Ukraine orders state of emergency
Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council has called for the impostion of a thirty-day state of emergency in most of the country amidst fears that a Russian invasion is imminent.
In a press briefing on Wednesday, council chairman Aleksey Danilov revealed that the council had proposed the measure, which must first receive parliamentary approval before going into effect.
He also explained the authorities could establish both martial law and a curfew, if necessary, but there are currently no plans to do so.
According to Ukrainian law, a state of emergency imposes restrictions on the freedom of movement and imposes a ban on mass events and strikes. It also prohibits changes to the country’s constitution, electoral laws, and bans the holding of elections.
Later that day, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky inked a decree to Kiev’s parliament to impose a 30 day state of emergency beginning 24 February.
The Kiev-controlled Donetsk and Lugansk Oblasts, which have been under a special regime since 2014, are exempt from the order.
As well as announcing a state of emergency, Danilov revealed Ukraine would be drafting 36,000 reservists into the army.
The announcement comes as tensions on Ukraine’s eastern border continue to rise. Russia stands accused of placing more than 100,000 soldiers on the frontier, with some suggesting that Moscow plans to invade. The Kremlin has repeatedly denied this allegation.
The crisis in Ukraine began in 2014, following the events of the Maidan, when violent street protests toppled the democratically elected government. This led to a conflict in the east of the country, as two regions broke from Kiev’s control, and declared themselves to be the Donetsk (DPR) and Lugansk (LPR) People’s Republics.
Both the DPR and LPR remained unrecognized by any UN nation until Monday, when Russian President Vladimir Putin formally declared them to be sovereign states. He also signed a decree that would allow for Russian peacekeepers to enter the region.
On Wednesday, in response to the recognition, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba called for Western nations to impose measures against the Russian economy and Putin’s “cronies.”
“To stop Putin from further aggression, we call on partners to impose more sanctions on Russia now,” he said.