Ukraine Declares National State Of Emergency As Tensions Ramp Up With Russia, Summons Citizens Back Home
The emergency will apply to all parts of Ukraine except for two Russian-backed eastern separatist regions (Donetsk and Luhansk regions). The state of emergency would last 30 days and can be extended for another 30 days.
Kyiv: Ukraine’s parliament has imposed a national state of emergency on Wednesday in response to the growing threat of a Russian invasion, reported news agency AFP. The state of emergency allows Ukraine’s regional governments to adopt heightened security measures that range from tighter ID and vehicle checks to more stringent policing. “The situation is difficult but remains completely under our control,” Ukraine’s security and defence council secretary Oleksiy Danilov told lawmakers ahead of the vote.
The emergency will apply to all parts of Ukraine except for two Russian-backed eastern separatist regions (Donetsk and Luhansk regions) where a deadly insurgency has killed more than 14,000 people in the past two years. The state of emergency would last 30 days and can be extended for another 30 days, reported news agency Reuters.
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Up until now, embassies and international offices in Ukraine’s capital city Kyiv have been closed. Flight after flight has been canceled when insurance companies balked at covering planes arriving in Ukraine.
The restrictions come into force from Thursday. The Ukrainian government has also announced compulsory military service for all men of fighting age.
Ukrainian government and state websites, which have experienced outages in recent weeks blamed by Kyiv on cyber attacks, were again offline on Wednesday. Its parliament, cabinet and foreign ministry websites were affected.
Moscow denies planning an invasion and has described warnings as anti-Russian hysteria. But it has taken no steps to withdraw the troops deployed along Ukraine’s frontiers.
On Wednesday, it took down flags from its embassy in Kyiv, having ordered its diplomats to evacuate for safety reasons.
Ukraine has shut down its airspace
On Wednesday night, the Ukrainian government closed airports in eastern Ukraine, establishing buffer zones for traffic controlled by Ukrainian authorities to avoid coming into potentially hazardous conflict with air traffic controlled by Russian authorities.
Ukrainian pilots flying over Eastern Ukraine have been warned to be on the lookout for Russian authorities trying to take control of the airspace and to only recognise Ukraine’s controllers. The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) meeting is set to commence again amid the escalating tensions between the nuclear-armed powers.
Biden announces US sanctions on Nord Stream 2 AG and its corporate officers
The White House announced on Wednesday that President Joe Biden is allowing sanctions to move forward against the company that built the Russia-to-Germany Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline and against the company’s CEO.
The announcement is expected to come later in the day, according to a U.S. official who was not authorized to publicly discuss the matter before the decision was made public and who spoke on condition of anonymity.
However, none of the sanctions so far directly targets Putin himself, or are expected to have serious consequences for Moscow, which is sitting on more than US$630 billion in international reserves.
Washington’s move to impose sanctions on 2 AG, a Swiss firm that built the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline to Germany and whose parent is Russian state-owned gas giant Gazprom, follows Germany on Tuesday freezing approvals for the pipeline, which is built but not yet operating.
Ukraine crisis may create worst global refugee crisis: US Ambassador to UN
The United States ambassador at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), Linda Thomas-Greenfield, on Wednesday, said that the Ukrainian crisis may lead to the worst refugee crisis in the world today, with some 5 million people possibly displaced.
“If Russia continues down this path, it could, according to our estimates, create a new refugee crisis, one of the largest facing the world today, with as many as 5 million more people displaced by Russia’s war of choice and putting pressure on Ukraine’s neighbors,” Linda Thomas-Greenfield said.
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