Everything You Need to Know About Martial Law in Ukraine 2018

Ukrainian flag on military uniform

On November 26, Parliament of Ukraine approved the introduction of martial law in Ukraine. The 30-day period started on November 26 at 2 P.M. in several regions of the country. What does this mean for citizens and tourists? For how long will it last? Will it influence daily life? All details below.

Why martial law was declared?

On November 23, the planned redeployment of the Ukrainian Navy ships, boats and vessels began from their permanent base in Odesa to a base in Mariupol, according to the Head of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Viktor Muzhenko, UNIAN reports.

On Sunday, November 25, Russian coast guards opened fire and subsequently seized three Ukrainian navy ships in the Kerch Strait. The sailors resisted their capture and 6 of them, according to Muzhenko, were wounded. The ships and their teams are currently held hostage by Russia. The Secretary-General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Jens Stoltenberg called on Russia to immediately release the Ukrainian sailors and ships it seized, stating that "there is no justification for the use of military force against Ukrainian ships and naval personnel."

The President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko scheduled a meeting of the National Security and Defense Council to formulate a decree about the introduction of martial law. On November 26, Ukrainian Parliament approved the decree of introducing martial law for a period of 30 days, effective immediately.

When, where and for how long?

Martial law was implemented on November 26 at 2 P.M. It will normally last for 30 days until December 26.

Martial law grasps only 10 regions of Ukraine: Odesa, Mykolaiv, Kherson, Zaporizhia, Luhansk, Donetsk, Sumy, Kharkiv, Chernihiv and Vinnytsia.

The following areas are located along the Russian border, on the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov, therefore being strategically important in the current situation. The Vinnytsia region has been listed because it borders the unrecognized state of Transnistria.

Does this mean war?

No. According to the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko, “Martial law doesn’t mean declaring a war. It is introduced with the sole purpose of boosting Ukraine’s defense in the light of a growing aggression from Russia.”

Military law also normally doesn't affect daily life. It gives more freedom for the military administration to work efficiently in order to eliminate the threat. Military administrations that are created during martial law are subordinated to the President. President Petro Poroshenko also stated that the introduction of martial law does not imply immediate mobilization. The relevant training, however, is to be carried out with the army reserve.

Will my rights be restricted?

One of the paragraphs of the decree addresses temporarily restriction of a number of constitutional rights and freedoms. However, President Petro Poroshenko stated that the restriction of constitutional rights would be applied only in the case of full Russian intervention in Ukraine.

As UNIAN reminds, martial law may allow the government to:

  • Introduce a curfew
  • Restrict freedom of movement of citizens and foreigners
  • Check citizens' IDs and inspect belongings, luggage, homes etc.
  • Obligate individuals or legal entities to house military personnel
  • Forcibly withdraw and seize property from legal entities and individuals for defense purposes (the property is to be returned after the martial law is abolished)
  • Induce social work and labor service, which will be paid as in peacetime
  • Prohibit strikes and demonstrations
  • Monitor the work of media

The following restrictions, if implemented, will be true only to the regions where martial law is implemented. The introduction of martial law in Ukraine and the restriction of human and civil rights and freedoms must be communicated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the UN Secretary-General and other countries.

Will Boryspil International Airport stop working?

No. Administration of Boryspil International Airport has stated that martial law will not influence the work of the airport. "Regarding the further legal regime of crossing the air border at the airport, we will follow the decision of the extraordinary session of the Parliament," - states the message at the official Facebook page of Boryspil International Airport.

Will the elections take place as scheduled?

According to Ukrainian law, presidential and parliament elections are prohibited during the martial law. President Petro Poroshenko promised to ensure that regular presidential elections are to be held as scheduled on March 31, 2019.

When will Martial Law be over?

Martial law is canceled either after its term is over or by a separate decree of the President. According to the decree approved by the Parliament, martial law will last 30 days from November 26 to December 26.

Sources: pravda.com.ua, unian.info, the-village.com.ua.
Cover photo: depositphotos.com.

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