Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday declared martial law in the four regions it had annexed last month from Ukraine – Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia.

Putin had signed constitutional laws on October 5 to make these regions parts of Russia following the results of referendums Russia held in these areas, which together make up for 15% of Ukraine’s territory. Referendums were held between September 23 and September 27.

“I have signed a decree on the introduction of a state of martial law in these four constituent entities of the Russian Federation,” Putin said on Wednesday, reported Sputnik News. “It will immediately be sent for approval to the Federation Council [Upper House of Parliament], and the State Duma [Lower House] will be informed of the decision.”

Putin also announced that under the law, extra security powers will be granted to the Russian governors in the regions. The decree also allows temporary resettlement of residents to “safe areas with the obligatory provision of such residents with stationary or temporary living quarters”.

This will result in creation of a special regime monitoring entry and exit from the territories as well as restrict freedom of movement.

The decree also grants Russia the power to take other measures under existing martial law if necessary. This could include unspecified limitations on rights and freedoms as well as general or partial mobilisation.

The enforcement agencies have three days to submit specific proposals for creating territorial defense forces in the four regions, reported the Associated Press.

“We are working to solve very difficult large-scale tasks to ensure Russia’s security and safe future, to protect our people,” Putin said at the start of a security council meeting. “Those who are on the frontlines or undergoing training at firing ranges and training centers should feel our support and know that they have our big, great country and unified people behind their back.”

During the four-day referendum in the annexed parts, Ukrainian officials had alleged that residents were banned from leaving until voting was over and armed groups went into homes and threatened them if they did not participate.

Russia had launched an invasion of Ukraine on February 24, describing its actions as a “special operation” to demilitarise and “de-Nazify” Ukraine. However, Ukraine and several Western countries said this was a baseless pretext for a war of choice by Putin.