Ukraine’s airspace

February 28, 2022 9:02 pmby Eugene Czolij
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TOPSHOT - Ukrainian service members look for and collect unexploded shells after a fighting with Russian raiding group in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv in the morning of February 26, 2022, according to Ukrainian service personnel at the scene. - Ukrainian soldiers repulsed a Russian attack in the capital, the military said on February 26 after a defiant President Volodymyr Zelensky vowed his pro-Western country would not be bowed by Moscow. It started the third day since Russian leader Vladimir Putin unleashed a full-scale invasion that has killed dozens of people, forced more than 50,000 to flee Ukraine in just 48 hours and sparked fears of a wider conflict in Europe. (Photo by Sergei SUPINSKY / AFP) (Photo by SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP via Getty Images)

On 24 February 2022, in violation of Ukraine's territorial integrity and sovereignty, Russia unleashed a full-scale military assault on Ukraine by air, ground and sea, attacking airports, ports, urban areas, civilian infrastructure and the nuclear exclusion zone in Chernobyl.

On the same day, the President of Ukraine called for the introduction of a no-fly zone over Ukraine, as well as other effective steps to stop the aggressor, and Ukrainian State Air Traffic Services Enterprise announced the suspension of the airspace of Ukraine. 

Since then, Russia has been using Ukrainian airspace to commit war crimes by indiscriminately shelling urban areas with terrible consequences for the civilian population. 

For instance, on 26 February 2022, a Russian airborne rocket struck the Okhmatdyt National Children’s Specialized Hospital in Kyiv, killing one child and injuring another three, as well as two adults.

Article 51 of the Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 (Protocol I) provides that:

“Article 51 – Protection of the civilian population

1. The civilian population and individual civilians shall enjoy general protection against dangers arising from military operations. [!p!/]

Eugene Czolij
Author:  Eugene Czolij

Eugene Czolij is president of the Ukraine-2050 nongovernmental organization and served as president of the Ukrainian World Congress from 2008-2018. Ukraine-2050 was established to help implement within one generation – by 2050 – strategies for the sustainable development of Ukraine as a fully independent, territorially integral, democratic, reformed and economically competitive European state.