Ukraine parliament approves martial law declaration in response to growing tensions with Russia
November 27, 2018
The Ukrainian parliament on Monday passed Bill N. 9338 declaring martial law from November 28 to December 27.
The move comes in response to growing aggression from Russia after three Ukrainian navy vessels were seized off the Crimean Peninsula. The Ukrainian president also stated that there is an “unspecified threat” against Ukraine.
During the debate in parliament, several of the ministers identified Russia as the source of the tensions between the two nations. The prime minister stood in support of the president, stating that this reaction of imposing martial law is, “how to ensure stability in the country, how to make necessary decisions to protect our sovereignty. In difficult moments we have to be united, we have to make compromises, be able to protect this compromise and make the country stronger.”
The bill as proposed would limit the imposition of martial law to those areas alongside the Russian border, a span of 10 territories. It also shortened the period of time that martial law would be in effect, taking it from a 60-day period to a 30-day period. The bill was passed by a vote of 276 in favor.
The Law of Ukraine outlines what martial law is to look like if and when imposed. Article 6 includes 6 steps that the president is to follow when decreeing martial law, including the justification for the decree, the boundaries of the territories where martial law is to be imposed, and a list of the constitutional rights and freedoms that are temporarily limited under martial law. In Article 11, the law also sets out that the powers of the president cannot be limited under martial law. This law also sets out limits to martial law, including Article 19 that prohibits any change to the constitution under martial law, and Article 22 that does not allow martial law to be used to seize power or to use torture or cruel punishment.