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Russian President Vladimir Putin Declares Martial Law in Occupied Ukraine Territories.pdf (65.3 kB)

Russian President Vladimir Putin Declares Martial Law in Occupied Ukraine Territories

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-07-28, 18:44 authored by Nolan Murrell

Amid ongoing struggles in the invasion of Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin declared martial law in four Russian-occupied regions of Ukraine in which Moscow claimed as Russian territory last month. [1] These regions include Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Luhansk, and Donetsk.

Russia’s use of desperate tactics should not be taken as a surprise given the nation’s ongoing struggles in the annexation of Ukraine. The nation has suffered heavy losses since the beginning of the invasion and large quantities of Russian weaponry have also been destroyed or captured by opposing forces. Despite this, the Russian government stated that it will “use all the forces and resources it has (including ‘various weapons of destruction’) to ‘liberate’ the four regions.” [2]

Last month, these four regions held referendums on whether or to join Russia; however, many western politicians are describing these votes as “sham referendums”. [3] Additionally, Ukraine has understandably criticized these referendums as illegitimate and “some residents alleged that they were intimidated or otherwise forced into voting” for a specific outcome. [4]

With this declaration of martial law, President Putin “boosted the security powers of all Russia’s regional governors” and established a new state coordination council with the purpose of fulfilling the objectives of his failing invasion effort. [4] In the 2014 Russian invasion of Crimea, Russia adopted similar tactics by ordering “economic mobilization” (one step below martial law) in “eight regions adjoining Ukraine” which allowed for the restriction of people’s movements and more control over the public in general. [1]

The key takeaway here is that the ongoing struggles to annex Ukraine are pushing Russia to adopt methods which are highly motivated by desperation and will likely become increasingly oppressive and violent towards the people of Ukraine.



American University (Washington, D.C.); Juris Mentem Law Review


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