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Putin signs new law that will punish foreigners over Human Rights abuses

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President Vladimir Putin has signed a law that will allow Russia to impose sanctions on foreigners found guilty of violating its citizens’ human rights.

On Friday 4th March, Putin signed an order that will allow authorities to impose embargoes against individuals from any country who commit offences against Russian citizens.

“The law extends the current legislative measures to foreign nationals and stateless persons who are placed on corresponding lists by the Russian Foreign Ministry,” Chairman of the Federation Council Committee on Constitutional Legislation and State Building Andrey Klishas said.

The new legislation has expanded a 2012 law which permits sanctions on US citizens for infringing Russian citizens’ freedoms and human rights to all foreign nationals, as well as stateless individuals.

Possible punitive measures include a ban on entering Russia, a freeze of financial and other assets, restrictions on investment and business deals, and a suspension from boards of directors of Russian companies.

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Declassified papers reveal extent of US military aid to Ukraine

The US has drastically increased its shipments of lethal aid to Ukraine since late last year, including weapons and gear for urban combat, the Washington Post reported on Saturday, after viewing declassified accounting for transfers and sales.

According to the Pentagon’s paperwork, from as early as December Washington had been actively equipping the Kiev government with shotguns, special suits for explosive ordnance disposal and other items useful for combat in urban areas – that’s more than two months before the Russian invasion occurred.

And over the past week the deliveries of American arms to Ukraine intensified further, with Kiev getting Stinger anti-aircraft missile systems for the first time and boosting its arsenal of anti-tank Javelin missiles, among other things.

The list has illustrated the great extent to which the Biden administration “sought to prepare the Ukrainian military to wage a hybrid war against Russia,” the Washington Post added.

Some $240 million out of the $350 million in lethal aid that had been approved in late February has already been supplied to Ukraine, according to a senior defense official.

This adds to around $200 million in military assistance that Washington greenlighted for Ukraine in late December, sending M141 single-shot shoulder-launched rocket launchers, M500 shotguns, Mk-19 grenade launchers, M134 miniguns and other gear to the country.

Putin explains why Ukraine attack went beyond Donbass

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Saturday that he chose to attack Ukraine beyond the borders of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR) to prevent the West from “endlessly” supplying “nationalists and radicals” with various resources, such as weapons and money. He added that the Russian forces were “practically done” destroying Ukrainian military sites, such as air defences and weapons depots.

The president stated that he had ordered Russian troops to invade Ukraine last week in order to neutralize the “real threat” coming from Kiev and NATO. Moscow has long protested the Western military infrastructure along its borders and Ukraine’s aspirations to join the US-led bloc.

“They began to say more actively that they will admit [Ukraine] to NATO. What will this lead to? All other members of the alliance must back Ukraine in the case of a military conflict,” Putin said. “They will [attack] Crimea, and we will be forced to go to war with NATO. Do you understand the consequences?” The president stated that he wanted Ukraine to become a neutral country.

Crimea voted to leave Ukraine and join Russia shortly after the 2014 coup in Kiev. It was during that time that the DPR and LPR broke away from Ukraine.

“Let’s acquire nuclear weapons, they say [in Ukraine]. We can’t simply ignore it,” Putin said, referring to President Volodymyr Zelensky’s remark last month that Kiev might be forced to reconsider its status as a non-nuclear-weapons state.

Russia invaded its neighbour on February 24, arguing that it was defending the DPR and LPR. Putin also claimed he was seeking the “demilitarization and denazification” of the country.