Ukraine To Declare State Of Emergency, Allow Citizens To Arm Themselves
Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council on Wednesday said à state of emergency will be introduced across all parts of the country except Donetsk and Luhansk.
“Across the territory of our country, apart from Donetsk and Luhansk, a State of Emergency will be introduced,” Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council, was quoted by CNN as saying on Wednesday.
The measure is expected to be approved by the Ukrainian parliament within 48 hours and would last for 30 days, with the possibility of it being extended for an additional 30 days.
Speaking during a press briefing in Kyiv, Mr Danilov said the State of Emergency would include “strengthening public order and security at critical infrastructure facilities” and tightening inspections on certain transportation movements.
“Depending on the local circumstances, there may be stronger or milder measures to ensure the security of our country,” he added.
“These are all preventative measures, in order to preserve peace and calm in the country and for the economy to continue to work.”
Ukraine’s parliament has also voted to approve a draft law that gives permission to Ukrainians to carry firearms and act in self-defence, Al Jazeera reported.
“The adoption of this law is fully in the interests of the state and society,” the authors of the draft law said in a note, adding that the law was needed due to “existing threats and dangers for the citizens of Ukraine”.
This comes on the heels of Russia recognising Donetsk and Luhansk (breakaway regions) as independent States and sending in Russian troops to ‘maintain peace’.
Russia’s action has led to sanctions by Western countries such as the U.S., UK and the EU on Russia.
President Joe Biden of the U.S. signed an executive order that prohibits new investment, trade and financing by Americans in the breakaway regions. The White House said the measures were separate to wider sanctions which are ready to go “should Russia further invade Ukraine”.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Russia had violated Ukrainian sovereignty and “completely torn up” international law. He said Mr Putin appeared “bent on a full-scale invasion”, and promised a “barrage of sanctions.” Already the UK has announced sanctions on some of Russia’s largest banks.
“In light of the increasingly threatening behaviour from Russia and in line with our previous support, the UK will shortly be providing a further package of military support to Ukraine. This will include lethal aid in the form of defensive weapons and non-lethal aid,” Mr Johnson told parliament on Wednesday.
Liz Truss, UK foreign secretary, said it will stop Russia from selling sovereign debt in London.
“We’ve been very clear that we’re going to limit Russian access to British markets,” Ms Truss told Sky News. “We’re going to stop the Russian government from raising sovereign debt in the United Kingdom.”
Ms Truss added that there will be tougher sanctions on key oligarchs and key organisations in Russia, limiting Russia’s access to the financial markets, if there is a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said he was halting the process of certifying the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline because of Russia’s actions.
Japan and Australia also announced they will impose stringent penalties on individuals connected with the aggression against Ukraine.
Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison targeted members of Russia’s Security Council for “behaving like thugs and bullies”.
Japan’s sanctions include banning the issuance of Russian bonds in Japan and freezing the assets of certain Russian individuals as well as restricting travel to Japan, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said.
Ukraine, meanwhile, has put its military including over 200,000 reserve forces on notice that they will be mobilised as tensions with Russia escalate.
“Reservists aged 18 to 60 will be called up,” Al Jazeera quoted the Ukrainian Ground Forces as saying in a Facebook message, adding that “the call will start today. The maximum service life is one year.”
Additionally, Ukraine’s parliament has approved imposing sanctions on 351 Russians, including politicians who supported the recognition of the independence of separatist-controlled territories and the use of Russian troops in eastern Ukraine.
The sanctions restrict almost all possible types of activities, in particular, a ban on entry into Ukraine, and an access ban to assets, capital, property and licences for business.
It also advised its nationals in Russia to exit the country and others to refrain from trips into the country.
“The foreign ministry recommends that citizens of Ukraine refrain from any trips to the Russian Federation, and those who are in this country to leave its territory immediately,” the ministry said in a newly issued travel advisory.
Russia’s foreign ministry has said Moscow will respond strongly to new sanctions imposed by the United States, saying the measures imposed by the White House run counter to American interests.
Russia has begun evacuating personnel from all of its diplomatic facilities in Ukraine, the TASS news agency reports.
Moscow’s embassy in Kyiv confirmed the evacuations were underway, TASS reported. Russia also has consulates in Kharkiv, Odesa and Lviv.
In what may seem like support for Russia, Iran’s foreign minister, Hossein Amirabdollahian, said his country is “not happy” with developments in Ukraine and accused the US and the Washington-led NATO military alliance of making “provocative moves”.
“In my phone calls with [the] foreign ministers of Russia and Ukraine last week I expressed the Islamic Republic’s clear views that NATO and US interference doesn’t help the situation… and that the solution is not war, but diplomatic discussions,” Mr Amirabdollahian said at a joint press conference with his Omani counterpart Sayyid Bard in Tehran.
Iran has not so far directly addressed Mr Putin’s recognition of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) in eastern Ukraine.
Syria, a Russian ally, has, however, declared support for Russia’s actions and the two breakaway republics in Ukraine.
However, China has refused to recognise the breakaway regions but criticised sanctions on Russia.
“We believe that sanctions are never the fundamental and effective way to solve problems. China always opposes any illegal unilateral sanctions,” Hua Chunying, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said during the ministry’s daily briefing.
“Have they solved the problem? Is the world better off because of US sanctions? Will Ukraine’s problems be resolved automatically by the imposition of US sanctions against Russia? Will Europe’s security be more secure as a result of US sanctions against Russia? I think we should try to solve the problem through dialogue and negotiation,” she said.
Fears have continued to grow in Ukraine as Putin says that Russia’s interests are “non-negotiable” even as he is ready to talk about “diplomatic solutions”.
Russia’s main demand is an assurance that its neighbour, Ukraine, will not join the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, a U.S.-led organisation committed to the security of its member states. The U.S. and its allies have, however, refused to give such guarantee, saying only Ukraine can decide whether or not it wants to join NATO.