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Ukraine state of emergency to start at midnight amid Russia tensions

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By Euronews
A Ukrainian army officer looks at his phone in a local train in Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2022.
A Ukrainian army officer looks at his phone in a local train in Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2022.   -   Copyright  Emilio Morenatti/AP Photo

Ukraine is to impose a nationwide state of emergency that would allow for transport and individual checks to be imposed amid escalating tensions with Russia.

The country's parliament approved President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s decree that imposes the measure for 30 days starting at midnight on Wednesday into Thursday, with 335 lawmakers voting in favour. It had earlier been backed by the National Security Council.

The state of emergency allows authorities to impose restrictions on movement, block rallies and ban political parties and organizations "in the interests of national security and public order".

It will not affect the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk where there is already a military operation underway, a statement from the Ukrainian government said.

"It will include reinforcing maintenance of public order and security of critical infrastructure," said Oleksiy Danilov, the secretary of Ukraine's national security and defence council.

Regional and local authorities will decide on which measures to enforce under the state of emergency.

Tensions have risen significantly between Ukraine and Russia this week after Russian President Vladimir Putin recognised the independence of the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine.

Putin then announced that he would send in troops into the region to "maintain peace", with Russian lawmakers voting to authorise the Kremlin to deploy its army in the separatist areas.

Ukraine will call up reserve forces for year-long military service as they prepare for an escalation of violence in the east and a possible Russian invasion.

Ukraine has more than 200,000 reservists in addition to 250,000 members of the regular armed forces.

The foreign ministry also urged Ukrainians to leave Russia "immediately" and not to travel to the country amid fears that the situation could escalate.

Additional sources • AP, AFP