Ukrainian lawmakers approve national state of emergency – Redlands Daily Facts

By DASHA LITVINOVA, YURAS KARMANAU and JIM HEINTZ

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukrainian lawmakers have approved a national state of emergency amid fears of an all-out Russian invasion.

Parliament approved Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s decree imposing the measure for 30 days from Thursday. The state of emergency allows authorities to impose movement restrictions, block rallies and ban political parties and organizations “in the interests of national security and public order”.

The move follows Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision on Monday to recognize the independence of rebel regions in eastern Ukraine, where the nearly eight-year conflict has claimed more than 14,000 lives. Putin sanctioned the deployment of Russian troops there to “maintain peace” and received parliamentary approval to use military force outside the country.

Ukrainian authorities have repeatedly expressed concern that Russia may try to destabilize the country by relying on Moscow supporters inside the country, including a pro-Russian political party represented in parliament.

The document also prohibits “media that could destabilize the situation in the country” and gives the government the right to impose curfews and carry out checks.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s previous story follows below.

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russia began evacuating its embassy in Kyiv and Ukraine urged its citizens to leave Russia on Wednesday as the region braced for further confrontations after President Vladimir Putin received the permission to use military force outside his country and that the West has responded with sanctions. .

Hopes for a diplomatic exit from a potentially devastating new war in Europe appeared nearly dashed as the United States and key European allies accused Moscow of crossing a red line on Tuesday in crossing the Ukrainian border into regions separatists in eastern Ukraine called Donbass, with some calling it an invasion.

Russia has emptied its diplomatic posts in Ukraine, state news agency Tass reported, a day after the Foreign Ministry announced an evacuation plan, citing threats. On Wednesday afternoon, the Russian flag no longer flew above the embassy in Kiev and the police surrounded the building.

After weeks of trying to project calm, Ukrainian authorities have expressed growing concern. The Foreign Ministry advised against traveling to Russia and recommended that all Ukrainians leave immediately, saying Moscow’s “aggression” could lead to a significant reduction in consular services.

The head of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, Oleksiy Danilov, has called for a national state of emergency, subject to parliamentary approval. He said it would be up to regional authorities to determine what measures to apply, but they could include increased security at public facilities, traffic restrictions and additional transport and document checks.

A senior US defense official in Washington has said Russian forces deployed along Ukraine’s borders are “as ready as possible” for an invasion, with around 80% in what the US considers ” advanced positions, ready to go” within a radius of 5 kilometers to 50 kilometers (3 to 30 miles) from the border.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive information, added. “We still cannot confirm that Russian forces have entered the Donbass region.”

President Joe Biden has authorized sanctions to go forward against the company that built the Russia-Germany Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline and against the company’s CEO, the White House has said.

Germany said on Tuesday it was suspending the project indefinitely, after Biden accused Putin of initiating “the start of a Russian invasion of Ukraine” by sending troops to two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine. Ukraine. The pipeline is complete but has not yet started running.

“Today I directed my administration to impose sanctions on Nord Stream 2 AG and its leaders,” Biden said in a statement. “These measures are another element of our initial tranche of sanctions in response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine. As I have made clear, we will not hesitate to take further action if Russia continues to escalate.

Biden waived sanctions on Nord Stream 2 AG last year as the project neared completion in exchange for Germany agreeing to take action against Russia if it weaponized gas or attacked the ‘Ukraine.

Putin said on Tuesday that he had not yet sent Russian troops to rebel areas contrary to Western claims. in.

Ukraine’s Digital Transformation Minister Mykhailo Fedorov said on Wednesday that a wave of denial of service attacks targeted official websites and some banks, taking parliament, cabinet and foreign ministry sites offline. and causing disruptions or delays at Departments of Defense and Interior sites. , which controls the police.

Many of the same sites were also taken offline in attacks last week that the US and UK governments quickly blamed on the Russian military intelligence agency GRU. Such attacks block websites with unwanted traffic, making them inaccessible. Wednesday’s DDoS attacks appeared to have less impact than the previous attack, with targeted sites soon to be accessible again – as emergency responders blunted them.

