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Law on criminal responsibility for illegal border crossing takes effect

The cross of the state borders using weapons will entail an imprisonment for up to eight years
12:40, 10 November 2018

State Border Guard of Ukraine

Law comes into force in Ukraine, providing the criminal responsibility for border crossing beyond checkpoints in order to harm the interests of the state or the security forces from the aggressor country. On Friday, the document was published in the official parliamentarian outlet Holos Ukrainy 

The document stipulates up to 3 years in prison for crossing the state border in order to harm the interests of the state; that includes certain kinds of perpetrators, a person who is prohibited from entering the territory of Ukraine, or the representatives of units of the armed forces or other security forces of the aggressor state in any way outside the checkpoints, or without the necessary documents or the documents with inaccurate information. 

Related: Smugglers attack Ukrainian border guard patrol

If such a violation is committed repeatedly or by a group of persons, the punishment will be imprisonment for 3-5 years. The same violation with the use of weapons would entail the prison term up to 8 years.  

Earlier, the parliament increased fines for the illegal border crossing. Since April 29, 2018, the crossing of the state border outside the checkpoint or with forged documents entails a fine of 125 – 315 USD. A repeated violation during the year or a group of people entails a fine of 300-500 USD. Deliberate entry into Ukraine by a foreigner, despite the ban, provides for a fine from 60-200 USD. 

Related: Black Sea border cooperation Forum starts in Odesa, Russia not invited

Violation of the order of entry into temporarily occupied territories is punished by a fine of 125-190 USD; a repeated violation, if committed by a group of persons or within a year, carries a penalty of a 325 USD fine. But these fines can be imposed only within three months from the date of detection of the violation and not later than a year from the date of commission. 

Procedure for the entry of foreigners into the territory of the temporarily annexed Crimea is currently in force, as approved by the Cabinet of Ministers Resolution No. 722 (September 16, 2015). According to the document, foreign journalists must coordinate a visit to the peninsula with the Ministry of Information Policy of Ukraine, and human rights activists and representatives of international NGOs must coordinate their visits with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 

Related: Poroshenko signs bill on criminalization of illegal state border crossing

In addition, the list of grounds on which foreign citizens can obtain permission to enter Crimea includes the preaching of religious beliefs, the performance of religious rites or the satisfaction of religious needs (exclusively at the request or agreement with the Ministry of Culture), as well as participation in activities of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people. 

Related: Belarus ready to take control over Russia-Ukraine border, - Lukashenko

At the moment, the only legal way to visit Crimea is to come from the territory of Ukraine. 

However, the approved rules were criticized, since foreigners cannot get the permits or apply for entry to the territory of annexed Crimea, being outside Ukraine. To obtain permission, they must go to Ukraine and file special documents. 

Related: OSCE drone again records military trucks in Donbas near border with Russia

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