Putin toughens penalties for so-called ‘fake’ information about Russian mercenaries

18 March, 11:50 PM
Putin increased punishment for

Putin increased punishment for "discrediting" and "fakes" about the war (Photo:Sputnik / Mikhail Kuravlev / Kremlin via REUTERS)

Russian dictator Vladimir Putin has signed a decree establishing liability for "discrediting" and spreading "fake news" about Russian mercenaries fighting in Ukraine, the Kremlin portal said in a post on March 18.

From now on, penalties will be applied for so-called "fake" information (which is not aligned with Russian propaganda narratives) not only about Russian military and state bodies, but also about "volunteer units, organizations or individuals" who "contribute to the fulfillment of tasks for the Russian armed forces,” including Wagner Group mercenaries.

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The decree introduces punishments of up to 15 years in prison if actions lead to “serious consequences.”

Initially, the responsibility for "discrediting" and spreading "fake news" was limited to public statements about the Russian army. Eventually, the relevant laws were extended to other government agencies, and now for any Russian forces in Ukraine.

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