Russia to push back on criticism of armed groups like Wagner
They were Discussed in early March. The State Duma, the lower house of the Russian Parliament, adopted today Correction Punishing critics against groups “Volunteers” Militant in Ukraine. The term is regularly used by Russian officials to describe mercenaries from the paramilitary group Wagner, which is most active on the front in eastern Ukraine.
Punishment Sanctions Punishment “The denigration of the armed forces of Russia extends to voluntary organizations, organizations and individuals that help the armed forces carry out their mission”Duma announced on its website. “All those who risk their lives today to ensure the safety of the country and its citizens are protected from provocations and lies” With this law, Duma Chairman Vyacheslav Volodin estimated, “Sanctions will be severe and imprisonment for up to fifteen years”.
The amendment, which still needs to be approved by the upper house (Council of the Federation) and signed into law by Vladimir Putin, will be included in a law censoring criticism of the armed forces after the March 2022 invasion of Ukraine. After years of denying its existence, Russian officials now fully recognize Wagner’s soldiers, who are currently on the front lines of the battle for the Ukrainian city of Bagmouth.
In January, Wagner Group founder Yevgeny Prigozhin asked parliament to ban negative media coverage of the paramilitary group by amending the penal code, a request quickly accepted by Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin.
According to the human rights group OVD-Info, the Russian Prosecutor’s Office has already opened more than 5,800 cases against those accused of insulting the armed forces.
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