By Paul Goble
Vladimir Putin has ordered the introduction of martial law in the Ukrainian regions Moscow seeks to annex in the Donbass as of tomorrow, arguing that such a step is necessary because of the danger that what he claims is Russian territory is at risk of being attacked (kremlin.ru/events/president/news/69631).
But Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, says that what Putin is doing represents “preparation for the mass deportation of the Ukrainian population into depressed regions of Russia in order to change the ethnic composition of the occupied territories (twitter.com/OleksiyDanilov/status/1582728608652500992).
Russia has already committed this crime against humanity in occupied Crimea, the Ukrainian official says. It should and must be condemned by the international community; but tragically, so far it remains unpunished – and so it appears that Putin is set to do it again on an even larger scale.
Putin also used today’s meeting of the Russian Security Council to impose tighter controls over much of European Russia, to form a coordinating council to guide military operations in Ukraine, and to raise the pay of Russians mobilized to a minimum of 195,000 rubles (2500 US dollars) a month (https://twitter.com/OleksiyDanilov/status/1582728608652500992).