Ukraine’s government has announced its readiness to impose martial law in case the crisis escalates in the country’s east.
“The government and parliament are ready to introduce martial law throughout Ukraine,” Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko told a cabinet meeting on Wednesday.
The statement came ahead of a new round of peace negotiations between Kiev and pro-Russia forces in the Belarusian capital of Minsk, with Poroshenko describing the talks as “the most important meeting” of his career as the president.
He added that the Minsk summit would determine whether the conflict could be resolved via “diplomatic channels” or the Ukrainian government should “switch to a completely different mode.”
Martial law, which is indicative of the aggravation of the crisis in the east, would lead to freeing up of military resources for the battle. However, it could also prompt cutting foreign investments in Ukraine amid its economic woes.
The summit for peace
The leaders of Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany are set to hold peace talks on Wednesday in an attempt to put an end to a 10-month conflict in eastern Ukraine which has taken a heavy toll on thousands of people.
Federica Mogherini, the head of the European Union’s foreign affairs, has said the Minsk summit would be a turning point in the conflict.
“It is something (that) is going to be a turning point for good or for bad…if tonight in Minsk we manage to reach an agreement,” Mogherini said in an interview.
Ukraine’s eastern parts, particularly the mainly Russian-speaking regions of Donetsk and Lugansk, have been the scene of deadly clashes between pro-Russia forces and the Ukrainian army since mid-April 2014, when the army launched operations against the forces.
According to the latest figures released by the United Nations, more than 5,500 people have been killed and over 12,900 people have been injured in the fighting.
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