Putin Declares Martial Law in New Russian Territories Amid Kiev's 'Terrorist' Shelling
11:51 GMT 19.10.2022 (Updated: 20:57 GMT 19.10.2022)
The Russian president convened a meeting of the Security Council on Wednesday to discuss the situation in Ukraine and the Russian regions bordering the conflict zone. A day earlier, General Sergei Surovikin, the commander of Russian forces taking part in the special operation in Ukraine, characterized the situation in Kherson as "very difficult."
Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree on the introduction of a state of martial law in Kherson, Zaporozhye, the Donetsk People's Republic and the Lugansk People's Republic.
"I have signed a decree on the introduction of a state of martial law in these four constituent entities of the Russian Federation. It will immediately be sent for approval to the Federation Council [Russia's upper house of parliament], and the State Duma will be informed of the decision," Putin said, speaking at a meeting of the Russian Security Council on Wednesday.
The Federation Council is expected to convene later in the day to rubber-stamp the decree.
The text of the decree has been published
on the Kremlin's website, and indicates that martial law will be introduced at 00:00 on October 20 in the affected areas. The decree is grounded in provisions in the Russian Constitution, and the 2002 federal law 'On Martial Law'.
"The constitutional laws on the admission of four new regions into the Russian Federation have come into force. The Kiev regime, as you are aware, has refused to recognize the will and choice of the people, and has rejected any proposals for negotiations. On the contrary, shelling continues. Innocent people are dying," Putin said. "The Neo-Nazis are using openly terrorist methods, sabotaging critical infrastructure, assassinating representatives of local authorities," the president added.
Putin also instructed the government to create a "special coordinating council" to coordinate efforts to improve security, with the council to be headed by Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin.
19 October 2022, 01:35 GMT
The president also introduced a 'high alert regime' in areas of Russia's Southern Federal District, including Crimea, Krasnodar, Belgorod, Bryansk, Voronezh, Kursk and Rostov. Regional authorities are instructed to exercise their authority as required to implement measures aimed at ensuring preparedness for territorial and civil defense, the protection of the population in emergency situations, and to meet the needs of the Russian Armed Forces and other military formations, security organs, and local residents as they may arise.
Regions are also tasked with strengthening public order and safety, including the protection of military and state facilities, vital infrastructure, transport, communications, energy facilities, and sensitive sites which pose increased risks to the life and safety of people and the environment (nuclear power plants, for example). The measures may also include restrictions on the movement of vehicular traffic and their inspection, and the stepping up of controls over transport, communications, print houses, computing and automated system, and their use for defense needs as required. In addition, any residents temporarily evacuated from dangerous areas must be provided with temporary housing.
Wednesday's Security Council meeting and the introduction of martial law and 'high alert regimes' in areas of Russia bordering Ukraine comes following General Surovikin's briefing with media Tuesday night in which he described the situation across the entire front as "tense,"
and that along the Kharkov direction as "very difficult" as Ukrainian forces continue attempts to make advances.
18 October 2022, 17:33 GMT
Saying the Russian military has been apprised of plans by Kiev to use prohibited means of warfare in Kherson, including indiscriminate missile and rocket attacks against the city and a massed missile strike on the Khakovskaya Dam, Surovikin warned that such actions would cause major casualties among the civilian population and widespread material destruction.
Earlier in the day Wednesday, Kherson region acting governor Vladimir Saldo warned that the destruction of the locks at the Kakhovskaya hydroelectric power station would cause water levels to rise by one meter, causing mass flooding. The facility has already been targeted in a Ukrainian HIMARS attack, according to the Russian military.
Kherson, Zaporozhye and the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics joined Russia earlier this month following referendums held in late September in which vast majorities of residents voted in favor of their regions becoming part of the Russian Federation. Western officials dismissed the referendums as a "sham," accused Russia of "annexing" the territories, and vowed to ramp up military support for Ukraine.
17 October 2022, 07:37 GMT