The surprising development comes just days after Russian forces previously occupying the Ukrainian city of Kherson were forced to withdraw from the key strategic territory and retreat back north towards Russia.
But now, with newly placed amendments to the law first put in place in March, Putin is reportedly targeting non-Russian citizens who obtained Russian passports while their homes were occupied by the country's forces.
Many Ukrainians living in Kherson were allegedly forced to switch their nationality and obtain Russian passports. The newly proposed laws would make it a crime to “discredit the Russian army,” “spread fake news,” and “participate in the activities of an undesirable organization.”
On Saturday night, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy confirmed Kyiv forces had successfully taken back the Kherson territory and were in the process of securing the city and rooting out the remaining dangers left behind by the newly withdrawn Russian forces.
“As of this evening, the defense forces have established control in more than 60 settlements of Kherson region, the police have started stabilization measures. Stabilization measures are also underway in Kherson,” President Zelenskyy said in an address to his people.
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“Our explosive experts have a lot of work everywhere in the freed territory,” he continued. “Almost 2,000 explosive items have already been removed, mines, tripwires, unexploded ammunition.”
Zelenskyy further confirmed fighting was still taking place in the long-disputed Donetsk region and vowed not to stop in their defense against Russia until all lost Ukrainian territory has been retaken.
“Although it takes time, but everyone already understands the result will be ours, the Ukrainian,” he proclaimed.
While Ukrainians are celebrating the successful retaking of Kherson, some of Putin’s main allies and supporters are criticizing the Russian leader for the humiliating retreat last week.
"After defeat in Kherson, Russia’s status as a great state is questionable,” Sergey Markov, a pro-Putin political analyst, said after the withdrawal of Russian troops from the region. "They will be putting pressure on, and demand soft capitulation.”
“If Russia wants to win, we must switch the economy into a military regime,” Markov added. “This decision is already six months late. We have got to be tougher. Tougher. Drones, communication, missiles and shells must be produced by our factories 24/7.”