Martial law: what will be the changes in operation of banks, communications and post offices?

AIN.UA editor found out how the martial law will affect the operation of banks, shipping services, telecommunications and the Internet, and other aspects of daily life.

What has happened?

On the night of November 25, the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine (NSDC) recommended the President to introduce martial law in the country in connection with the situation in the Kerch Strait. The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine will meet today for an extraordinary session to vote for the relevant presidential decree.

The martial law imposes various restrictions (24 provisions). They are described in the Law of Ukraine “On Legal Regime of Martial Law”. According to the presidential adviser Yurii Biriukov, when a decision on martial law is adopted, it is separately prescribed which of these provisions will be applied and which ones will not.

The NSDC recommends introducing martial law for a period of 60 days. The legislation provides for the following restrictions which may affect everyday life of the people of Ukraine:

  • labour duty for Ukrainian citizens of working age, not working in defence industry or in the field of population life support – they are engaged for defence works or liquidation of consequences of emergency situations;
  • use of workforce of enterprises and organizations of all forms of ownership for national defence needs;
  • possible compulsory alienation of private or communal ownership – the law provides compensation for such cases of alienation;
  • regulation of operations of telecommunications companies, TV and radio broadcasting companies and mass media, possible prohibition of radio stations operations and prohibition to transfer information via computer networks.
  • in case of violation or non-performance of measures introduced by martial law – seizure of telecommunications equipment, TV, video- and audio equipment, computers and other technical communication means of enterprises and organizations of any form of ownership or citizens.

The actual list of restrictions in case of martial law introduction will be declared only after the session of the Verkhovna Rada (it has 72 hours to adopt a decision), but several regulatory bodies and companies have already announced their work regimes in the case of martial law.

How will the banks work?

Yakiv Smolii, the Governor of the National Bank of Ukraine, announced that the banks will continue working as usual. He stated, “The decisions to be adopted will in no way affect operation of the banking system of Ukraine. Bank branches will work in the normal course. The decisions won`t affect banks operation.” Representatives of “PrivatBank” also confirmed their intention to work in a normal operation mode.

How will the postal services work?

Postal operators also don`t foresee any changes in their work. JSC “Ukrposhta” told our editorial staff “No changes as for now. We continue working as usual.” Another postal services operator “Nova Poshta” indicated that they cannot provide any comments until the Verkhovna Rada adopts its decision.

How will telecommunications companies work?

Ukrainian Internet Association (UIA), which is a leading telecommunications companies association, believes that change of the legal regime may affect operation of communication service providers due to content regulation.

“The Law [Editor’s note: on martial law] provides that according to the existing situation a decision on the application of certain provisions should be adopted. We will know which ones will be applied in case the Verkhovna Rada adopts a decision on martial law from a relevant presidential decree. Until then we can only make guesses about that, as well as about the fact whether the Verkhovna Rada will support the initiative of the President of Ukraine.

It must be assumed that the regulation of operation of telecommunications enterprises and the media will be involved, first of all, for strengthening of countering the spread of illegal content.

In case relevant decision is be made, we will provide clarifications for UIA members with regards to the requirements of the legislation”, – commented representatives of the UIA.

Mobile operators also confirm continuation of the usual operation of telephone and internet communications:

“Mobile and landline network of “Kyivstar” works under normal conditions. The clients shouldn`t be concerned about that. In its activities our company is guided only by requirements of legislation in force. If there are any changes in the procedure or conditions of our service provision, we will immediately inform our clients about that.”, we were told in “Kyivstar”.

Another mobile telephone network operator “lifecell” stated, “In accordance with legislation communication service operators shall ensure full readiness of their networks in case there is martial law. “lifecell” is ready to ensure operation of its network in cases of state of emergency or martial law, including a possibility to inform its clients. However, we will be able to provide more details on the changes in the company`s work and their influence on our clients only after the relevant Presidential decree is approved by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine”.

Editorial staff of AIN.UA will complement the article as soon as further information becomes available.