MOSCOW (AA) - Russia's lower chamber of parliament, the State Duma, approved on Tuesday in the third and final reading several bills on introducing criminal liability for discrediting all participants of its "special military operation" in Ukraine.
Currently, only public actions aimed at insulting the Russian armed forces are considered criminal offences. The new bills extend the ban on public insult to volunteer formations, organizations and persons who assist the Russian army in the military campaign that started last February.
According to the new legislation, an offender will first be given penalties worth 30,000-500,000 rubles (some $400-6,700), depending on the severity of the insult. If the offense is repeated within a year, they could face a prison term of up to five years.
However, in case the actions of a person led to death or mass riots, they will be incarcerated with a maximum possible punishment being seven years.
The bill also extends ban on spreading fake news about volunteer formations, and the crime is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
The lower house also adopted in the second and third readings a bill under which Ukrainian citizenship of a Russian national is considered terminated from the date a person filed a withdrawl application with the Interior Ministry.
An agreement between Russia and Azerbaijan on taking into account work experience, obtained in both countries, when deciding retirement pensions was also approved.