What does this mean for Russia and Ukraine?

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday declared martial law in the four Ukrainian territories illegally annexed by Moscow last month, raising concerns about what invoking the law could mean for the ongoing war.

During a meeting of the Russian Security Council, Putin announced that he had signed a decree that would grant emergency powers to regional leaders in all Russian regions and introduce martial law in Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhia from Thursday. In his announcement, Putin said the law was imposed to “formalize this regime within the framework of Russian legislation,” NBC News reported.

Putin can invoke martial law only when Russia faces aggression or “imminent threat of aggression.” Under martial law, control of a country’s regular civil functions and laws is temporarily transferred to the military. That means the military can impose curfews, restrict a person’s movement, confiscate civilian property, monitor communications and order citizens to rebuild destroyed infrastructure, according to the Washington Post.

Martial law will also give Russian authorities the power to carry out “mobilization measures in the economic sphere” as well as measures to “meet the needs of the armed forces of the Russian Federation,” according to an official document released by the Kremlin. The move could lead to a crackdown on anti-war protests in Russia.

In addition to mobilization measures, Russia will also set up checkpoints and carry out vehicle inspections. A special regime is expected to be put in place, the task of which would be to maintain “entry into and exit from the territory”. Authorities can also detain people for up to a month.

Regarding the operation of certain facilities, Russia said it will introduce control over the work of facilities that ensure the functioning of communications, printing houses, data centers and automated systems.

Martial law also includes provisions that would allow authorities to forcibly relocate residents to other regions, as well as to evacuate “items of economic, social and cultural importance”.

It is unclear how effectively Russia could implement martial law provisions in the annexed areas, as the four regions are not fully under the control of Russian troops.

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Fry Electronics Team

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