Regulatory and Legal Provision of the Fight Against Illegal Armed Groups in Ukraine

: pp. 96 - 111
Lviv Polytechnic National University, Ukraine

Problem setting. The definition of illegal armed groups is analyzed, the content of problems that need a legal provision to combat illegal armed groups is determined. The system of Ukrainian normative legal acts and key international legal acts related to terrorism and the fight against terrorist financing is outlined.

Problem statement. Armed aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine, in particular, armed clashes and hostilities with the participation of regular or irregular forces of the Russian Federation, illegal armed groups and terrorist organizations at the Ukrainian state border, as well as provocative activities of the occupation administration of the Russian Federation in the occupied Donetsk and Luhansk regions, and sabotage, requires measures to ensure the national security of Ukraine. The improvement of legal framework for combating the regular Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, the illegal armed groups and terrorist organizations is an important component for ensuring national security.

Analysis of recent research and publications. Issues related to the activities of illegal armed groups in eastern Ukraine, as well as regulatory provisions in this matter have been studied by a number of researchers. In particular, O. Fedenko and B. Panasyuk in their research consider the illegal armed groups as an instrument of hybrid warfare in eastern Ukraine. V. Kobko, V. Servatyuk and M. Polishchuk studied the structure, configuration and development of forms and methods of combat operations of the illegal armed groups. R. Dudarets investigates the creation and activity of illegal armed groups. However, based on the aggravation of the situation in eastern Ukraine and the intensification of the activity of the illegal armed groups, the legal aspects of combating the illegal armed groups need further research and improvement.

Highlighting of previously unresolved parts of the overall problem. The contribution of the above-mentioned researchers is important, however it is necessary to pay attention to the need for further research in this matter. The aim of the study is to analyze the legal provisions for recognition of the Russian Federation as an aggresor at the legislative level, to classify the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine as an international conflict, to recognize the occupation administration of the Russian Federation in the occupied Donetsk and Luhansk regions as terrorist organizations.

Statement of basic materials. The escalation of the conflict in eastern Ukraine is associated with the aggressive behavior of the Russian Federation and the intensification of the activity of the illegal armed groups that supported and controlled the Russian Federation.

The illegal armed groups can be defined on the basis of the UN Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, from the notes to Art. 260 (“Creation of non- statutory paramilitary or armed formations”) of the Criminal Code of Ukraine or based on the characteristics of their formation and activities.

Main problems related to the armed aggression of the Russian Federation: recognition of the Russian Federation as an aggressor state in Ukraine and in the world and recognition of the occupation administrations of the Russian Federation in the occupied Donetsk and Luhansk regions as terrorist organizations and therefore recognition of armed groups as terrorists at the legislative and international levels. Ukraine managed only to appeal to international organizations by issuing the Resolution of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, which had no legal consequences.

The non-recognition of the occupation administrations of the Russian Federation in the occupied Donetsk and Luhansk regions, and hence the illegal armed groups as terrorist organizations is confirmed by the fact that the occupation administrations are not included in the List of Persons Related to Terrorism or International Sanctions according to the Resolutions of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine.

There is a certain legal inconsistency concerning which article of the Criminal Code of Ukraine should be used to prosecute illegal armed groups: Art. 258-3 (assistance to terrorist organizations) or Art. 260 (creation of paramilitary or armed formations not provided by law).

In general, the legal framework for combating terrorism includes the following: the Constitution of Ukraine, the Criminal Code of Ukraine, the Law of Ukraine “On Combating Terrorism”, the Law of Ukraine “On Preventing and Combating Money Laundering, terrorist financing and financing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction “, and other laws. The European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism, the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism, as well as other conventions relating to bombings, nuclear terrorism, hostage-taking, etc. are important in terms of international legal instruments.

Conclusions and prospects for further research. The concept of an illegal armed group is defined in the notes to Art. 260 (“Creation of paramilitary or armed formations not provided by law”) of the Criminal Code of Ukraine. In general, there may be another definition of the illegal armed group as any armed group, which is created and operates contrary to Ukrainian law in order to sabotage the current constitutional order, change the territory of the state, achieve any other anti-government political goals by using weapons, explosives and more.

It is determined that the main problem lies in the fact that the conflict in eastern Ukraine is not recognized as the international armed conflict, and the occupation administrations of the Russian Federation in the occupied Donetsk and Luhansk regions and illegal armed groups are not recognized as terrorist organizations.

Further analysis and research shall be done on regulations on the fight against terrorism in general and the illegal armed groups in particular, which have already been adopted and will be adopted by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine in the future in connection with the escalation of the conflict with the Russian Federation.

