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5 July 2022

The Ministry of Justice addresses the legal situation in areas now under Russian control: The occupying authorities’ laws have no application.

The Ministry issued an advisory setting out Ukraine’s position on the issue of operation of laws in the country’s occupied regions. According to it, laws and regulations of Russia’s occupying forces and administrations in those parts of the country have no legal force.

The advisory’s highlights also include:

  • Under Ukrainian law all authorities established in the occupied territories and their officials are illegal. 

  • All acts, decisions or official documents issued by such authorities or their officials are void and produce no legal effects. Their invalidity may not be legally challenged.

  • Liability for breach of individuals’ rights and liberties in the occupied territories is borne by Russia as an occupying power in accordance with the rules of international law. 

  • Ukraine does not recognize compulsory automatic acquisition of Russian citizenship by Ukrainian citizens resident in those territories. Nor is it grounds for a loss of Ukrainian citizenship.

  • Russia’s military and occupying administrations’ activities inconsistent with international law are illegal. All acts issued in connection with them are null and void. An exception made for locally issued birth and death certificates, which may be used to obtain respective Ukrainian certificates.

  • All liability for harm caused by the hostilities is placed on Russia according to the rules of international law.

  • Individuals and firms retain their existing ownership and other rights to properties (including land plots) located in the occupied territory if those were acquired in accordance with Ukrainian law. The same applies to Ukraine as a state and to its local authorities and governmental agencies.

Ukraine declared martial law in response to Russia’s military invasion in February 2022.

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