These were just the latest in a series of signs of escalating tensions. Kyiv recalled its ambassador to Russia and considered severing all diplomatic relations with Moscow; dozens of nations further pushed Russian oligarchs and banks out of international markets; Germany has terminated a lucrative pipeline deal; the United States repositioned additional troops on NATO’s eastern flank on the border with Russia; and the top US diplomat canceled a meeting with his Russian counterpart.

Already, the threat of war has shredded Ukraine’s economy and raised the specter of massive losses, energy shortages across Europe and global economic chaos.

Even as the conflict took a dangerous new turn, leaders warned it could escalate further. Putin has yet to unleash the force of 150,000 soldiers massed on three sides of Ukraine, while US President Joe Biden has withheld even tougher sanctions that could cause economic turmoil for Russia, but said that would continue if there were further attacks.

European Union sanctions against Russia have gone into effect, targeting several companies as well as 351 Russian lawmakers, who voted for a motion urging Putin to recognize rebel regions, and 27 senior government officials, business leaders and officers army superiors.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock called the EU sanctions a “first step” and said others could follow. Sanctions are essential because the West has ruled out attacking Russia militarily.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba urged Western leaders not to wait.

“We call on our partners to impose more sanctions on Russia now,” he tweeted on Wednesday. “Now the pressure must intensify to stop Putin. Hit his economy and his buddies. Hit more. Hit hard. Strike now.

Responding defiantly to the measures already taken, the Russian Ambassador to the United States, Anatoly Antonov, retorted on Facebook that “sanctions cannot solve anything. It is hard to imagine that there is anyone in Washington who expects Russia to review its foreign policy under the threat of restrictions.

The Russian Foreign Ministry also bristled at the sanctions. “Russia has proven that with all the costs of sanctions, it is capable of minimizing the damage,” a statement read.

In eastern Ukraine, where an eight-year conflict between Russian-backed separatists and Ukrainian forces has killed nearly 14,000 people, violence has also escalated again. A Ukrainian soldier was killed and six others were injured after the rebel shelling, the Ukrainian army said. Separatist officials reported several explosions in their territory overnight and three civilian deaths.

Meanwhile, in St Petersburg, several hundred people reportedly rallied in support of the self-declared republics of Donetsk and Luhansk in the east, while Russia celebrated Defender of the Fatherland Day, which celebrates veterans and the country’s active military.

After weeks of escalating tensions, Putin took a series of steps this week that raised the stakes dramatically. First, he recognized the independence of these separatist regions. Then he said the recognition extended even to large parts of the territories currently held by Ukrainian forces, including the main Sea of ​​Azov port, Mariupol.

Finally, the legislators gave him the power to use military force outside the country, thus formalizing a Russian military deployment in the rebel regions.

Putin laid down three conditions he said could end the standoff, urging Kiev to recognize Russia’s sovereignty over Crimea, the Black Sea peninsula that Moscow annexed from Ukraine in 2014, to relinquish to its candidacy for NATO and to partially demilitarize it. Ukraine has long rejected these demands.

As the rhetoric in Russia and the West hardened, British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace recalled how the British military had “kicked the rear” of Russia during the Crimean War in Nineteenth century. Russian Defense Minister Igor Konashenkov hit back, calling Wallace’s claims “mythology” and advising British soldiers to study Russian history to avoid “enriching our common military history with their lives for the pleasure of uneducated British politicians”.

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Litvinova reported from Moscow. Angela Charlton in Paris; Frank Jordans in Berlin; Lorne Cook in Brussels, Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow, Frank Bajak in Boston, Robert Burns, Matthew Lee, Aamer Madhani, Eric Tucker, Ellen Knickmeyer, Zeke Miller, Chris Megerian and Darlene Superville in Washington contributed.

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Follow AP’s coverage of the Ukraine crisis at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine