The Kremlin has warned that martial law that is to go into effect in parts of Ukraine on Wednesday might lead to an escalation in the rebel-held east. Ukraine late on Monday adopted a bill that introduces martial law in several regions, including those bordering the separatist-held areas, the AP reports. Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, told reporters on Tuesday that martial law might trigger a flare-up in hostilities in the east. Ukrainian troops have been fighting Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine since 2014 but the hostilities have largely subsided since a truce was signed in 2015.
Ukraine's parliament voted to impose martial law for 30 days starting Wednesday morning in 10 of Ukraine's 27 regions to fight what President Petro Poroshenko called "growing aggression" from Moscow. The move followed a weekend naval confrontation off the disputed Crimean Peninsula in which Russia fired on and seized three Ukrainian vessels amid renewed tensions between the neighbors. Poroshenko said it was necessary because of intelligence about "a highly serious threat of a ground operation against Ukraine." He did not elaborate. "Martial law doesn't mean declaring a war," he said. "It is introduced with the sole purpose of boosting Ukraine's defense in the light of a growing aggression from Russia."
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