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Ukraine under martial law

Updated: Oct 21, 2022

On 24th February, #Ukraine had declared martial law after #Russia’s re-invasion to carry out a 'special military expedition' in the #Donbas region.

The Ukrainian President, Volodymyr #Zelenskyy, has announced martial law in all of Ukraine and has appealed to the citizens to "take up arms" in defense. In Ukraine, the President can declare martial law under the advice of the National Security and Defence Council, which needs to be ratified immediately by the Parliament (Verkhovna Rada).

Under martial law, the country's civilian functions will be handed over to the military administration. The military will have direct control over the defense, civil protection, public safety, and order. The police will be replaced by the army to enforce laws as long as martial law is imposed. The army could arrest any civilian without warrants and try them in military tribunals if found disobeying the law. However, the Parliament, the Executive, and the Judiciary are not supposed to face any barriers to their existing powers under such situations.

The martial law also severely restricts constitutional rights and imposes special provisions, including curfews, confiscation of properties, and using able-bodied civilians for the nation's defense. President Zelenskyy had already banned men from ages 18 to 60 from leaving the country. The President had tweeted, "We will give weapons to anyone who wants to defend the country. Be ready to support Ukraine in the squares of our cities". Along with general military mobilisation, 18,000 weapons were distributed amongst the civilians, who were requested to protect their capital #Kyiv.

The martial laws have been recently amended twice, in 2014 and 2021. The last martial law declared in Ukraine was in 2018, when the then-president imposed it over ten regions when Russian forces fired upon three Ukrainian vessels in Kerch Strait. As of 25th February, most of the military force is deployed in the capital with a looming threat of assault.

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