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27 January, 2015

Emergency situation: what it is

Key legal aspects of the emergency situation imposed in Eastern Ukraine

The Cabinet of Ministers passed a decision today to impose an emergency situation on the territory of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts.

The regime of the emergency situation is defined by the Code of Civil Protection of Ukraine.

Overall, the Code defines four regimes of civil protection: daily operation (level 1), high alert (level 2), emergency situation (level 3) and state of emergency (level 4).   

Emergency situation is a situation where conditions for normal lifestyle and routine activities at an object or territory are disrupted by a manmade or natural disaster, epidemics, fire, or means of destruction that have/can result in deaths and material losses.  

A state of emergency is a specific legal regime that can be imposed temporarily in Ukraine or in some parts of it when manmade or natural emergencies of national scale occur, that have/can lead to deaths and material losses, pose a threat to the life and health of citizens, or during attempts of coup’d’état or a change of the constitutional order by force.

What the Cabinet of Ministers imposed today is the emergency situation on the national scale. A nationwide emergency situation results from a situation developing on the territory of two and more oblasts, threatening to expand beyond the oblast frontiers, and requiring more materials and technical resources to solve than the oblast in question can provide.

In that case, the Cabinet of Ministers appoints First Vice Premier or head of a central executive authority (or his/her first deputy) to oversee the process of dealing with the emergency situation. This person can decide on the following items:

- evacuation of people;

- suspension of operation of commercial entities located in the emergency situation area and restriction of access to such are for the public;

-  involvement of necessary vehicles, property of commercial entities, emergency services and the locals (with their consent) in rescue campaigns and other work; and

-  suspension of emergency and rescue campaigns when the rescue staff faces increased threat to life or health.

Importantly, selective mobilization can take place to liquidate the consequences of a nationwide manmade or natural emergency situation.

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