The legal regime of a martial law in Ukrainian 10 regions has expired on December 26.
As you know, due to the threat of large-scale invasion in Ukraine by Russian Armed Forces, the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko signed a decree on the introduction of martial law in Ukraine on November 26. It provided for the establishment of such a regime for 30 days - until December 26 this year.
The Verkhovna Rada approved the law, approving president’s decree on the same day.
According to the regulations, the martial law was established in ten regions of the country (Vinnytsia, Luhansk, Mykolaiv, Sumy, Odesa, Kharkiv, Chernihiv, Kherson, Donetsk and Zaporizhia), as well as inland waters of the Azov-Kerch water area.
Let us try to sum up the main events: what happened in Ukraine during the first martial law ever introduced in the country.
Full combat readiness
The regime of martial law, in general, gives the right to the military command to assume the powers of state authorities. However, immediately after the introduction of a special regime, president Poroshenko noted that of all the options provided by the Law "On the Legal Regime of Martial Law", his decree included mainly the defensive measures.
So, from the first minutes of the introduction of the special legal regime, the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the State Border Guard Service, the National Guard and the Security Service were brought to full combat readiness.
They focused their efforts on checking the possibility of an effective defense of state borders and preventing provocations in the border regions.
As part of such checks, the redeployment of military units, reservists training were conducted and even more strict traffic control was introduced.
- The military command by aircraft transferred the 95th Separate Assault Brigade from Zhytomyr region to the Azov and Black Seas, and some units of the air defense forces were sent directly to the border with the Russian Federation.
- During the period of the martial law, more than 3,000 reservists of the first turn were trained. The training lasted 15 - 20 days. They were summoned from regardless of where they live, and on the eve of the holidays they were let home.
- In the first days of martial law, the border guards and customs organized enhanced control at the border. On November 30, the entry to Ukraine was restricted for Russian men aged 16 to 60 years in case they can prove that they travel to the country with peaceful purposes. During this period, more than 1,6 thousand of Russian citizens were refused entry to the country.
- To prevent provocations, the police and the National Guard increased patrols in towns and villages in the martial law area. The number of checkpoints was also increased, and the level of crime has subsided.
It is worth noting that the vertical power of the government also went through combat training, including the Cabinet of Ministers and local administrations of the ten regions with martial law. In particular, they checked the readiness of bomb shelters and other civil defense facilities, worked out plans for evacuation, prepared the reserves of medicines.
As the National Security and Defense Council Secretary General Oleksandr Turchynov said, many problematic issues that were hidden before the introduction of martial law, became clear.
Restriction of citizens' rights
It is worth recalling that the law on imposition of martial law provided the restriction of the rights and freedoms of the citizens provided by eleven articles of the Constitution of Ukraine if it was needed.
The president promised before the law came into force that such measures will be assumes only when the situation will escalate. Thus, if the large-scale invasion of the Russian troops in Ukraine will take place.
Such scenario did not take place and it is the most important point, but the situation with the rights and freedoms of the Ukrainian turned out to be a little different.
Particularly, the local elections, mass strikes and protests were banned at the territory of regions with martial law.
Moreover, the hunting was prohibited in Donetsk, Kherson, Zaporizhia, Sumy, Luhansk and Vinnytsia region. The authorities urged people not to wear military uniform and report about suspicions persons.
More serious restrictions, such as introduction of the curfew, restriction of the freedom of mass media and communication, expropriation of the property for the needs of army of ban for leaving the country were not assumed.
Besides, the full or partial mobilization did not take place. Some mass media reported that people get personalized text messages with the demand to come to the military commissariat but the Defense Ministry called such messages fake of the information war.
The financial restrictions also were not imposed, while the rush occurred at the currency marker as soon as martial law was imposed and it led to the fall of hryvnia rate. Now, it is stabilized thanks to the tranche of IMF received with the stand-by program and its rate has increased thanks to part of the credit from the World Bank.
Martial law did not influence the creation of the Ukrainian Orthodox Autocephalous Church. Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew confirmed that he is ready to pass Tomos on provision of the autocephaly to the Ukrainian church to Metropolitan of Kyiv and all Ukraine Epiphaniy after the joint worship in Istanbul on January 6, 2019.
Will it be prolonged?
The Head of the State has stated several timed that the martial law would be prolonged only in case of large-scale intervention of Russia’s Armed Forces into Ukraine’s territory.
Therefore, Poroshenko declared the end of the martial law today, on December 26, at 2 pm at the session of Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council. He also noted that it would not be extended. “This is my principled decision which is based on the analysis of all the components of the current security situation in the country,” he stressed.
The President sadly noted that the situation around Ukraine had not changed. “OSCE confirmed the information our intelligence had – Grad systems are recorded near Luhansk, the amount of artillery was tanks were not withdrawn. Russia’s military presence in Azov Sea has not decrased,” he said. Poroshenko added that the Ukrainian sailors were still in captivity.
According to the Head of the State, the defence capacity of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and other units got a completely different dimension. “We have done a lot of work on redeployment, reduction of time frames of combat shakedown, additional complementation by the means of immediate reserve forces, military queipment supplies,” he named.
According to the President, martial law in Ukraine will not be prolonged.