Putin orders sweeping security powers in zones near Ukraine

President Vladimir Putin ordered a significant increase in security, including travel restrictions, in areas along the border with Ukraine as attacks spread into Russian territory.
Citing strikes in recent weeks in border areas and a bombing on his showcase bridge to Crimea, Putin told a Security Council televised meeting that he ordered strengthen measures across the country. He also expanded the existing martial law regimes in the four Ukrainian territories he annexed last month.
Russian forces have been steadily losing ground over the past two months in the face of a Ukrainian counter-offensive to recapture large areas that Putin claims annexed. On Wednesday, the Russian occupation authorities in the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson said they were relocating to areas further from the front lines as Kyiv’s troops continued to advance and cut off their supply lines.
Putin’s new measures impose greater security in six Russian regions near the Ukraine border, as well as Crimea, which he annexed in 2014, underscoring how widespread his eight-month war . The new rules allow officials to impose limits on movement in and out of areas, temporarily relocate civilians out of combat zones, increase “economic mobilization” and production military and increased powers for the army.
Areas far from the front lines, including Moscow, may also be subject to unspecified restrictions on movement, according to the text of the presidential order.
Alexander Baunov of the Carnegie Center said: “Putin’s decree is in effect bringing some areas of Russia on the border with Ukraine into the circle of war.” “It looks like this is a test run of emergency mechanisms in some regions, which could then be extended to other territories.”
The governors of the affected areas were quick to blunt any immediate impact. Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said, “at the moment, no measures to limit the normal rhythm of the city’s life are in place.”
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the government has no plans to close the country’s borders as a result of the order, according to the RIA Novosti news service.
Putin said Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin will be in charge of a new coordination council to deal with security issues on a national scale. Regional governors will also receive more powers to deal with security and support for the families of enlisted reservists, he said.
The Russian occupation authorities said they had left Kherson for the eastern bank of the Dnipro River as Ukrainian forces continued to counterattack in the area. Russia-appointed governor Vladimir Saldo told state television there were no plans to surrender the city, the region’s first capital to fall to Russia during the invasion.
The state-run Tass news service reported that Russian officials sent text messages warning city residents early on Wednesday and there were plans to relocate about 60,000 people from areas west of the Dnipro.
Russian forces are expected to retreat to the east bank of the river and try to keep a defensive line there, local deputy councilor Serhiy Khlan, who has left the Kherson region, said on TV on Wednesday. . “We now have 29 liberated Kherson settlements. Together with Kherson, we will see the entire right bank of Kherson area unoccupied,” Khlan said.


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