July 15, 2020 / 11:49 AM / 19 days ago

Russian lawmakers want people who try to cede territory jailed for up to 10 years

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russians who take specific actions to undermine the country’s territorial integrity could be jailed for up to a decade under draft legislation submitted to parliament on Wednesday.

The initiative, which is expected to swiftly be approved by the State Duma, the lower house of parliament, would also introduce fines of more than $5,500 (4,357.82 pounds) for people who repeatedly call for Moscow to give away its territory to a foreign power.

The legislation is designed to formalise reforms adopted this month that make it unconstitutional for Russia to cede territory to a foreign power.

The legislation may anger Japan and Ukraine which are both pressing Russia to hand over territory.

Russia annexed the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and has also been in a decades-long dispute with Tokyo over ownership of a chain of islands in the Pacific that Moscow seized from Japan at the end of World War Two.

Under the proposed changes, making public calls for actions that violate Russia’s territorial integrity more than once in the same year would also be treated as a criminal offence punishable by up to four years in jail, the Duma’s website said.

That offence would also be punishable by a fine of up to 400,000 roubles (4,470 pounds), it said.

Reporting by Tom Balmforth; editing by Andrew Osborn

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