Ukraine will impose martial law if the situation in eastern Ukraine deteriorates and tensions with Russia over Crimea escalate, President Petro Poroshenko said during a visit to the Lviv region on August 18.
"In the event of the exacerbation of the situation in the east and in Crimea... we will have to impose martial law and order mobilisation," Interfax news agency quoted Poroshenko as saying. "The probability of escalation remains high. We do not absolutely rule out a full-scale Russian invasion in all directions. Our armed forces are ready to repel the enemy both in the east, and along the administrative border with Crimea."
The statement followed last week's escalation of the security situation over Crimea, when the Russian authorities accused Ukraine of preparing acts of sabotage in the peninsula. According to Moscow, a group of saboteurs was arrested near the city of Armiansk on August 7, during which shots were fired, killing two Russian servicemen. After the disputed incident, Poroshenko put Ukraine’s military in border areas on full combat alert.
Poroshenko also added that "the enemy" does not stop attempts to derail the Minsk peace process, making "irresponsible" statements on withdrawal from talks in the Normandy format, which includes France, Germany, Ukraine and Russia. "The intensity of attacks on our army positions in eastern Ukraine has drastically increased," the president underlined on August 18.
The previous day Poroshenko stressed the need for expanding the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe's (OSCE) mission to cover the territory of Crimea, as well as deploy an armed police mission under the aegis of the OSCE in Donbas, according to the presidential media office's statement published after Poroshenko's telephone conversation with President of the European Council Donald Tusk.
"After the recent events in Crimea, there should not be any illusions about Russia’s intentions," Poroshenko added. "Maintenance and strengthening of sanctions is an effective instrument of influence."