International Law Studies


Although much has been written about the Russia-Ukraine conflict, most writings have focused on land warfare. This article explores the conflict at sea and a host of legal issues arising from that aspect of the conflict. The article begins with a discussion of a series of events at sea that preceded the Russian invasion in 2022, including the Kerch Strait incidents and interference with freedom of navigation in the Black Sea. It then discusses multiple post-invasion legal issues involving the war at sea, including access to the Black Sea, maritime exclusion zones, naval mines, naval bombardment, unmanned maritime systems, targeting and seizure of merchant vessels, humanitarian corridors, qualified neutrality, and sanctions enforcement.