10:57 GMT19 June 2021
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    Following the seizure of three Ukrainian Navy vessels by Russian border guards after they violated the country's maritime border near Kerch Strait, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko signed a decree, enabling martial law to 'protect the state' until the end of December 2018. Sputnik explains how martial law will change life in Ukraine.

    Election Ban

    One of the key aspects of Ukrainian citizens lives that will be affected by martial law, is their right to participate in elections and referendums. The proposed martial law will last for 60 days, meaning that it will at least affect the presidential election campaign that is due to start in 2019, and, considering the law can be prolonged, may even affect the elections themselves, which are scheduled for 31 March 2019. In other words, President Petro Poroshenko will be able to keep his post as long as martial law lasts.

    Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko attends a ceremony to hand over weapons and military vehicles to servicemen of the Ukrainian armed forces in Chuhuiv outside Kharkiv, Ukraine, October 15, 2016
    © REUTERS / Mikhail Palinchak/Ukrainian Presidential Press Service

    Same goes for the parliament, which can't be re-elected while martial law is in effect. If it lasts for little over a year, the elections to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, which are to take place on 27 October 2019, will also be postponed. Furthermore, both the parliament and the president won't be able to amend the Ukrainian Constitution, including the clauses regarding martial law.

    Limitations of Citizens' Rights

    Although certain fundamental rights can't be alienated even during martial law, Ukrainians will still be stripped of some of their rights, apart from the right to vote. Namely, the government will be able to ban any gatherings, strikes, and protests if it considers them 'threatening'. Kiev will also be able to impose a curfew and limit citizens' movements across the country, if it deems it necessary.

    READ MORE: Russian Foreign Ministry Declares Protest Over Kerch Strait Incident

    Additional Powers for the Government

    In addition to all that, the government gains the right to expropriate any private property for military needs, although owners are eligible for compensation in such cases. Plus any person, eligible for military service can be immediately mobilised if the government demands it.

    Also, Kiev will be able to command any plant or factory to switch production to a military footing for the duration of martial law. At the same time, working hours and conditions can also be altered by a government decree, although workers retain their right to rest and minimal pay.

    Failure to abide by any of these demands and limitations is punishable just like as any violation of the regular law. The government can prolong martial law as long as it finds that the threat to the state's sovereignty or intergrity continues.


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    civil rights, martial law, elections, Petro Poroshenko, Ukraine
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