Ukraine has begun calling up military reservists aged 18-60 for service of up to one year following a decree issued by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy as the country faces the threat of a full-sale invasion by Russia.
Separately, Ukraine’s Security Council approved plans on February 23 to declare a 30-day state of emergency, which would set in place stepped-up document and vehicle checks as well as other measures.
The state of emergency, which must be formally approved by parliament, would pertain to all areas except separatist-controlled areas of Donetsk and Luhansk, where one has been in place since 2014.
In a televised address on February 22, Mr. Zelenskyy said he would implement a conscription of reservists but that he was not ordering a general mobilization of troops at this time.
“As the Supreme Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, I issued a decree on the conscription of reservists during a special period,” he said during the broadcast.
“We must increase the readiness of the Ukrainian Army for all possible changes in the operational situation,” he added.
Mr. Zelenskyy added that he still sought a diplomatic way out of the current crisis, but he insisted that Ukraine would not cede any territory to Russia.
Meanwhile, Ukraine said it was urging its citizens to avoid travel to Russia and for those in the country to leave immediately, citing a possible disruption of consular services in the face of rising tensions with Russia.
On February 21, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he was recognizing the independence of territories under the control of Moscow-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine and that he would send Russian troops there, moves condemned by Kyiv, the UN, the West and various countries.
Western leaders have said the moves this week are the first step in an eventual full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on February 23 that Russia was heading toward “pariah status” and that the Kremlin was laying the ground for an all-out assault.
British Foreign Affairs Minister Liz Truss said that Russia was “highly likely” to attack the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, a city of some 2.6 million people.
Mr. Zelenskyy has criticized foreign allies for pulling their embassies out of the capital and in many cases out of the country.
He also attacked Ukrainian businesses for departing the country.
“All of them must stay in Ukraine. Their enterprises are located on Ukrainian soil, which is protected by our military,” he said.
(With reporting by Reuters and RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service)