International Law Studies


Martin Fink


Following the collapse of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, both Russia and Ukraine announced measures against shipping that may have introduced counter-contraband operations into the maritime dimension of the Russia-Ukraine conflict. The law of contraband, which is at the heart of the law of naval warfare, regulates such operations. The law of contraband has, however, not been often used in current conflicts and some of its details are not crystalized as generally accepted law. Awakening this instrument in the current conflict brings questions for both belligerents and non-State parties, some of whom have adopted a position of qualified neutrality that allows them to militarily support Ukraine. This article revisits the law of contraband in the context of the current conflict and discusses the intersection between the law of contraband and the concept of qualified neutrality.