Petro Poroshenko, the sitting President of Ukraine, has declared martial law because of the Kerch Strait incident, where Russia seized three Ukraine merchant vessels, wounding several crew members from those vessels, and ultimately interfering with commerce to key Ukraine port, Mariupol. The United States has requested permission to send a destroyer to the region from Turkey, which controls the Dardanelles and Bosporus strait, gateway to the Black Sea.
Poroshenko says martial law will be temporary, a thirty day emergency measure. We hope so: the next Presidential election is scheduled for March 31, 2019. At this time, Iulia Timoshenko, a former Prime Minister and presidential candidate, is leading the polls. Anatoliy Hrytsenko, a former defense minister, is expected to run. Poroshenko is eligible to run again, but his support percentages are in single digits. There is also a less popular “opposition block,” or pro-Kremlin contingent.
Elections for Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada (or “Rada”) are also scheduled for 2019, presumably in October.