According to the decree released by the Kremlin, Putin declared martial law and it will go into effect early on Thursday.
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As the Russian military continues to experience losses in its eight-month war, Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday proclaimed martial law in four Ukrainian territories that Moscow claims to have annexed.
“I signed a decree to introduce martial law in these four subjects of the Russian Federation,” Putin said during a televised meeting of Russia’s Security Council, referring to Ukraine’s Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions.
“The Kyiv regime, as you know, refused to recognize the will and choice of the people and rejected any proposals for negotiations,” Putin said.
He also accused Ukraine of using “terrorist methods.”
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“They send sabotage groups into our territory,” he said, claiming Moscow had foiled other attacks after its Crimea bridge was targeted “including at our nuclear power facilities.”
According to the decree released by the Kremlin, martial law will go into effect early on Thursday.
The Russian-appointed governors of the four regions will also receive “additional authority,” according to Putin.
The declaration of martial law would not cause Russia to close its borders, according to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Wednesday.
Martial law grants the government broad authority to impose curfews, travel and residency restrictions, military censorship, and other measures, according to Russian law.
According to the country’s Constitution, “the rights and freedoms of citizens of the Russian Federation, foreign citizens, and stateless persons” may be limited when martial law is in place.
According to a decree issued by the Kremlin on Wednesday, Russia may implement “further measures” under the current martial law, including “general or partial mobilization,” undefined “limitations on rights and freedoms,” and “additional obligations.”
Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said in a Telegram post that the city will not impose any measures that might affect “the normal rhythm of life” in the city in an effort to allay concerns that the proclamation would have an impact on residents of the Russian capital.
The Crimean peninsula, which has been annexed, and the provinces of Krasnodar, Belgorod, Bryansk, Voronezh, Kursk, and Rostov in Russia should all step up security, establish a special entry regime, and restrict vehicle traffic over their borders, according to regulations from the Kremlin. Additionally, these areas have the power to temporarily relocate citizens to safe areas.
According to the Russian Constitution, the president may impose martial law “in the event of an attack against the Russian Federation or of a direct threat of aggression” after notifying the Federation Council and the State Duma.
The declaration of martial law was given the necessary final approval by the upper-house Federation Council later on Wednesday.
In a highly choreographed event last month, Putin announced the annexation of Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia, and Kherson following referendums that Ukraine and its Western allies deemed to be a sham.
In recent weeks, Kiev’s forces have been reclaiming territory in these areas as the Russian military has struggled with setbacks including a disorganised mobilisation attempt.
In preparation for an anticipated Ukrainian offensive to reclaim the city, Moscow’s forces are evacuating inhabitants from Kherson to the left bank of the Dnipro River on Wednesday.