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Putin declares martial law in four regions of Ukraine that it occupies illegally

…. ‘To hold emergency meeting’ amid fears he’ll put Russia on ‘total war footing’

Wednesday 19 Oct 2022 1:02 pmShare

Martial law will be imposed on four annexed regions, the president said in an address today (Pictures: Russia Ministry of Defence/Sky News)

Russian president Vladimir Putin has announced martial law is being introduced in four regions of Ukraine he has annexed.

The decree covers Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia in the south-east of the country.

He told his security team from Moscow today: ‘We guarantee that this will be done with a guaranteed degree of reliability.

Putin addresses security council as Russia steps up attacks on Ukrainian energy

‘Very recently, there has been a lot of disaffection with the order reigning in the armed forces but I have today issued a decree which rectifies that.’

Mr Putin added there will be a ‘big allocation from the budget for humanitarian assistance and also for training of personnel’.

Putin ‘to hold emergency meeting’ amid fears he’ll put Russia on ‘total war footing’

The Kremlin reportedly held a meeting today that could significantly ramp up war efforts  (Picture: Getty/AP)
The Kremlin reportedly held a meeting today that could significantly ramp up war efforts (Picture: Getty/AP)

Vladimir Putin is due to hold an emergency meeting in Moscow today, as urgent talks are carried out thousands of miles away in Washington.

The news comes amid rising fears over the Kremlin potentially deploying tactical nukes in the Black Sea.

In Putin’s meeting today, sources have warned he may discussing putting the country on ‘total war footing’.

There has been widespread speculation of Russian borders closing to military age men, and possibly others.

Today’s meeting is also due to discuss ‘neutralising threats to national security in the migration sphere’.

Putin could also be looking to impose martial law across the country, sources in Russia have predicted.

Today’s meeting is reportedly a ‘remote’ session, sparking speculation that Putin could be at a secret bunker as he prepares to impose further wartime controls on Russians.

Meanwhile in Washington, urgent talks on ‘security concerns’ were held between the US and the UK today.

Crews respond to a fire after a recent Russian attack targeted energy infrastructure in Kyiv (Picture: Getty Images)

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace pulled out of a planned appearance in the Commons to rush to America late last night.

A security source told The Sun the nuclear threat from Russia ‘has increased recently’.

But others, such as Foreign Secretary James Cleverly, have calmed for calm.

He said: ”There’s urgency, of course there’s urgency, because civilians are being targeted in a new way and we have to respond to that and our response has got to be done at pace and there are conversations, frankly, you don’t want to have over the telephone.’

Mr Cleverly insisted the discussions were a ‘normal and regular part of what is a very abnormal and perverse situation’.

His comments come as multiple air strikes have cut power and water supplies to hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians.

The country’s president has branded the offensive an expanding Russian campaign to drive the nation ‘into the cold’ and dark and make peace talks impossible.

President Volodymyr Zelensky said nearly a third of Ukraine’s power stations have been destroyed in the past week.

A Ukrainian serviceman checks the trenches dug by Russian soldiers in a retaken area in Kherson region, Ukraine, Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2022. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)
A Ukrainian serviceman checks the trenches dug by Russian soldiers in a retaken area in Kherson region (Picture: AP)
KYIV, UKRAINE - OCTOBER 17: A soldier is seen sitting on the ground after Russian attacks in Kyiv, Ukraine on October 17, 2022. It was reported that at least four explosions were heard in Ukraine??s capital Kyiv on Monday as authorities reported attacks by Russian kamikaze drones. (Photo by Metin Aktas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
A soldier recovers after Russian attacks in Kyiv on October 17 (Picture: Getty Images)

‘No space left for negotiations with Putin’s regime,’ he tweeted.

Meanwhile, along the front lines, things remain ‘very difficult’ for Russian troops in the southern region and city of Kherson, according to Russia’s new commander, Sergei Surovikin.

He told reporters in Moscow that the Russian military would help evacuate civilians ahead of an expected Ukrainian offensive.

Kherson is one of four regions illegally annexed by Russia last month.

Regional head Vladimir Saldo said residents of Berislav, Belozersky, Snigiryovsky and Alexandrovsky were to be moved across the Dnieper River, away from Russian troops building ‘large-scale defensive fortifications’.

He urged residents to stay calm and said they would ‘remain under the reliable protection of the Russian army’.

Across Ukraine, even far from front lines, basic utilities are no longer certainties, with daily Russian strikes reaching far into the country and damaging key facilities.

The latest city shorn of power was Zhytomyr, home to military bases, industries and leafy boulevards, about 85 miles west of Kyiv.

Firefighters work to put out a fire in an energy infrastructure facilities, damaged by a Russian missile strike, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in Zhytomyr, Ukraine, October 18, 2022. State Emergency Service of Ukraine/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT.
Firefighters tackle a major blaze in the Zhytomyr region of Ukraine yesterday (Picture: Reuters)

The mayor said the whole city of 250,000 lost power and also water initially. Repairs quickly reconnected some homes but 150,000 people were still without electricity hours after the morning strike, regional authorities said.

In the capital, Kyiv, missile strikes damaged two power facilities and killed two people, city authorities said. The attack left 50,000 people without power for a few hours, the facilities’ operator added.

Missiles also severely damaged an energy facility in the south-central city of Dnipro, and strikes hit the north-eastern region of Sumy.

Russia is combining different modes of attack. Suicide drones set an infrastructure facility on fire in the partly Russian-occupied southern Zaporizhzhia region, the regional governor said.

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