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The legal basis for the introduction of martial law in Ukraine (Ukrainian language: Воєнний стан в Україні ) is the Constitution of Ukraine, the Law of Ukraine "On the legal status of martial law" (No. 389-VIII from May 12, 2015[1]) and presidential decrees about the introduction of martial law. Modern-day martial law has been introduced two times in Ukraine. The previous law "On the legal status of martial law" was adopted in 2000 and signed by President Leonid Kuchma.[2][3] It was changed several times: in 2003, 2008, 2010, 2012, and 2014.[3]

In 2015, Petro Poroshenko introduced bill No. 2541 to parliament. It was adopted by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on May 12 and returned with the signature of the President of Ukraine on June 8.[4][5] In order to implement the new law, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine approved a typical plan for the introduction and provision of measures for the legal regime of martial law in Ukraine or in its separate areas.[6] In response to prolonged military intervention, central units of the executive branch of Ukraine created relevant divisions. In the Ministry of Social Policy operates Divilion for social adaptation of ATO participants and retired servicemen,[7] in the Ministry of Health – Division of coordination and providing medical care during anti-terrorist operations, emergency and martial law.[8]

On May 28, 2015, in the program "Year of Poroshenko," the President said that a decree on the introduction of a martial law in Ukraine would be signed if a truce was violated and an offensive would take place on the position of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.[5]

2018 martial law

A period of martial law was introduced by presidential decree on November 26, 2018[9] in 10 regions of Ukraine[10] from 14:00 local time for 30 days on with the aim of strengthening the defense of Ukraine against the background of increasing tension with Russia.[11][12] This happened after the incident in the Kerch Strait.[13][14] Martial law was ended after 30 days.[15]

Initially, President Poroshenko signed a decree for martial law within the whole of Ukraine for 60 days; however, after 5 hours of deliberations, a less restrictive version was signed into the law by an emergency session of the Verkhovna Rada.[16]

During the martial law (and starting on 30 November 2018) Ukraine banned all Russian men between 16 and 60 from entering the country for the period of the martial law with exceptions for humanitarian purposes.[17] Ukraine claimed this was a security measure to prevent Russia from forming units of “private” armies on Ukrainian soil.[18] According to the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine 1,650 Russian citizens were refused entry into Ukraine from November 26 to December 26, 2018.[19] On 27 December 2018, the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine announced that it had extended "the restrictive measures of the State Border Guard Service regarding the entry of Russian men into Ukraine.”[20]

Martial law areas

The affected territories are located along the Russia–Ukraine border, along the part of the Moldova–Ukraine border which runs along the unrecognised state of Transnistria (where Russian peacekeeping troops are present), and at the coasts of the Black Sea and Sea of Azov. The Ukrainian internal waters of the Azov–Kerch aquatory are also subject to the martial law.


Despite public support, Poroshenko's decision was criticized because it occurred during the 2019 Ukrainian presidential election, which might be affected by the restrictions to the Constitution by the martial law (item 3 of the martial law decree).[21]

On the other hand, it has been criticized as being too late, because before the Kerch Strait incident several significantly more serious military incidents did occur since the 2014 Russian military intervention in Ukraine.[22] Critics associate the timing with Poroshenko's pre-election political ambitions, since his ratings for the 2019 Ukrainian presidential election fell very low.[23] Concern was also expressed that the martial law would affect international aid payments.

2022 martial law

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy declared martial law on 24 February 2022, in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Speaking in a televised address to the nation shortly before 7 a.m., he clarified that all able-bodied men from 18-60 years old were not allowed to leave the country as the country began a general mobilization of all reserve forces.[24]

On February 26, Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko declared a curfew from 5pm to 8am every day to expose Russian subversives.[25] The curfew was lifted on February 28 after a two-day search for Russian commando forces.[26]

See also


  1. "Error: no |title= specified when using {{Cite web}}" (in uk). Verkhovna Rada. 12 May 2015. 
  2. Sviatoslav Khomenko (March 2, 2014). "Error: no |title= specified when using {{Cite web}}" (in uk). BBC News Ukrainian. Retrieved January 30, 2019. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Error: no |title= specified when using {{Cite web}}" (in uk). Verkhovna Rada. 6 April 2000. 
  4. "Error: no |title= specified when using {{Cite web}}" (in uk). UkrMedia. 8 June 2015. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Error: no |title= specified when using {{Cite web}}" (in uk). 9 June 2015. 
  6. "Error: no |title= specified when using {{Cite web}}" (in uk). Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine. 22 July 2015. 
  7. "Error: no |title= specified when using {{Cite web}}" (in uk). Ministry of Social Policy. 12 April 2018. 
  8. "Declaration of the division of coordination and providing medical care during anti-terrorist operations, emergency and martial law specialist". National Agency for Prevention of Corruption. 31 March 2018. Retrieved 7 January 2019. 
  9. Martial law in Ukraine introduced from Nov 26, Turchynov clarifies // UNIAN, 26 November 2018
  10. Martial law in ten regions of Ukraine // Ośrodek Studiów Wschodnich im. Marka Karpia, 26 November 2018
  11. Presidential Decree of November 26, 2018 No. 393/2018 "On the Imposition of Martial Law in Ukraine" (Ukr.) // President of Ukraine, 26 November 2018
  12. The Law of Ukraine of November 26, 2018 No. 2630-VIII "On Approval of the Decree of the President of Ukraine 'On the Imposition of Martial Law in Ukraine'" (ukr.) // Supreme Council of Ukraine, 26 November 2018
  13. Martial law in Ukraine could be a death sentence for its democracy // The Washington Post, 26 November 2018
  14. In Standoff With Russia, What Does Ukraine's Martial Law Decree Mean? // The New York Times, 26 November 2018
  15. Martial laws comes to an end in Ukraine after 30 days, BBC News (26 December 2018)
  16. "Указ №393 про введення воєнного стану в Україні (текст)". Retrieved November 27, 2018. 
  17. "Ukraine bans entry to all male Russian nationals aged 16-60" (in en). UNIAN. 30 November 2018. 
  18. Roth, Andrew (30 November 2018). "Ukraine bans entry to Russian men 'to prevent armies forming'". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 November 2018. 
  19. Almost 1,650 Russian citizens refused entry into Ukraine amid martial law – Ukrainian Border Service, Interfax-Ukraine (December 26, 2018)
  20. Ukraine upholds entry restrictions for Russian men aged 16-60 years, Ukrinform (December 27, 2018)
  21. Ukraine's Martial Law Brings Unease After Russian Attack, by Renee Hickman, NBC News, December 7, 2018 (retrieved December 23, 2018)
  22. (in Ukrainian) 30 days of war. What was the reason for the introduction of a state of war in Ukraine, Ukrayinska Pravda (27 November 2018)
  23. Ukraine imposes martial law as tensions with Russia flare , Al Jazeera, November 26, 2018 (retrieved November 28, 2018)
  24. "Putin's Forces Attack Ukraine". The New York Times. February 24, 2022. Retrieved February 24, 2022. 
  25. "Kyiv mayor orders curfew starting Saturday evening" (in en). 2022-02-26. 
  26. "Ukraine curfew lifts after hunt for 'Russian saboteurs'" (in en-US). February 28, 2022. 

External links

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