  1. Ievropeiska konventsiia pro borotbu z teroryzmom EST № 90. Ratyfikovana Zakonom Ukrainy № 2990-III vid 17.01.2002 r. URL : show/994_ 331#Text.
  2. Zhenevska Konventsiia pro povodzhennia z viiskovopolonenymy. vid 12.08.1949 r. URL : laws/show/995_153#Text.
  3. Konstytutsiia Ukrainy vid 28.06.1996 r. [Tekst] // Vidomosti Verkhovnoi Rady Ukrainy. 1996. № 30. St. 141.
  4. Kryminalnyi kodek Ukrainy.  Zakon Ukrainy № 2341-III vid 05.04.2001 r. URL : 2341-14#Text.
  5. Mazur Ye. Pravo proty teroru: shcho dast Ukraini zakon pro vyznannia “DNR” i “LNR” ter orhanizatsiiamy. URL : zakon_pro_viznannya_dnr_i_lnr_terorganizatsiyami_n536997.
  6. Mizhnarodna konventsiia pro borotbu z finansuvanniam teroryzmu. Ratyfikovana Zakonom Ukrainy № 149-IV vid 12.09.2002 r. URL : https://zakon.rada. 518#Text.
  7. Naukovo-praktychnyi komentar Kryminalnoho kodeksu Ukrainy. 5-te vyd., pererobl. ta dopovn. (2008) / za red. M. I. Melnyka ta M. I. Khavroniuka. – K. : Yuryd. Dumka, 1216 s.
  8. Perelik osib, poviazanykh iz zdiisnenniam terorystychnoi diialnosti abo stosovno yakykh zastosovano mizhnarodni sanktsii. Nakaz Derzhavnoi sluzhby finansovoho monitorynhu № 183 vid 07.10.2010 r. URL : BlackList Full.pdf.
  9. Prytiahnennia za teroryzm. Verkhovnyi sud dav roziasnennia shchodo “L/DNR”. .     URL      : verhovnij-sud-dav-rozasnenna-sodo-ldnr.html
  10. Pro borotbu z teroryzmom. Zakon Ukrainy № 638-IV vid 20.03.2003 r. URL : 638-15#Text.
  11. Pro zabezpechennia prav i svobod hromadian ta pravovyi rezhym na tymchasovo okupovanii terytorii Ukrainy. Zakon Ukrainy № 1207-VII vid 15.04.2014 r. URL : laws/show/1207-18#Text.
  12. Pro zapobihannia vykorystanniu finansovoi systemy dlia tsilei vidmyvannia hroshei abo finansuvannia teroryzmu, shcho vnosyt zminy do Rehlamentu (EU) № 648/2012 Yevropeiskoho Parlamentu i Rady, a takozh skasovuie Dyrektyvu 2005/60/ES Yevropeiskoho Parlamentu i Rady ta Dyrektyvu Komisii 2006/70/ES. Dyrektyva (EU) 2015/849 Yevropeiskoho Parlamentu ta Rady vid 20 travnia 2015 r. URL :
  13. Pro zapobihannia ta protydiiu lehalizatsii (vidmyvanniu) dokhodiv, oderzhanykh zlochynnym shliakhom, finansuvanniu teroryzmu ta finansuvanniu rozpovsiudzhennia zbroi masovoho znyshchennia. Zakon Ukrainy № 361-IX vid 06.12.2019 r. URL :
  14. Pro zatverdzhennia Polozhennia pro yedynu derzhavnu systemu zapobihannia, reahuvannia i prypynennia terorystychnykh aktiv ta minimizatsii  yikh  naslidkiv. Postanova Kabinetu Ministriv Ukrainy № 92 vid 18.02.2016 r. URL :
  15. Pro zatverdzhennia Poriadku formuvannia pereliku osib, poviazanykh z provadzhenniam terorystychnoi diialnosti abo shchodo yakykh zastosovano mizhnarodni sanktsii. Postanova Kabinetu Minstriv Ukrainy № 622 vid 22.08.2020 r. URL :
  16. Pro Zvernennia Verkhovnoi Rady Ukrainy do Orhanizatsii Obiednanykh Natsii, Yevropeiskoho Parlamentu, Parlamentu Asamblei Rady Yevropy, Parlamentskoi Asamblei NATO, Parlamentskoi Asamblei OBSIe, Parlamentskoi Asamblei HUAM, natsionalnykh parlamentiv derzhav svitu pro vyznannia Rosiiskoi Federatsii derzhavoiu-ahresorom. Postanova Verkhovnoi Rady Ukrainy № 129 – VIII  vid 27 sichnia 2015 r..  URL : show/129-19#Text.
  17. Pro Kontseptsiiu borotby z teroryzmom v Ukraini.  Ukaz Prezydenta Ukrainy № 53/2019 vid 05.03.2019 r. URL :
  18. Pro osoblyvosti derzhavnoi polityky iz zabezpechennia  derzhavnoho suverenitetu Ukrainy na tymchasovo okupovanykh terytoriiakh u Donetskii ta Luhanskii oblastiakh. Zakon Ukrainy № 2268-VIII vid 18.01.2018 r. URL : https://zakon.rada. 2268-19#Text.
  19. Pro rishennia Rady natsionalnoi bezpeky i oborony Ukrainy vid 2 veresnia 2015 roku  “Pro  novu  redaktsiiu  Voiennoi  doktryny  Ukrainy”  Ukaz  Prezydenta  Ukrainy №  555/2015  vid  24.09.2015  r.  (Ne  chynnyi).     URL  : show/555/2015#Text.
  20. Pro rishennia Rady natsionalnoi bezpeky i oborony Ukrainy vid 6 travnia 2015 r. “Pro zakhody shchodo posylennia borotby zi zlochynnistiu v Ukraini”: Ukaz Prezydenta Ukrainy № 341/2015 vid 16.06.2015 r.. URL : show/341/ 2015#Text.
  21. Rekomendatsii FATF: mizhnarodni standarty borotby z vidmyvanniam koshtiv, finansuvanniam teroryzmu i rozpovsiudzhenniam zbroi masovoho znyshchennia. Metodolohiia z otsinky tekhnichnoi vidpovidnosti rekomendatsiiam FATF ta efektyvnosti systemy protydii vidmyvanniu koshtiv ta borotby z finansuvanniam teroryzmu. Pravyla ta protsedury 5-ho raundu vzaiemnykh  otsinok Komitetom  MONEYVAL. URL : FATF.pdf.
  22. Soldatenko, M. Soldatenko, D. Pershe rishennia z Haahy: shcho oznachaie nakaz Sudu OON u spravi proty Rosii shchodo “henotsydu”. URL : https://www.eurointegration. articles/2022/03/17/ 7136140/.