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Russian President Vladimir Putin on Nov. 13 proposed amendments to a bill that would enable Moscow to strip passports from non-birth citizens who acquired Russian citizenship if they criticized the war in Ukraine.
The changes apparently target Ukrainians who obtained Russian passports during Moscow’s occupation. Many Ukrainians were either forced or had no choice but to switch their nationality due to threats posed by Russian troops.
The amendments were proposed to the bill that has only been passed in the first reading so far.
Among the actions Putin claimed constituted “crimes” were “spreading fakes” about the war or “discrediting the Russian army,” Russian independent media outlet Meduza reported, citing a Kremlin-run news agency.
“Participation in the activities of an undesirable organization” was also added to the list of what Putin considers “crimes” that would enable Moscow to strip passports upon “violation.”
The bill amendment comes two days after Russia suffered one of its most humiliating battlefield losses following Ukraine's recapture of Kherson on Nov. 11. The southern city is the sole regional capital that Russia managed to capture since the February invasion despite its staggeringly high casualty rate.
Since launching a full-scale invasion, the Kremlin has tightened how domestic media can report on its war in Ukraine in order to ban content it deems unfavorable.