Russian President Vladimir Putin has introduced martial law in four of Ukraine’s annexed territories, but is struggling to defend against Ukraine’s advance.
Putin said in a televised address to members of the Security Council that he would strengthen the security powers of all Russian regional governors and, under Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, make special arrangements to strengthen the stalled war effort. ordered the creation of a council.
He said the “whole system of state administration”, not just specialized security agencies, must be coordinated to support what Russia calls “special military operations”.
The move marks the latest escalation by President Putin to counter a string of crushing defeats at the hands of Ukrainian forces since early September, almost eight months into the war.
Officials in Kyiv said the move would change nothing.
The published Kremlin decree stipulated that eight bordering Ukraine, including Crimea, was annexed by Russia in 2014 after Ukraine’s Russia-friendly government, led by then-President Viktor Yanukovych, was violently ousted. He ordered “economic mobilization” in the region.
It put them in a special regime one step below martial law, allowing them to restrict the movement of people.
Putin has granted leaders in all of Russia’s 80-plus regions additional powers to protect critical facilities, maintain public order, and increase production to support the war effort.
However, it was not at all clear how quickly and effectively this new measure would strengthen Russia’s military position on the ground. These happened when Russian-staffed officials in the Ukrainian-occupied Kherson region told civilians to leave some areas as soon as possible in anticipation of an imminent Ukrainian attack.
Russia expert Mark Galeotti said on Twitter that the move amounted to a “diverse declaration of martial law across Russia,” with some degree of emergency restrictions now being applied across the country.
He said it was unclear whether local officials would use the additional powers as Moscow wanted, ignore them, or use them as an opportunity to misappropriate state resources.
Vladimir Sard, the Russian-appointed acting governor of occupied Kherson, has confirmed that he will hand over power to the military, according to Russian news outlets. However, many regional heads, including Moscow’s mayor Sergei Sobyanin, said they were not planning to make any changes anytime soon.
“This does not change anything for Ukraine. We continue to liberate and deoccupy territories,” Ukrainian presidential adviser Mikhail Podlyak said on Twitter.
Ukrainian interests forced Putin into a series of escalations within the past month. The unpopular call-up of hundreds of thousands of additional troops, his unilateral annexation of four regions of Ukraine – condemned as illegal by the vast majority of countries at the United Nations. General Assembly – and the threat of resorting to nuclear weapons to protect Russia from nuclear or existential threats to its territory.
After months of assurances from the Kremlin that the operation was going according to plan, more and more urgent measures were taken, making the reality of war closer to many ordinary Russians.
The chaotic state of military failure and mobilization, which has seen hundreds of thousands of men flee the country, has drawn unprecedented criticism even from Putin’s allies.
Some regions have publicly appealed to provide newly mobilized soldiers with basic equipment to head to the front lines, a problem President Putin tacitly acknowledged.
“Our soldiers must be provided with everything they need, no matter what mission they perform. This includes barracks facilities and locations, living conditions, kits and equipment, food and It applies to medicine,” he said.
“We have every opportunity to solve all the problems that arise here – and they exist – at a modern level befitting our country.”
Paul Stronsky, a Russia expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said Putin is giving regional leaders more responsibility by ordering them to set the stage for war. However, they did not specify what they actually needed to do.
Stronsky, a former Russia expert at the US State Department, said the president’s order symbolizes Russia’s struggle to implement an effective war plan.
“President Putin had a vision seven months ago that went horribly wrong and he still doesn’t fully understand how to revise his vision of how wars should be carried out.
https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/world/477031/putin-demands-all-russia-war-effort-as-he-declares-martial-law-in-annexed-regions Putin declares martial law in annexed territories, calls for all-Russian war effort