STATE OF EMERGENCY DECLARED BY UKRAINE

The Ukraine government, on Wednesday, declared a state of emergency, as military conflict with Russia unfolded.  The Ukrainians are bracing as the Russian aggression continues on the border and diplomacy chances are no more​

The order came on Wednesday, just two days after Russian President Vladimir Putin recognized the independence of the rebel-controlled Donetsk and Luhansk regions as “independent” people’s republics on Monday, just before he ordered troops to go into both regions. 

The state of emergency was recommended in a meeting Wednesday of the National Security and Defense Council and pending approval by the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s parliament, and does not cover the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. The Ukraine government’s growing concern is that a full-scale Russian invasion could come at any moment.

The state of emergency will last 30 days, starting Thursday, and will allow the government to limit movement and rallies, as well as banning political parties and organizations, according to the Associated Press (AP). It also permits the government to carry out transportation inspections and “inspections of individuals’ documents,” mandate curfews and ban “information materials that could destabilize the situation in the country. Ukrainian security official Oleksiy Danilov said the state of emergency could be expanded by an additional 30 days if needed, Reuters reported.

The announcement came as a new massive cyberattack hit several Ukrainian websites on Wednesday, CNBC and other outlets reported. The source was not yet confirmed, but it followed another cyberattack that hit Ukraine last week.

Melissa Griffith, a senior program associate with The Wilson Center’s Science and Technology Innovation Program, said in a statement, “Cyber operations, including the recent wave of (distributed denial-of-service) attacks, are just one element of a much larger and pressing set of national security concerns. The consequences from a land war are far graver than any cyber operation Russia has carried out or may carry out in the future. Neither the United States nor Ukraine can afford to miss the forest through the trees.”

Some Western countries said Russia’s moving into the separatist regions, known collectively as the Donbas, could be seen as an invasion, The AP reported. Meanwhile, an unnamed U.S. defense official told the AP the thousands of Russian troops positioned within miles of the Ukrainian border “are ready as they can be” for invasion, adding that about 80% are in “forward positions, ready to go.”

European countries and the U.S. have already begun to impose sanctions on Russia in response to its military buildup and the entry of troops into the Donbas. In a statement posted on Twitter, Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba called for Ukraine’s allies to impose more sanctions.

Kuleba wrote, “First decisive steps were taken yesterday, and we are grateful for them. Now the pressure needs to step up to stop Putin. Hit his economy and cronies. Hit more. Hit hard. Hit now.”

A diplomatic breakthrough is looking less and less likely, as Secretary of State Antony Blinken, announced on Tuesday that he had canceled his Thursday meeting scheduled with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Blinken said the plans were scrapped, in consultation with allies, because an “invasion is beginning and Russia has made clear its wholesale rejection of diplomacy.” A proposed summit between President Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin is now unlikely to move forward.  A senior administration official told reporters on Monday that the White House “certainly can’t commit to a meeting that has a predicate that Russia won’t take military action when it looks imminently they will.”

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