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Poroshenko announces end to martial law in Ukraine


Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko speaks during a press conference in Kiev on December 16, 2018. – Tensions between Ukraine and Russia rose on November 25, when Russian forces seized three Ukranian navy vessels and their crew. Russia maintained an increased military presence on the Ukrainian border, having withdrawn “less than 10%” of its workforce since the peak of tension between the two countries, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said on December 16, 2018. (Photo by Genya SAVILOV / AFP)

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Wednesday announced the end of a martial law in the country’s border regions, which 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 pm (1200 GMT) the martial law ends. This is my principal decision,” Poroshenko said during a live streamed military cabinet 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 neighbours.

Russian border patrol boats fired on, boarded and seized the three Ukrainian vessels, along with 24 sailors, in November off the coast of Crimea.

Western governments accused Russia of acting illegally and US President Donald Trump cancelled a meeting with Vladimir Putin at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires over the incident.

“The support and concrete actions of our international partners — their pressure on the Kremlin combined with a martial law — have stopped the worst scenario that the Russian Federation planned,” Poroshenko said.

“They didn’t let Putin cross the new red line,” he added.

The martial law was imposed in 10 regions, including areas close to territories controlled by Russia-backed rebels in the east of the country and the Sea of Azov’s coast.

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