The president of the Law Society of England and Wales, I. Stephanie Boyce, has issued a statement condemning Russian hostility against Ukraine in Eastern Europe, as well as offering the Law Society’s support to its members in the region.
“We are gravely concerned by the news from Ukraine. A clear principle of international law is that a state is prohibited from the use or threat of force against another state. We hope for a swift end to hostilities and our thoughts are with all those affected.
We are supporting and will continue to support our members in the region.”
This comes as Russian president Vladmir Putin announced on Thursday morning that Russia would be performing a “special military operation” in Ukraine, with its goals being the demilitarisation and “denazification” of the country. Many citizens have began to flee their nation, and loud blasts were reportedly heard in many of Ukraine’s major cities.
There are reportedly “relatively few UK lawyers or firms based in the affected regions“, but several firms have offices in the capital, Kyiv. According to The Gazzette, CMS Cameron McKenna has 40 domestic and internationally qualified lawyers in its Kyiv office, while Baker McKenzie and Dentons also operate from the country. The Law Society’s statement indicates that they will be offering their support to any of its members in the region.
Boyce’s sentiment was echoed by Sternford Moyo, president of the International Bar Association:
“This act by President Putin is a watershed moment that indisputably violates international law. Member states of the United Nations have, since 1945, agreed that territory should only change hands by consent. This rule is at the centre of maintaining international law and order between states.”