Fri, Dec 28, 2018 - Page 6 News List

Martial law in Ukraine ends

GLOBAL SUPPORT:New sanctions are to be imposed over the Sea of Azov incident that would include ‘a large number’ of Russian lawmakers, Poroshenko said

AFP, KIEV

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Wednesday announced the end of martial law in the nation’s border regions, which was introduced last month after Russia’s seizure of three of Kiev’s navy vessels in the Sea of Azov.

“Right now, at 2pm martial law ends,” Poroshenko said during a live-streamed Ukranian National Security and Defense Council meeting in Kiev.

The president said he had reached the decision “based on analysis of all the components of the security situation in the country.”

The move to impose martial law came after Poroshenko warned of a buildup of Russian forces near Ukraine’s borders.

Russian border patrol boats fired on, boarded and seized the three Ukrainian vessels, along with 24 sailors, off the coast of Crimea. The sailors are still being held by Russian authorities.

“The support and concrete actions of our international partners — their pressure on the Kremlin combined with martial law — have stopped the worst scenario that the Russian Federation planned,” Poroshenko said. “They didn’t let Putin cross the new red line.”

Martial law was imposed in 10 regions that adjoin either Russia’s borders or areas controlled by Moscow-backed separatists, as well as along the coast of the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea.

Ukrainian armed forces were put on full combat readiness and replenished at the expense of the first-stage reserves.

Kiev also banned Russian men aged 16 to 60 from entering the country, restricting entry for about 1,650 Russians since Nov. 30, the border service said on Wednesday.

Relations between Moscow and Kiev have deteriorated since a pro-Western government came to power after a 2014 revolt against a pro-Russian leader, Moscow’s annexation of Crimea and an outbreak of war in eastern Ukraine.

The conflict pitting pro-Russian separatists against Ukrainian government forces is estimated to have claimed more than 10,000 lives.

Poroshenko also announced new sanctions against those involved in the aggression against Ukrainian ships, saying that a draft decision was included in the agenda of the meeting.

“As we see the political support and participation of the State Duma in this process, a large number of State Duma deputies are included in the sanction list,” he said, referring to the Russian legislature.

Poroshenko also said that one of the reasons to end martial law was the presidential election that is scheduled for March 31.

Campaigning and elections are banned under martial law, he said.

Critics previously accused the president of using the incident in the Sea of Azov and martial law to improve his ratings.

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