Ukrainian president tried to use the incident in the Kerch Strait to delay upcoming elections by introducing Martial Law in Ukraine for at least 60 days
The move comes on the back of a standoff between a group of Ukrainian Navy ships, which crossed into Russian territorial sea without authorization, and the Russian border guard vessels.
While calling on the parliament to support his decree, Poroshenko used the idea of an alleged Russia’s “ground invasion.”Citing what he called a “secret intelligence document,” he said it could happen any moment and posed a great threat to Ukraine’s security. Later, the president vowed to lift the martial law if the “invasion” does not happen.
An earlier version of the decree actually involved imposing martial law on the whole territory of Ukraine for at least two months. It also specifically stated that the people’s right “to elect and be elected” might be suspended under martial law, effectively meaning that the government can call off any elections as long as the measure is in place.
The move has been seen by some as potentially beneficial for Poroshenko. The president’s rating is falling as he struggles to campaign for re-election in March, mired by unpopular economic measures and corruption scandals in his government.
Facing a public outcry over the possible fate of the upcoming elections, the president suggested that lawmakers approve martial law for 30 rather than 60 days, so as to avoid derailing the March vote.