KIEV, Ukraine — Ukraine’s parliament voted Monday to impose martial law in parts of the country to fight what its president called “growing aggression” from Moscow after a weekend naval confrontation off the disputed Crimean Peninsula in which Russia fired on and seized three Ukrainian vessels amid renewed tensions between the neighbors.

Western leaders and diplomats urged both sides to de-escalate the conflict, and the U.S. blamed Russia for what it called “unlawful conduct” over Sunday’s incident in the Black Sea.

Russia and Ukraine blamed each other in the dispute that further ratcheted up tensions ever since Moscow annexed Crimea in 2014 and threw its weight behind separatists in eastern Ukraine with clandestine support, including troops and weapons.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko asked lawmakers in Kiev to institute martial law, something the country did not do even during the worst of the fighting in the east that killed about 10,000 people.

After a five-hour debate, parliament overwhelmingly approved his proposal, voting to impose martial law for 30 days starting Wednesday morning in 10 of Ukraine’s 27 regions — those bordering Russia, Belarus and Moldova’s pro-Moscow breakaway republic of Trans-Dniester. The locations chosen were ones that Poroshenko identified as potentially in the front line of any Russian attack. The capital of Kiev is not under martial law.

Poroshenko said it was necessary because of intelligence about “a highly serious threat of a ground operation against Ukraine.” He did not elaborate.

“Martial law doesn’t mean declaring a war,” he said. “It is introduced with the sole purpose of boosting Ukraine’s defense in the light of a growing aggression from Russia.”

Ukraine’s Defense Ministry already announced earlier in the day that its troops were on full combat alert in the country.

The approved measures included a partial mobilization and strengthening of air defenses. It also contained vaguely worded steps such as “strengthening” anti-terrorism measures and “information security” that could curtail certain rights and freedoms.

But Poroshenko also pledged to respect the rights of Ukrainian citizens.

His critics reacted to his call for martial law with suspicion, wondering why Sunday’s incident merited such a response. Poroshenko’s approval ratings have been plunging, and there were concerns that he would postpone a presidential election scheduled for March.

Just before the parliament met to vote, Poroshenko sought to allay those fears by releasing a statement revising his original martial law proposal from 60 days to just 30 days, in order to “do away with the pretexts for political speculation.”

Oksana Syroid, a deputy speaker of parliament, noted that martial law was not introduced in 2014 or 2015 despite large-scale fighting in the east. A state of emergency “would present a wonderful chance to manipulate the presidential elections,” she said.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Poroshenko assured him that martial law would not have a negative impact on the election.

Despite Poroshenko’s vow to respect individual rights, opposition lawmaker and former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko warned before the vote that his proposal would lead to the possible illegal searches, invasion of privacy and curtailing of free speech.

“This means they will be breaking into the houses of Ukrainians and not those of the aggressor nation,” noted Tymoshenko, who is leading in various opinion polls. “They will be prying into personal mail, family affairs ... In fact, everything that is written here is a destruction of the lives of Ukrainians.”

Poroshenko’s call also outraged far-right groups in Ukraine that have advocated severing diplomatic ties with Russia. Hundreds of protesters from the National Corps party waved flares in the snowy streets of Kiev outside parliament and accused the president of using martial law to his own ends.

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