Vladimir Putin
Vladimir PutinReuters

Russia declared martial law in four annexed regions of Ukraine on Wednesday.

Speaking on television to his Security Council, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that movement in eight areas bordering Ukraine was being restricted, according to the New York Post.

The move applies to the Krasnodar, Belgorod, Bryansk, Voronezh, Kursk and Rostov regions in the south, as well as Crimea and Sevastopol, which Russian annexed from Ukraine in 2014.

Putin said the measures included additional powers to the leaders of over 80 regions in Russia to safeguard critical infrastructure and public order.

The announcement took place at the same time as pro-Kremlin officials in the occupied Kherson region called on residents to leave as they attempted to evacuate over 60,000 people as they awaited an airstrike by Ukrainian forces.

Residents in the region have been receiving text messages warning them to evacuate, according to Russian state-news agency RIA Novosti. One message read: “There will be shelling of residential areas by the Armed Forces of Ukraine.”

Andriy Yermak, a senior official in Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s office, blamed Russia for spreading propaganda in Kherson.

“The Russians are trying to scare the people of Kherson with fake newsletters about the shelling of the city by our army, and also arrange a propaganda show with evacuation,” Yermak posted to Telegram.