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Putin Formally Declares Martial Law in Illegally Annexed Ukrainian Regions

As the war intensifies, his decree orders the creation of territorial defense forces in the four annexed regions.

Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a Security Council meeting via a video link at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow, Russia, on October 19, 2022.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday formally declared martial law in Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia, the Ukrainian regions that he illegally annexed last month.

Noting that martial law had already been in effect in the occupied Ukrainian regions prior to their annexation, Putin said in a nationally televised address that “we need to formalize this regime within the framework of Russian legislation.”

“Therefore, I signed a decree on the introduction of martial law in these four subjects of the Russian Federation,” the Russian leader said. “In the current situation, I consider it necessary to give additional powers to heads of all Russian regions.”

Putin added that the decree “will immediately be sent to the Federation Council for approval.”

Russia’s military does not fully control the four annexed Ukrainian regions.

The Associated Press reported that Russian lawmakers are expected to “quickly seal Putin’s decision to impose martial law,” which comes amid a Ukrainian counteroffensive that has forced Moscow’s forces to retreat in several major areas.

It also comes as fears of nuclear catastrophe are rising as the war drags on with no diplomatic resolution in sight, with Western powers continuing to pump weapons into Ukraine and Putin lobbing nuclear threats and bombarding major cities.

AP noted that Putin “didn’t immediately spell out the steps that would be taken under martial law, but said his order was effective starting Thursday.”

“His decree gives law enforcement agencies three days to submit specific proposals and orders the creation of territorial defense forces in the four annexed regions,” the outlet added.