Ukraine’s president announces an end to the 30-day martial law imposed after Russia seized Ukrainian ships in the Black Sea and detained 24 seamen who have STILL not been released
- Martial law was imposed after the maritime conflict last month
- Relations deteriorated rapidly following Moscow’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula and the outbreak of war in eastern Ukraine in 2014
- Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko faces a presidential election next March
Ukraine’s leader has announced an end to the 30-day martial law imposed after Russia seized Ukrainian ships in the Black Sea.
Ukraine announced martial law last month after Russian coast guards fired at and seized three Ukrainian ships and their crews. The 24 seamen still remain in Russian custody.
‘Today, right now… the martial law ends,’ Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said during a live streamed National Security and Defence Council meeting in Kiev today.
He explained that his decision was ‘based on analysis of all the components of the security situation in the country’.
Damage can be seen to one of three Ukrainian ships seized by Russia during a naval incident near the annexed Crimean Peninsula (file image)
The seizing of Ukrainian ships was another episode in the long-simmering conflict between the two countries that started in 2014 with Russia’s annexation of the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine.
Poroshenko’s martial law was widely seen as an attempt by the unpopular leader to score political points ahead of next year’s presidential election.
Poroshenko told the cabinet on Wednesday that Ukraine had boosted its defenses during the 30 days of martial law, which 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.
Ukraine’s leader has announced an end to the 30-day martial law imposed after Russia seized Ukrainian ships in the Black Sea
Kiev also banned Russian men aged 16-60 from entering the country.
The entry was restricted for about 1,650 male citizens of Russia since November 30, the border service said Wednesday.
Relations between Moscow and Kiev have deteriorated since a pro-Western government came to power after the 2014 revolt against a pro-Russian leader, Moscow’s annexation of the Crimea and the 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.
After a maritime conflict with Moscow in the Black Sea in late November, Poroshenko accused Russia of having sharply raised its military presence on the border, with Ukraine warning of the threat of ‘full-scale war.’
On Wednesday Ukrainian president announced the new sanctions against those involved in the aggression against Ukrainian ships.
Ukraine president Petro Poroshenko (centre) leading a session of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine in Kiev on December 26, 2018
Poroshenko said a draft decision on the application of sanctions 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 stated, referring to the Russian parliament.
Poroshenko also said that one of the reasons to end the martial law was the presidential election that is scheduled for March 31.
Campaigning and elections are banned under martial law, he explained.
Previously critics attacked the acting president, saying that he used the incident in the Sea of Azov and the martial law to improve his ratings.