Today, the Parliament will consider the issue of extreme importance, which directly concerns your protection, your security, the security of Ukraine, its sovereignty and territorial integrity.
According to the decision of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine adopted tonight, as President and as Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, I have fulfilled my constitutional duty and a few hours ago, by my decree, I introduced martial law all over Ukraine starting from 9 am, November 28.
Russia has been waging a hybrid war against our country for five years. But with an attack on Ukrainian military boats it moved to a new stage of aggression. No one will say now: “They are not there”. No one camouflages into green humanoids or militiamen. This is a bold and frank participation of the regular units of the Russian Federation, their demonstrative attack on the detachment of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. This is a qualitatively different situation, a qualitatively different threat.
And this attack, of course, is not accidental. This is clearly an element planned by Russians in the escalation of the situation in the waters of the Sea of Azov, which has been lasting for several months. And I’m sure this is still not a culmination. Security officials and diplomats have informed you today at a press conference about all the circumstances of yesterday’s incident.
Reconnaissance data suggest an extremely serious threat of a land-based operation against Ukraine. I have a document of intelligence in my hands, a summary of our intelligence data. Here on several pages is a detailed description of all the forces of the enemy located at a distance of literally several dozens of kilometers from our border. Ready at any moment for an immediate invasion of Ukraine. A rifle hanging on the wall will go off sooner or later. And these are planes, helicopters, tanks, missile complexes, armored personnel carriers, salvo fire systems.
Of all the options provided by the Law “On the Legal Status of Martial Law”, the Decree, my Decree “On the Imposition of Martial Law” includes only those that deal mainly with various military activities – we must strengthen the security right now. (Measures – ed.) that in case of the invasion will allow us to react as quickly as possible, mobilize all resources as soon as possible. Especially since the boys and girls from the first wave of the reserve, which already have military experience, are ready to pack rucksacks right now and resources will be mobilized – both human, arms and financial.
I emphasize that I do not envisage any measures in the Decree related to the restriction of the rights and freedoms of citizens, introduction of censorship, etc. I hope that both politicians and mass media will act responsibly and adequately in the current situation and will not attack Ukraine with the theses borrowed from Russian propagandists.
Nor do I plan to resort to full or partial mobilization so far – this opportunity remains open only if Russia resorts to further escalation.
Martial law does not mean the declaration of war. It is introduced solely for the purpose of strengthening Ukraine’s defense against the background of growing aggressiveness from Russia. Martial law does not mean our retreat from the political-diplomatic settlement in the east. Today, I informed our western partners about this in detail. From the very morning, I have had detailed talks with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, with Polish President Andrzej Duda, since Poland represents Ukraine’s position and is the initiator of the consideration of the situation at the UN Security Council, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and with many others. Consultations will be continued this evening. And I can tell you that their attention to the situation in the east and directly in the waters of the Sea of Azov has increased substantially. Today, we are heard much better than yesterday or the day before yesterday.
Dear friends, fellow Ukrainians.
Our joint responsibility, first of all mine, as of Supreme Commander-in-Chief, is to protect Ukraine. And Ukraine’s defense is not only the defense of territory or military equipment. This is primarily the protection of people. We must be as prepared as possible for any action by our aggressive, volatile and, unfortunately, pretty unpredictable neighbor.
Of course, it is related to the protection of the right to free choice as well. Only a reliable defense, only doubling and tripling our defensive efforts guarantees peace that is needed, inter alia, for the conduct of the elections.
The NSDC recommended me today to introduce martial law for 60 days. I want to announce to you my decision – I will propose to the Parliament to introduce martial law for 30 days. For what? For martial law not to overlap with the beginning of the election campaign by a single day. So that no one of those who care for their party, their political interest more than for the nation and Ukrainian interest have a reason for dirty political speculations or insinuations.
Martial law will last 30 days and will end in mid-December. It is in December, in early December, that I will submit a draft resolution to the Parliament on the date of the presidential elections to be held in accordance with the Constitution on March 31, 2019. Period. As Supreme Commander-in-Chief, I will make every effort to stay within this short term and squeeze out the maximum opportunities from this month to increase our readiness to repel a possible full-scale offensive of the aggressor country – Russia.
Glory to Ukraine!