ANCORS Seminar on ‘The Law of Naval Warfare and the Armed Conflict between Russia and Ukraine’

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  • Innovation Campus (Wollongong)
    Room 233.G12, Ground Floor Building 233, Innovation Campus and online via Webex

In any situation of international armed conflict, such as that between Ukraine and Russia right now, the conduct of war is regulated by a system of rules designed to control and mitigate the harmful effects of war by extending a minimum standard of protection to combatants and non-combatants. In the maritime context, the law of naval warfare is a unique branch of the law, which draws on prize law, the law of neutrality, the law of armed conflict and the law of the sea, to regulate armed conflict at sea.

This ANCORS Seminar is designed to be a forum to discuss and analyse the operational-legal issues surrounding some of the maritime aspects of the armed conflict between Russia and Ukraine. The seminar is divided into two roundtable panels of legal experts in the field of naval operations and the law of naval warfare. The first panel will discuss the situation before the escalation of the armed conflict in February 2022, including the geopolitical overview and the applicable international rules. The second panel will discuss the legality of the various military operations that occurred during the armed conflict in the Black Sea, the impact of the conflict for non-belligerent States, as well as the importance of the regime governing the Turkish Straits.

Panel 1 – Legal and Geopolitical Overview

Moderator: Professor Robert McLaughlin


  • Professor Robin Warner - Questions focussing on Crimea status, maritime security and law enforcement authorities, legal aspects of straits and Kerch Strait.
  • Vice Admiral Peter Jones  - Questions focussing on maritime operations and how they incorporate law of the sea issues generally, then on components of Russian activity in the Black Sea, and on-water aspects of Kerch Strait incident and the HMS Defender incident.
  • Professor Cameron Moore  - Questions focusing on issues of use of force at sea outside situations of armed conflict, and closer look at use of force in Kerch Strait incident, and HMS Defender incident, and available responses

Panel 2 – Armed Conflict at the Black Sea and the Law of Naval Warfare

Moderator: Professor Stuart Kaye


  • Vice Admiral Peter Jones - Questions focussing on maritime operations since the escalation in February 2022, types of Russian maritime forces in the AO, conduct of amphibious and land attack operations, as well as ISR.
  • Professor Rob McLaughlin - Questions focussing on neutrality and blockade.
  • Professor David Letts - Questions focussing on how Law of the Sea and Law of Naval Warfare interact, and on law relating to attacks at sea, and from sea to land (eg Serpent Island).

 The Seminar will be held in person at ANCORS as well as through Webex.

Room 233.G12, Ground Floor ANCORS, Building 233, Innovation Campus
University of Wollongong, NSW 2522 Australia

Please note that space for in-person attendance is limited and registration is mandetary.


(capped at 30 people)


(a link will be emailed to you once your registration is received)