Putin declares martial law in annexed regions of Ukraine

MOSCOW (AP) – Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday declared martial law in four Ukrainian regions annexed by Moscow and granted emergency powers to all regional governors in Russia, opening the door to new restrictions across the country.

Putin did not immediately specify what steps would be taken under martial law, but said his order was effective from Thursday. His decree gave law enforcement agencies three days to submit specific proposals and ordered the creation of regional defense forces in annexed territories.

The upper house of Russia’s parliament quickly approved Putin’s decision to impose martial law in the annexed regions of Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk and Zaporizhia. The approved legislation indicated that the declaration could include restrictions on travel and public gatherings, stricter censorship and broader powers for law enforcement agencies.

“We are working to solve a large number of difficult tasks to ensure Russia’s security and secure future, to protect our people,” Putin said in televised remarks at the start of the Security Council meeting. “Those who are on the frontline or training at the firing ranges and training centers should feel our support and understand that behind them is our great, great country and united people.”

On Saturday, the Russian Defense Ministry said two men opened fire on soldiers at a military firing range near Ukraine, killing 11 and wounding 15. The ministry said two men from an unidentified former Soviet republic opened fire on volunteer soldiers during a target practice, killing them. fire back.

Putin did not provide details of the additional powers the heads of Russian regions have under his decree. However, the order states that the measures envisaged by martial law can be applied anywhere in Russia “when necessary”.

Under Russian law, martial law may require banning public gatherings, imposing travel bans and curfews, and conducting censorship, among other restrictions.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Putin’s order is not expected to close Russia’s borders, state news agency RIA-Novosti reported. In an apparent attempt to calm an anxious public, regional officials rushed to announce that no immediate curfews or travel restrictions were planned.

Putin last month ordered the mobilization of military reserves, prompting millions to flee Russia.

The Russian leader on Wednesday ordered the creation of a coordination committee to increase interaction between government agencies to deal with the fighting in Ukraine, which Putin called a “special military operation.”

Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, who was named to head the committee, said the focus would be on increasing supplies of weapons and military equipment, carrying out construction work and facilitating transportation.

In Russia’s regions bordering Ukraine, authorities plan to tighten security at key facilities and check drivers.

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