Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has announced martial law in the four regions in Ukraine that he illegally annexed last month.
Speaking to his National Security Council, Putin announced the immediate declaration of martial law in Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Luhansk and Donetsk, as well as the establishment of a new state coordination council aimed at fulfilling the objectives of his so-called special military operation.
The Russian despot is ramping up their offensive amid their military’s desperate struggles to maintain its grip on territory in the face of Ukrainian advancements.
“Now we need to formalize this regime within the framework of Russian legislation. Therefore, I signed a decree on the introduction of martial law in these four subjects of the Russian Federation,” Putin said on national television.
Last month, the four regions held controversial referendums on whether to join Russia. These were widely criticized as illegitimate by the international community, and Ukraine. Some residents alleged that they were intimidated or otherwise forced into voting, and that the outcome of the vote was preordained.
On Wednesday, Putin also signed an order introducing some elements of wartime measures to regions bordering Ukraine — such as Crimea, Belgorod, Voronezh, Kursk, and Rostov, among others. Several of the regions have been important staging areas for Russia’s war in Ukraine as they come under increasing Ukrainian fire.
The order allows for unspecified economic mobilization in these regions, as well as seemingly laying the groundwork to organize local residents to support the military and security services.
Putin’s announcement follows an intense week of combat in Ukraine. Russian forces, in response to the bombing of a key bridge to Crimea, have launched waves of missile and “kamikaze” drone strikes across Ukraine, killing civilians in cities and villages and seriously damaging critical infrastructure such as power stations.