Ukraine: Legal consequences a year after Russia’s full-scale attack | In Principle

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Ukraine: Legal consequences a year after Russia’s full-scale attack

It has been over 450 days since the outbreak of a full-scale war in the very heart of Europe. As the courageous defence by the Ukrainian nation continues and the fate of war is yet to be decided on the battlefield, the legal implications of the conflict and the prospects ahead also draw public attention.

In late March 2023 we hosted a New York State Bar Association conference in Warsaw on the legal consequences a year after Russia’s full-scale attack on Ukraine (read more). The event featured discussions on several legal aspects of the war and, most important, post-war issues. Here are some of the conference highlights.

The world of sanctions: How did we adjust?

In a session on sanctions moderated by Joanna Krakowiak, panellists discussed the practical difficulties businesses faced after the first broad packages of economic and trade sanctions were imposed on the Russian Federation and Belarus in 2022. In the course of adapting to the new legal framework for doing business, the private and public sectors had to elaborate new know-your-customer and compliance procedures as well as seek regulatory authorisation in order to comply with certain provisions of the sanctions regime.

Prosecution of crimes against Ukraine as a driver of evolution of international criminal law

The session on the prosecution of crimes against Ukraine addressed the main types of international crimes and presented several workstreams for holding the Russian Federation and its senior officials responsible for international crimes. The panellists pointed to the challenges facing the international community and Ukraine, which will likely lead to new developments in the field of international criminal and humanitarian law.

Compensation for economic damage inflicted by the Russian invasion

Compensation for damage caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine was one of the hottest topics of the conference. The panellists discussed the prospects of available legal mechanisms for compensation of damage, including litigation and investor-state arbitration, as well as introduction of new mechanisms, such as establishment of an international compensation mechanism for the recovery of damages for the injury inflicted in the course of the Russian war in Ukraine.

Restructuring/reconstruction of the region

The speakers highlighted the importance of international financial and governmental institutions and strengthening of the rule of law for ensuring post-war investments and reconstruction of Ukraine. The current challenges deriving from the war may become a defining moment for ensuring the pre-eminence of the rule of law in Ukraine’s legal and business culture.

Investments into the region: Realities and prospects

In the session on the realities and prospects of new investments in both Ukraine and Poland, the panel underlined two trends: the significant decrease of ordinary transactions because of the war, and the appearance of new types of investments arising from the severe destruction of critical infrastructure, increased demand for armaments, and attempts to diversify risks. To illustrate the current state of affairs, the businesspeople invite to appear on the panel shared their experience of developing business during wartime, while international donors and financial organisations presented their current projects and areas of focus in the region.

In this issue of, we examine in more depth some of the most vital of these topics:

Anna Dąbrowska, attorney-at-law, Maciej A. Szewczyk, attorney-at-law, Mariia Derechina, M&A and Corporate practice, Wardyński & Partners