Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree Wednesday introducing martial law in the four regions of Ukraine recently annexed by Russia, as Russian-installed officials in Kherson announced an evacuation of civilians in the region.
The decree affects the Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions and is set to take effect on Thursday, pending approval of the Federation Council.
"Let me remind you that in the Donetsk People's Republic, the Luhansk People's Republic, as well as the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions, before they became part of Russia, there was a martial law regime. And now we need to formalize this regime within the framework of Russian legislation. Therefore, I signed a decree on the introduction of military provisions in these four subjects of the Russian Federation. It will immediately be sent for approval to the Federation Council," said Putin on Wednesday during a meeting of Russia's security council, according to RIA Novosti.
A medium level of response - a form of high alert - was also introduced in the border regions of the Russian Federation in accordance with Putin's decisions on Wednesday, according to TASS. The affected regions include Crimea, Krasnodar, Belgorod, Bryansk, Voronezh, Kursk, Rostov and the city of Sevastopol.
The medium level of response includes measures restricting the movement of vehicles and the restriction of movement over the entry into and exit from these regions.
The Kremlin stressed that there are no plans to close the borders of Russia.
A basic level of response was issued in the rest of the Russian Federation.
During the security council meeting, Putin claimed that Kyiv is creating a "bandit underground" in Russia and had refused to negotiate.