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Martial law in Ukraine

Martial law in Ukraine (10 regions shown in red)

Martial law in Ukraine (Ukrainian: Воєнний стан в Україні) was a period of martial law introduced by presidential decree of November 26, 2018[1] in 10 regions of Ukraine[2] from 14:00 local time for 30 days on with the aim of strengthening the defense of Ukraine against the background of increasing tension with Russia.[3][4] This happened after the incident in the Kerch Strait.[5][6] Martial law was ended after 30 days.[7]

Initially President Poroshenko signed a decree for the martial law within the whole Ukraine for 60 days, however after 5 hours of deliberations, a less restrictive version was signed into the law by an emergency session of Verkhovna Rada.[8]

During the martial law (and starting on 30 November 2018) Ukraine banned all Russian men between 16 and 60 from entering the country for the period of the martial law with exceptions for humanitarian purposes.[9] Ukraine claimed this was a security measure to prevent Russia from forming units of “private” armies on Ukrainian soil.[10] According to the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine 1,650 Russian citizens were refused entry into Ukraine from November 26 to December 26, 2018.[11] On 27 December 2018 the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine announced that it had extended "the restrictive measures of the State Border Guard Service regarding the entry of Russian men into Ukraine.”[12]


Martial law areasEdit

The affected territories are located along the Russia-Ukraine border, along the part of the Moldova–Ukraine border which runs along the unrecognised state of Transnistria (where Russian peacekeeping troops are present), and at the coasts of the Black and Azov Seas. The Ukrainian internal waters of the Azov–Kerch aquatory are also subject to the martial law.[8][13]

along the border with the unrecognised state of Transnistria
along the coast of the Black and Azov Seas
along the Russia-Ukraine border


Despite public support, Poroshenko's decision was criticized because it occurred during the 2019 Ukrainian presidential election, which might be affected by the restrictions to the Constitution by the martial law (item 3 of the martial law decree).[14]

On the other hand, it has been criticized as being too late, because before the Kerch Strait incident several significantly more serious military incidents did occur since the 2014 Russian military intervention in Ukraine.[15] Critics associate the timing with Poroshenko's pre-election political ambitions, since his ratings for the 2019 Ukrainian presidential election fell very low.[16] Concern was also expressed that the martial law would affect international aid payments.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Martial law in Ukraine introduced from Nov 26, Turchynov clarifies // UNIAN, 26 November 2018
  2. ^ Martial law in ten regions of Ukraine // Ośrodek Studiów Wschodnich im. Marka Karpia, 26 November 2018
  3. ^ Presidential Decree of November 26, 2018 No. 393/2018 "On the Imposition of Martial Law in Ukraine" (Ukr.) // President of Ukraine, 26 November 2018
  4. ^ The Law of Ukraine of November 26, 2018 No. 2630-VIII "On Approval of the Decree of the President of Ukraine 'On the Imposition of Martial Law in Ukraine'" (ukr.) // Supreme Council of Ukraine, 26 November 2018
  5. ^ Martial law in Ukraine could be a death sentence for its democracy // The Washington Post, 26 November 2018
  6. ^ In Standoff With Russia, What Does Ukraine's Martial Law Decree Mean? // The New York Times, 26 November 2018
  7. ^ Martial laws comes to an end in Ukraine after 30 days, BBC News (26 December 2018)
  8. ^ a b "Указ №393 про введення воєнного стану в Україні (текст)". Retrieved November 27, 2018.
  9. ^ "Ukraine bans entry to all male Russian nationals aged 16-60". UNIAN. 30 November 2018. Retrieved 2018-12-04.
  10. ^ Roth, Andrew (30 November 2018). "Ukraine bans entry to Russian men 'to prevent armies forming'". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 November 2018.
  11. ^ Almost 1,650 Russian citizens refused entry into Ukraine amid martial law – Ukrainian Border Service, Interfax-Ukraine (December 26, 2018)
  12. ^ Ukraine upholds entry restrictions for Russian men aged 16-60 years, Ukrinform (December 27, 2018)
  13. ^ Ukrainian lawmakers approve martial law as tensions with Russia escalate, CNN, November 26, 2018 (retrieved November 28, 2018)
  14. ^ Ukraine's Martial Law Brings Unease After Russian Attack, by Renee Hickman, NBC News, December 7, 2018 (retrieved December 23, 2018)
  15. ^ (in Ukrainian) 30 days of war. What was the reason for the introduction of a state of war in Ukraine, Ukrayinska Pravda (27 November 2018)
  16. ^ Ukraine imposes martial law as tensions with Russia flare , Al Jazeera, November 26, 2018 (retrieved November 28, 2018)

External linksEdit