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State of emergency in Ukraine: What it is and how it to impact lives of ordinary Ukrainians

State of emergency in Ukraine in February 2022. Photo: Vitalii Taranenko / UNIAN

State of emergency in Ukraine in February 2022. Photo: Vitalii Taranenko / UNIAN

On February 23, the National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) proposed imposing a state of emergency on the territory of Ukraine, except for the Donetsk and Luhansk regions because the JFO regime is in effect there. This followed Russian President Vladimir Putin signing decrees on February 21 recognizing the so-called DPR and LPR as independent.

Now the President of Ukraine must enact a decree on a state of emergency in certain regions that the Verkhovna Rada must approve within two days.

A state of emergency is imposed in an exceptional situation when the "life of the nation" is at threat. The danger may be foreign military occupation, social unrest such as riots, or other types of internal strife that seriously threaten the rule of law in the country.

State of emergency in Ukraine: What rights and restrictions are

During the state of emergency, the following may be imposed:

  • imposition of a special regime of entry and exit, as well as restriction of freedom of movement;
  • restriction of the movement of vehicles and their inspection;
  • enhancement of enforcement of public order and protection of facilities that ensure the vital activity of the population;
  • ban on holding meetings, rallies, street marches and demonstrations, as well as entertainment, sports and other mass events;
  • ban on strikes;
  • imposition of a curfew;
  • stop, after an appropriate warning, of the activities of political parties, public organizations, mass movements, and amateur associations of citizens, if these activities impede the situation normalization;
  • identity check, and, in necessary cases, personal searches, searches of personal belongings, vehicles, luggage and cargo, office premises and housing of citizens;
  • restriction or temporary ban on selling weapons, poisonous and potent chemicals, and alcoholic beverages;
  • temporary seizure from citizens of registered firearms and cold steel and ammunition, and from enterprises, institutions, and organizations—military-training equipment, explosives, radioactive substances and materials, poisonous and potent chemicals;
  • introduction of censorship, restrictions on the publication of newspapers;
  • expulsion of disorderly person who are not residents of the given locality to their place of residence or outside the locality where the state of emergency has been imposed at their expense;
  • ban on the producing and spreading information materials that can destabilize the situation;
  • special regulations on using communications.

The Verkhovna Rada and the President of Ukraine may stop for the duration of the state of emergency any decision of the local state administration and local and regional self-government bodies operating in the territory where the state of emergency has been imposed.

It should be noted that under the state of emergency, the following are prohibited: changing the Constitution of Ukraine and laws on elections, holding elections (presidential, that of the Verkhovna Rada, and local), and holding referendums. If a state of emergency is declared during the intersessional period of the Verkhovna Rada, the session is resumed without additional announcement.

At a press briefing, Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council Oleksiy Danilov noted that the decision to intensify measures and restrictions under the state of emergency would be taken by local authorities, depending on the situation in each individual region.

"No one will make life a nightmare for anybody. But providing security when necessary is our duty, our task."

Oleksiy Danilov

Oleksiy Danilov

NSDC Secretary

Curfew: What it is and whether it to be imposed in Ukraine

A curfew is a prohibition for residents of a certain locality to go outside at a set time of day without special permission. In this territory, patrolling and protection of facilities are being enhanced, and a pass control is being imposed. In regions where a state of emergency is in effect, a curfew may be imposed upon making the appropriate decision.

When asked by journalists, Danilov stated that the decision to impose a curfew would be entrusted to the local authorities.

"Colleagues depending on the situation. The headquarters that will be located in one or another territory can make certain decisions... I stress once again: if necessary."

Oleksiy Danilov

Oleksiy Danilov

NSDC Secretary

How long can the state of emergency last in Ukraine

A state of emergency in Ukraine can be imposed for a period of not more than 30 days and not more than 60 days in certain regions. If necessary, the President can extend the state of emergency for 30 days, but no more. The President, by his order, can cancel the state of emergency ahead of time if the threat has expired.

Why the state of emergency is not imposed in Donetsk and Luhansk regions and what can change there

The state of emergency will not be imposed in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, since this is impossible. There is already an emergency legal regime due to hostilities.

However, the State Border Service reported about additional regime restrictions in areas bordering the Russian Federation, Belarus, the temporarily occupied territory of Ukraine, and those adjacent to the sea coast.

From now on, it is prohibited to be in border areas at night, the departure of any ships from naval bases, the vehicle traffic, except for military equipment and agricultural machinery, along field and forest roads leading to the state border.

The ban also applies to the stay of foreigners in the border zone, the use of radio stations, flights of single-engine and unmanned aerial vehicles, videos or photos of border guards and facilities in the border areas, and movement along the coast or ice of border reservoirs.

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