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UPSC Mains 2022

Russia and Ukraine war has been going on for the last seven months. Different countries have taken independent stands and actions keeping in view their own national interests. We are all aware that war has its own impact on the different aspects of society, including human tragedy. What are those ethical issues that are crucial to be considered while launching the war and its continuation so far? Illustrate with justification the ethical issues involved in the given state of affair.

General Studies Paper - 4, Topic - Ethics

Jan 06, 2023

2 min read

There are several ethical issues that are important to consider when launching a war or engaging in ongoing armed conflict. If we specifically talk about the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine, the ethical issues involved include:


1. Just cause: It is generally considered ethical for a country to go to war only if it is in self-defense or to protect against an imminent threat. It is not considered ethical to go to war for selfish or aggressive reasons. Russia used the illusory threat from Ukraine's membership of NATO as a reason for going to war against Ukraine. From Russia's perspective, it may be considered a just cause.




2. Proportionality: The use of force should be proportional to the threat faced. It is not ethical to use excessive or disproportionate force. Russia's territorial claims and forced annexations of Ukraine's sovereign lands may be seen as a violation of the principle of just cause.


3. Discrimination: It is important to discriminate between military targets and civilian targets. Attacking civilian targets or engaging in practices that disproportionately harm civilians is generally considered unethical. The bombardment of Ukrainian cities and resulting civilian casualties may not be viewed favorably in terms of Russia's international standing.


4. Responsibility to protect: It is the responsibility of the state to protect its citizens from harm, including during times of war. This includes providing for their basic needs and ensuring their safety. International sanctions may affect the long-term interests of the people of Russia.


It is important for all parties to consider these ethical principles and strive to adhere to them as much as possible in order to minimize harm to civilians and protect human rights.

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