September 22, 2022
Starting last month Ukrainian lawmakers began seeking to implement severe consequences for those participating in Russia-sponsored referendums in occupied territories of Ukraine. For example, a law is being pushed through parliament which criminalizes obtaining a Russian passport in temporarily occupied territories, Ukrainian sources reported last week, according to Yahoo News.
Proposed possible punishments have included losing Ukrainian citizenship, or even lengthy jail sentences. But other officials have argued for a more compromising approach given the necessity of survival in occupied areas. But now the Ukrainian government has reiterated its willingness to impose steep penalties for even participating in any Kremlin-sponsored vote to join the Russian Federation.
Russian President Putin's Wednesday morning address announcing partial mobilization also affirmed plans to move forward with referendums in the LPR, DPR, Kherson and Zaporozhye regions.
Ukraine has responded by warning its citizens that any official who promotes or organizes the voting faces a "prison term of five to ten years" - as well as possible asset seizure by the state, and being barred from employment in select positions for up to 15 years.
Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Irina Vereshchuk announced this week that a five year prison term is currently being considered for anyone caught participating in "sham referenda" by government authorities.