Ukraine has declared martial law in response to Russian actions against its naval vessels and claims of a ‘large scale invasion’ being planned.
The parliament backed President Petro Poroshenko’s request to introduce Martial Law in regions mostly bordering Russia for 30 days starting from 28 November.
This could lead to widespread compulsory military service, restrictions on media and public demonstrations , amongst other measures.
Ukraine approves martial law after clashes at sea with Russia, giving the government firm powers over citizens https://t.co/hWqXDHwYnB
— BBC Breaking News (@BBCBreaking) November 26, 2018
This comes after clashes occurred when a Russian cargo ship stopped three Ukrainian Navy vessels from passing under the Kerch Strait Bridge. Russia fired on and seized three Ukrainian vessels off the coast of annexed Crimea. Two gunboats and a tug were captured by Russian special forces after a chase. According to Ukraine, six Ukrainian crew members were injured.
It’s a done deal. Ukraine Declares Martial Law in 10 Regions Bordering Russia and Unrecognized Transnistria. For 30 days, starting Nov 28. Graphics by HromadkeTV pic.twitter.com/tzVHqhcC5P
— Olena Tregub (@OTregub) November 26, 2018
Earlier, Russia’s border guard service had accused Ukraine of not informing it in advance of the ships’ journey, something Kiev denied, and said the Ukrainian ships had been manoeuvring dangerously and ignoring its instructions with the aim of stirring up tensions.
Earlier today (Monday, November 26th) the President of Ukraine claimed to have evidence that Russia was planning a ‘large scale’ invasion of Ukraine.
Oana Lungescu, a NATO spokesperson, said “NATO is closely monitoring developments in the Azov Sea and the Kerch Strait, and we are in contact with the Ukrainian authorities. We call for restraint and de-escalation.”
With officials from both countries accusing the other of provocative behaviour and relations still raw after Russia’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea and its backing for a pro-Moscow insurgency in eastern Ukraine, the incident risks pushing the two countries towards a wider conflict.