Putin comments on possibility of martial law in Russia
President Vladimir Putin on Saturday denied rumors that Russia was poised to declare a state of emergency or martial law due to the ongoing military operation in Ukraine and Western sanctions against Moscow.
“Martial law is declared in a country… in case of a foreign aggression, including in particular places where hostilities take place. We don’t have a case like this, and I hope we won’t,” Putin said in a televised meeting with Russian female airline personnel.
Russian law also provides for various forms of special states or a state of emergency to be declared due to serious domestic threats or disasters, Putin added. That is not the case now either, he said.
“We don’t plan to impose any special state on the territory of the Russian Federation,” the president reassured those who attended the meeting. “There is no need for it today.”
A senior Ukrainian official earlier this week claimed its foreign intelligence service had learned that Putin might “preventively” declare martial law in Russia on Friday. Presidential aide Mikhail Podolyak claimed without evidence that Russia would ban all protests, cut any contacts with other nations, and impose other restrictions. The prediction never materialized.
Putin didn’t refer to any specific claims, but said predictions of Russia going on a war footing was part of a propaganda campaign being waged against it.
“Only professional military staff are participating” in the Russian operation in Ukraine, he said. “Not a single conscript is there, and we don’t plan” to change that. Every Russian soldier and officer in Ukraine made a choice to join the ranks, and they are fulfilling their duty there with honor, Putin said.
Staying on the issue of foreign military threats, Putin declared that an attempt to establish and enforce a no-fly zone over Ukraine by foreign powers would be treated as an act of joining the military conflict by whichever nation would attempt it.
“We wouldn’t care about members of which [organizations] such a country is,” Putin stressed, adding that he hoped no such attempt would be made.
Putin met the pilots and cabin crew on Saturday to congratulate them and other Russian women ahead of International Women’s Day, which is a major holiday in the country.