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Ukraine’s parliament extends martial law and mobilization for 90 days

The Ukrainian parliament on Sunday extended the period of martial law and general mobilization for an additional 90 days, until August 23, a sign that Kiev expects many more months of fighting.

Kiev, 22 May 2022 (dpa/MIA) – The Ukrainian parliament on Sunday extended the period of martial law and general mobilization for an additional 90 days, until August 23, a sign that Kiev expects many more months of fighting.

President Volodymyr Zelensky first imposed the drastic measures across Ukrainian territory on February 24, just hours after Russia’s invasion from the north, south and east.

Martial law gives the military expanded powers and restricts civil liberties such as the right to demonstrate. Able-bodied men aged 18 to 60 were prohibited from leaving the country and urged to join the fight against the Russians.

Several lawmakers confirmed via Telegram on Sunday that the extension recently proposed by Zelensky had been approved through August 23. Ukraine traditionally celebrates its Independence Day a day later.

Last week, Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych justified the three-month extension of martial law by saying there was no sign the war would be over by autumn.

He added that the Ukrainian population would be given false hope if martial law was prolonged for only 30 days, as it had been in the past.

Also on Sunday, Polish President Andrzej Duda became the first foreign head of state to address the Ukrainian parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, since the Russian offensive began.

No one can shake Polish-Ukrainian unity, Duda said in his speech, emphasizing: “The free world has the face of Ukraine.”

Again and again, the parliamentarians rose to applaud. Zelensky was also present.

Duda’s surprise visit was announced only on Sunday morning. The 50-year-old travelled to Ukraine for the second time since the outbreak of war at the end of February.

Among other things, Duda is campaigning for the neighbouring country to be granted EU candidate status as soon as possible.

“Poland will do everything in its power to help Ukraine become a member of the European Union,” Duda said.

Almost 3.5 million Ukrainian refugees have entered Poland since February 24. Poland has granted refuge to by far the most of the total of around 6.5 million refugees from Ukraine. Around 44 million people lived in Ukraine before the war began.

Heavy fighting was meanwhile continuing in eastern Ukraine’s Donbass, especially around the towns of Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk.

Positions of Ukrainian troops in the area along the entire front line are being shelled with Russian artillery, the general staff in Kiev said on Sunday.

Russian troops tried unsuccessfully to storm villages north, east and south of Sievierodonetsk. They are fighting just as hard for villages south of the route from Lysychansk to Bakhmut in the Donetsk region.

The Russian army has been trying for days to cut off supplies from the Donetsk region to the Ukrainian groups around Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk.

The day before, the Ukrainian side said a bridge over the Siversky Donets River between the twin cities was deliberately destroyed with 240-millimetre mortars.

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