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Russia's Putin Declares Martial Law In Seized Ukrainian Regions

BUCHAREST, Romania - President Vladimir Putin introduced martial law on Wednesday in four Ukrainian regions he says are part of Russia as some residents of the Russian - held city of Kherson left by boat after Moscow warned of a looming assault.

The images of people fleeing Kerson were broadcast by Russian state TV which portrayed the exodus - from the right bank of the river Dnipro to its left bank - as an attempt to clear the city of civilians before it became a combat zone.

Kirikk Stremousov, deputy head of the local Russian - backed administration, made a video appeal after Russian forces in the area were driven back by 20-30 km (13-30 miles) in the last few weeks. They risk being pinned against the western bank of the 2,200 km (1367 miles) - long Dnipro river that bisects Ukraine.

In a move which looked designed to help Russia firm its grip on four Ukrainian regions it partly occupied and seek to fully control - including the Kherson region - Putin told his Security Council he was introducing martial law in them.

Beyond much tighter security measures on the ground, it was unclear what the immediate impact of what would be.

Putin also issued a decree restricting movement in and out of eight regions adjoining Ukraine.



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