Kiev, Ukraine - Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has signed a decree imposing martial law fewer than 24 hours after Russian servicemen opened fire on three Ukrainian ships near Crimea, wounding six servicemen and escalating a months-old naval confrontation that could reignite Europe's hottest armed conflict. Poroshenko has ordered for an emergency session of Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine's lower house of parliament, to take place later on Monday during which legislators will vote on the decree. If approved, as expected, the law will be imposed for 30 days from Wednesday onwards. Poroshenko initially proposed rolling out the decree for a 60 day period, but halved the proposed timeframe ahead of Monday's parliamentary session and ruled out any delay to elections scheduled to take place early next year during a televised address. He also declared the decree would not include any restrictions on citizens' rights.
Ukraine has declared martial law in part of the country after Sunday's capture of three of its naval vessels and 23 crew members by Russia. Lawmakers backed President Petro Poroshenko's request to introduce it in regions mostly bordering Russia for 30 days starting from 28 November. The authorities can now restrict public rallies and regulate the media. Some MPs expressed fears Mr Poroshenko could suspend a presidential poll on 31 March 2019 - a claim he firmly denied. Sunday's naval clash was off the coast of Crimea, annexed by Russia in 2014.
KIEV - Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Wednesday announced the end of martial law in the country's border regions that was introduced last month after Russia's seizure of three of Kiev's navy vessels in the Sea of Azov. "Today, right now, at 2:00 p.m. (1200 GMT) the martial law ends," Poroshenko said during a live streamed National Security and Defense Council meeting in Kiev. The president said he had reached the decision "based on analysis of all the components of the security situation in the country. The move to impose martial law came after Poroshenko warned of a build-up of Russian forces near Ukraine's borders, escalating the most dangerous crisis in years between the ex-Soviet neighbors. Russian border patrol boats fired on, boarded and seized the three Ukrainian vessels, along with 24 sailors, in November off the coast of Crimea.
Ukraine's parliament is to decide whether to bring in martial law, after the capture of three of its naval vessels by Russia. The three ships were sailing off the coast of Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in 2014, when they were seized. Ukraine said Russia rammed one of its boats in an "act of aggression", while Russia said the ships had illegally entered its waters. The incident marks a major escalation of tension between the two countries. This is the first time the two militaries have come into open conflict in recent years, although Ukrainian forces have been fighting Russian-backed separatists in the east of the country.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has urged Nato to send ships to the Sea of Azov following a naval confrontation with Russia off Crimea. He told Germany's Bild newspaper he hoped the ships could be relocated "to assist Ukraine and provide security". On Sunday, Russia opened fire on three Ukrainian ships and seized their crews in the Kerch Strait between the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. Nato has expressed "full support" for Ukraine, which is not a member state. Amid worsening relations on Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin accused Mr Poroshenko of creating the naval "provocation" to boost his ratings ahead of 2019 elections.