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Putin declares martial law in ‘annexed’ parts of Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during his address to the nation at the Kremlin in Moscow on Feb. 21, 2022. (ALEXEY NIKOLSKY/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images/TNS)
October 19, 2022

Russian President Vladimir Putin declared martial law in the four areas of eastern Ukraine that Russia recently claimed to control.

Last month, the citizens of these four eastern Ukrainian areas held referendums under Russian military supervision, and voted to have their areas recognized as Russian territory. Putin signed a decree days later, declaring Russia’s annexation of these four Ukrainian regions.

In televised remarks on Wednesday before meeting with his security council, Putin said martial law would go into effect in the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR), and the Russian-occupied regions of Zaporizhzhia and Kherson.

“I have signed a decree on the introduction of martial law in these four constituent entities of Russia,” Putin said. “It will immediately be sent to the Federation Council for approval. The State Duma has been notified of this decision.”

Putin did not specify exactly what types of restrictions may be in effect under the martial law order, but the Associated Press reported the move is meant to give Russian-backed authorities in those Russian-annexed areas three days to submit specific proposals and to begin establishing territorial defense forces in the four annexed regions.

In his remarks, Putin said martial law regimes were already in effect in the four Ukrainian regions “before they joined Russia” and said his new order is meant “to formalize this regime already within the framework of Russian legislation.”

In addition to declaring martial law in these four Russian-annexed Ukrainian territories, Putin said he also signed a decree to give “additional powers” to the heads of all Russian regions.

Putin also didn’t specify what additional powers the heads of Russian regions would receive, but said this move is meant “to ensure the safety of people, and anti-terrorist protection of critical facilities, maintaining public order, increasing the stability of the economy, industry, establishing and expanding the production of products necessary for a special military operation. To coordinate the work, the heads of regions will have the authority to create appropriate headquarters.”

Russia’s recent annexation of the four eastern Ukrainian regions has prompted backlash from the international community.

Last week the United Nations General Assembly passed a mostly symbolic resolution condemning the annexation action. The vote on that resolution was 143 nations in favor against five outright opposed, with another 35 nations like China and India abstaining from the vote.