As his military fights to hold onto territory in the face of Ukrainian advances, President Vladimir Putin declared Wednesday that Russia would establish martial law in the four areas of Ukraine that it illegally acquired last month.
“At this point, we must formally establish this regime under Russian law. Therefore, I issued an order imposing martial law in these four Russian Federation provinces,” Putin declared on state television.
Putin told his Security Council that martial law will be immediately imposed in Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Luhansk, and Donetsk and that a new state coordinating council would be created to carry out the goals of his’special military operation’.
The four regions had contentious referendums last month on whether or not to join Russia, which the international world and Ukraine roundly denounced as invalid. Some locals claimed that they were coerced or otherwise pushed into voting, and that the results were predetermined.
Putin officially annexed the four territories at the end of September in spite of the criticisms.
Additionally, on Wednesday, Putin issued a decree imposing new restrictions on the Ukrainian borderlands of Crimea, Belgorod, Voronezh, Kursk, and Rostov. A number of the places, which have served as crucial staging grounds for Russia’s conflict in Ukraine, have recently come under intensifying Ukrainian bombardment.
The decree appears to create the framework for organizing locals to help the armed forces and security agencies and permits an indeterminate level of economic mobilization in the areas. The measures leave a lot of latitude for interpretation, which gives the state more legal leeway.
HEAVY WEEK OF BATTLE
Putin’s announcement came after a bloody week of fighting in Ukraine. Russian forces have conducted waves of missile and “kamikaze” drone strikes across Ukraine in retaliation for the bombing of a crucial bridge leading to Crimea, killing civilians and severely damaging vital infrastructure including power plants in the process.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the president of Ukraine, stated on Tuesday evening that 30% of the nation’s power plants have been offline since the strikes started on October 10 as a result of Russia’s most recent tactical shift, the use of so-called standoff missiles and drones against infrastructure and other distant targets. Russian officials have issued a warning that there will be more.