Vladimir Putin declares martial law in the occupied territories of Ukraine

Vladimir Putin has declared martial law in four occupied regions and granted sweeping powers to security forces, a sign that the Russian president is struggling to regain the military initiative nearly eight months after invading Ukraine.

The move, which includes extensive travel restrictions including vehicle checks and “economic mobilization” in much of western and southern Russia, is Putin’s latest escalation as his military continues to do so. ceding land to ukraine.

Demanding that “the entire state administration system” contribute to the war effort, Putin on Wednesday told Russia’s rulers to maintain public order, ensure supplies for the armed forces and protect critical infrastructure. The measures, which precede martial law by one step, cover eight regions bordering Ukraine, including Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014.

Putin also created a “coordination council” led by the Russian Cabinet to streamline support for the invasion forces. Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said the council would focus on military equipment and supplies as well as construction and transportation logistics.

The renewed security measures are in response to Kyiv’s continued successes in counter-attacks in occupied areas, including Approach the southern city of KhersonTensions escalated at home due to the faltering Russian invasion.

Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday that “Russia has started a new phase of terrorism in the temporarily occupied territories” by implementing martial law.

US President Joe Biden said that Putin “finds himself in a very difficult situation” where his only remaining tool is to “violate citizens” and “intimidate them into giving up – they won’t.”

Putin’s attempt to raise the stakes last month by mobilizing military reserves, illegally annexing four occupied southern and eastern regions at a lavish ceremony in the Kremlin, and threatening to use nuclear weapons to defend them has largely backfired.

Russia’s failures have drawn harsh criticism of the Kremlin from pro-war hardliners who have urged Putin to step up his attack on Ukraine. as a response, Eye of Sergei Sorovikina ruthless general known, to be solely responsible for the Russian invasion forces and to launch a series of air strikes targeting critical infrastructure.

The threat of martial law — a vaguely worded point in the decree that allows Putin to enact “other measures” — raises the possibility that Russia could put the entire country at war.

Putin continues to insist that the war is a “special military operation,” a term that evokes far-reaching conflicts that allowed most Russians to go about their lives as normal until the mobilization campaign.

But Russia’s provisions on martial law allow Moscow to impose stricter controls on transportation and critical infrastructure, a ban on all public gatherings, complete wartime oversight, “additional responsibilities” for citizens, broad economic restrictions, and more restrictions on movement — even a possible exit ban. for Russian citizens.

The Kremlin and regional officials have tried to downplay the importance of Russia’s enhanced security measures. Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s spokesman, said there would be no border closure, while the governors of several border regions claimed that nothing would change for local residents under the decree.

Putin said that de facto martial law already exists in the occupied Ukrainian regions.

It was the Ukrainian army Advance slowly towards Kherson city During the past month, a counterattack aimed at forcing the Russians to withdraw to the other side of the Dnipro River.

In comments seen as paving the way for a possible surrender of Kherson, the only regional capital Russia captured in the war, Surovkin said he would have to make “difficult decisions” to secure control of the wider southern region.

Occupation authorities in Kherson said they began evacuating residents from the western bank of the Dnipro River as its Kremlin-appointed leader warned of an imminent attack by Kyiv. On Wednesday, Russian state television broadcast a video clip of what it claimed was a long line of residents preparing to board the ferries that would take them to the eastern banks of Dnipro, which is part of the Kherson region tightly controlled by Russian forces.

Ukrainian authorities said on Wednesday that allegations of the imminent evacuation and attack were part of a Russian disinformation campaign to lay the groundwork for an armed provocation that Moscow would blame on Kyiv.

Serhiy Kozan, an adviser to Ukraine’s Defense Ministry, said the evacuation announcement amounted to a “forced deportation of civilians who have been taken hostage and are being exploited” and that the warnings of Ukrainian strikes were part of a “media campaign”.

“They put the narrative before a planned provocation, in which they would blame Ukraine for the bombing of Kherson city or civilians,” Kozan told the Financial Times. This is a process of media coverage of what they are planning to do. This means that something will happen and they blame Ukraine for it.”

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