Kyiv considers introducing criminal penalties for illegal border crossing from Russia

The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine has registered a draft law on amending the Criminal Code of Ukraine regarding responsibility for illegal crossing of the state border (No. 7017). The text of the bill is posted on the parliament's website. Its authors are the leader of the Petro Poroshenko Bloc "Solidarity" faction, Arthur Gerasimov and the Deputy Chairman of the faction, Presidential Representative in the Parliament, Iryna Lutsenko.

The draft law proposes that the Criminal Code of Ukraine be supplemented with article 331: "Illegal crossing of the state border."

According to the article, the crossing of the state border of Ukraine by a person who has citizenship of the "aggressor state" or by any other person in the interests of the "aggressor state," which contradicts the national interests of Ukraine in any way outside the checkpoints across the state border of Ukraine or at the checkpoints through the state border of Ukraine without relevant documents or with documents that contain inaccurate information is punishable by imprisonment for up to 3 years.

The same act committed repeatedly or by a group of persons is punishable by imprisonment for a term of 3 to 5 years. The actions provided for by parts one or two of this article but involving the use of weapons are punishable by imprisonment for a term of 5 to 8 years.

As stated in the explanatory note, "cases when the citizens of the aggressor state illegally penetrate into the territory of Ukraine, including those who are representatives of military and law enforcement units, became more frequent, which also threatens the national security of Ukraine."

"It is obvious that illegal penetration by aggressor state representatives into Ukraine already carries a great public danger in itself. At the same time, the current legislation of Ukraine specifies only administrative responsibility for such actions," the authors of the bill note.

They also noted that prior to 2004, Ukrainian legislation criminalized such actions. However, in 2004 the relevant article (331) of the Criminal Code of Ukraine was eliminated.

"However, now there is a public necessity to criminalize illegal border crossing which contain certain qualifying signs, which, in turn, will contribute to the protection of state sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine," the explanatory note says.

  Ukraine, border with Russia