According to CNN (Europe), a Red Cross worker tried to bring in supplied to the navy headquarters in Crimea. Probably, this aid was intended for the military of Ukraine in Crimea.

"The men blocking the navy headquarters entrance turned away a Sevastopol Red Cross worker who tried to bring in supplies.", http://edition.cnn.com/2014/03/05/world/europe/ukraine-crimea-local-color/

Is it legal for the Red Cross and other aid organisations to give aid to belligerent forces or non-civilians in a conflict such as this? And if so, is it their policy to give such aid?

  • -1 for the charged wording. "Probably, this aid was intended for the military of Ukraine in Crimea." The linked article makes pretty clear that someone tried to bring food to people in a military installation whose supplies were cut off by others. Also, "belligerent forces"? And thirdly, it mentions actions of one "Sevastopol Red Cross worker" without implying anything about the whole organisation's stance.
    – arne.b
    Mar 7, 2014 at 12:36
  • Is it unreasonable to find it probable that people in a military installation belonging to the armed forces of Ukraine are military personel and thus being intended for the military of Ukraine? - I find it a reasonable deduction. The government in Kiev, and many others, have made the claim that Russia has made an act of aggression. Thus they are in a state of war, and therefore are "belligerent forces". I have made no such claim that the Red Cross as an organisation is behind this - I'm asking questions about this - not asserting.
    – Centril
    Mar 7, 2014 at 13:02

1 Answer 1


In your article, the military personnel in the Ukrainian installation are not in a state of conflict with the Russian troops. They appear to have surrendered.

Either you surrender, or you're at the gunpoint of your ex-friend," Zaborovska said.

They are "belligerents" and non-civilians, yes. But after surrendering they have rights as prisoners of war. The Russian troops or volunteer civil defense forces, whatever they are, are required by the Geneva Convention to provide them adequate food, medical care and shelter. Not only is it legal for the Red Cross to inspect the conditions of POWs and provide them aid such as food, but it is required that those inspections be allowed.

  • Good info, thanks - if they have surrendered, shouldn't they leave the premises when the ones they have surrendered to orders them to? Have they really surrendered in the eyes of international law? On a theoretical note, out of curiosity, if they are not POWs but in a state of conflict, how is the legal situation then?
    – Centril
    Mar 8, 2014 at 18:29
  • 1
    @Centril POWs are rarely just released. There might be a "parole" system being used, since the Russia troops claim they can leave and they should take a loyalty oath, so some maybe wont take the oath or they keep them to exchange. Without more info, it def seems they have surrendered, but this is why the Red Cross is supposed to be an objective international observer. The Red Cross still has to be allowed to observe. If they haven't surrendered then Red Cross just leaves and it goes on and they don't get other aid except to remove wounded from both sides. Wounded are no longer combatants.
    – Razie Mah
    Mar 9, 2014 at 5:18

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