Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday declared martial law in the four regions of Ukraine that Moscow annexed last month.

The regions – Donetsk People’s Republic, Luhansk People’s Republic, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson – will come under martial law Thursday, the Kremlin announced in a translated decree.

Martial law is essential defined as putting government-run operations under direct military control. 

Putin said the change will ensure safety and maintain public order, as well as ensure “anti-terrorist protection of critical facilities.”

Last month, Putin declared a “partial” military mobilization and a draft for the war against Ukraine as Kyiv began retaking some land captured by Russia earlier in the war.

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