Ukraine ‘extends’ martial law by a month in newspaper error

Ukraine ‘extends’ martial law by a month in newspaper error The official newspaper of the Ukrainian government has published the wrong version of a presidential decree declaring martial law in the country. The publication is the last step required for the decree to come into force.

The chaotic Monday approval of President Petro Poroshenko’s decision to impose martial law in Ukraine was followed by a worthy sequel on Tuesday. The president’s initial plan was to declare a 60-day nationwide special status, which gives the Ukrainian military much authority over what is allowed and not allowed.

However, getting the necessary votes in the national parliament proved to be challenging, as some opposition MPs accused him of an attempted power grab. As a compromise, martial law was reduced to just 30 days and limited to only some parts of the country.

The agreed-upon version of the presidential decree was expected to come into force on Tuesday after its publication in the official newspaper of the Ukrainian executive branch. But the text printed by the ‘Government’s Courier’ turned out to be the older, harsher version initially suggested by Poroshenko.

Vice-Prime Minister Ivanna Klimpush-Tsintsadze reassured a confused public that this was not some underhand ploy, confirming that the publication had been made in error. “A retraction will be printed. This decree has been cancelled. The next day’s issue will make public the correct decree and the relevant law,” she wrote on her Facebook page.

Kiev decided to impose martial law after the confrontation between the Ukrainian Navy’s patrol boats and Russian border guards near the Kerch Strait last Sunday. The scuffle ended with three Ukrainian ships being seized and their crews were arrested by the Russian side.

Kiev calls the incident an act of open aggression and insists that the Ukrainian crews did nothing wrong. Moscow says the Ukrainians tried to violate navigation rules and pass through the narrow corridor in defiance of Russian instructions, and that the seizure was a fully legal response to the provocation.

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