Thursday, December 8

Putin declares martial law in annexed Ukrainian territories

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that he will introduce martial law in the four Ukrainian territories that he annexed on September 30 in a movement considered illegal at the international level: Donetsk, Lugansk, Kherson and Zaporizhia, which he does not control by complete.

The move comes at a time when pro-Russian leaders stationed by Moscow in southern Kherson say they will move tens of thousands of people and Russia’s new invasion commander acknowledges his troops are under pressure and may face “difficult decisions.” ” as the Ukrainian troops try to advance in the region with their counteroffensive.

“I have signed a decree introducing martial law on these four subjects of Russia. It will be sent immediately to the Federation Council for approval and the State Duma will be informed of the decision,” Putin announced at the start of the Russian Security Council meeting. As he has indicated, the decree enters into force as of this Thursday.

The steps that will be taken under martial law are unclear. According to the text of the decree published by the Kremlin, the Russian government has a period of three days to present “proposals for measures that will be applied in the territories where martial law has been imposed.” In another decree, he has ordered the creation of territorial defense units in the four annexed territories.

Putin has also assured that he has signed a decree that will grant “additional powers”, of which he has not given details, to the heads “of all Russian regions”.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov has assured that Russia does not plan to close its borders, according to the state news agency RIA-Novosti. The borders of the territories that Moscow claims to have absorbed remain unclear.

“The application of ‘martial law’ in the Russian-occupied territories should be understood only as a pseudo-legalization of the looting of Ukrainians’ property by another ‘grouping’. This does not change anything for Ukraine: we continue with the liberation and de-occupation of our territories”, tweeted the adviser to the Ukrainian president Mijailo Podoliak.

In addition, Putin has ordered an “economic mobilization” in several provinces bordering Ukraine, including Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014. The text of one of the decrees says that powers are given to the leaders of the Russian provinces to apply measures to, among other things, “protect” public order and introduce “a special regime for the exploitation of facilities that allow the operation of transport, communications and energy installations”, as well as “restrictions on the movement and inspection of vehicles”.