The Ukrainian parliament has approved the imposition of martial law. The parliamentarians followed the petition by President Petro Poroshenko in the evening in Kiev. Martial law should be valid for 30 days
Background is a dispute with the neighbor Russia: At the weekend, the Russian Coast Guard had refused patrol boats of the Ukrainian Navy, the passage in the strait of Kerch in front of the annexed peninsula of Crimea.
Parliament’s approval was needed for the presidential decree to enter into force. 276 MPs voted for the bill. At least 226 yes votes were necessary for acceptance. The state of war in Ukraine is expected to come into effect from 9 am local time on Wednesday.
President Poroshenko was present in the turbulent debate in parliament. Previously, he had campaigned in a television speech for the approval of martial law. The imposition was necessary so that Ukraine „can immediately strengthen the defense in order to react quickly in the event of an invasion,“ he said.
The President refrained from his original plan to have martial law imposed for 60 days. He was only aiming for a period of validity of 30 days so that martial law would not overlap with the start of the election campaign before the presidential election in March, Poroshenko said in the TV address.
Earlier it had become known that the decree should be formulated very vague:
He envisages reinforcing the military defense of Ukraine, such as the air defense and the border guards.
Important infrastructural facilities should be protected, it says.
In addition, further information security measures should be taken. Which are that is unclear.
A point is kept secret.
Poroshenko spoke in the Supreme Rada of the danger that Russia could attack on land. The measures of martial law were therefore limited to the Ukrainian territories bordering Russia. It also includes the coastal areas of Black and Sea of Azov and the Ukrainian border region with Transnistria in the Republic of Moldova. There are also Russian troops there. „This is wherever an attack can take place,“ Poroshenko said.
US accuse Russia of „lawless acts“
Internationally, the latest escalation between Russia and Ukraine raises concerns. Chancellor Angela Merkel emphasized in a telephone conversation with Poroshenko that de-escalation and dialogue were necessary. The Chancellor will campaign for that, government spokesman Steffen Seibert said.
„The developments we see around the Sea of Azov are extremely worrying and we call for the greatest possible restraint on all sides,“ Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said during a visit to Spain. US President Donald Trump said the development was not good. „We are not happy about that at all.“
In the UN Security Council, the US accused Russia of a „scandalous violation“ of Ukrainian sovereignty. The repeated „lawless acts“ of Russia made it impossible for US President Trump to build a normal relationship with Moscow. This was what US Ambassador Nikki Haley said at an emergency meeting of the New York Council. The Council rejected the Russian request to put the issue on the agenda.
Ukraine accuses Russia of bombarding and raiding three of its naval vessels on the Kerch Strait, a strategically important strait between Crimea and Russia, on Sunday. Russia blames Ukraine for escalating the conflict (read more about the alleged radio communications of the Russian Coast Guard during the maneuver).
The conflict of the neighboring countries lasts for five years. In 2013, mass protests led to the dismissal of pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovich. The subsequent annexation of the Crimean peninsula by Russia and the ongoing war in eastern Ukraine led to the gravest crisis between the West and Russia since the end of the Cold War.