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Russia is trying to label as extremist maps that question its territorial claims over parts of Ukraine

A head and shoulders shot of President Vladimir Putin visiting the Russian mainland with the Crimean Peninsula across the Kerch Strait, December 5, 2022.Russian President Vladimir Putin visits a bridge connecting Russia with the Crimean Peninsula across the Kerch Strait, December 5, 2022

Sputnik/Pool via Reuters

  • Maps that don’t respect Russia’s claimed “territorial integrity” are to be labeled extremist material.
  • Russia’s government supported the amendment to its anti-extremist bill on Sunday, Reuters reported. 
  • Lawmakers objected to maps that don’t show occupied Crimea as part of Russia.

Russia’s state government moved ahead with a bill on Sunday that would classify maps that question its “territorial integrity” as extremist materials.

An amendment to anti-extremism legislation would include as extremist “cartographic and other documents and images that dispute the territorial integrity of Russia,” according to Reuters.

In recent years Russia’s anti-extremism law has been continually expanded to assert increasing control over political opponents.

The latest amendment, first introduced in December, was added after lawmakers noted that some maps dispute what Russia calls the “territorial affiliation” of Crimea and the Kuril Islands, according to Reuters. 

Russia has claimed Crimea as Russian territory since its troops seized the land from Ukraine in 2014 — a claim rejected not only by Ukraine but by almost 100 UN member states.

Independent Russian outlet Meduza, in editorial remarks, said the amendment will likely apply to the regions of Ukraine occupied by Russia since its 2022 invasion. 

In September, Russian President Vladimir Putin declared the partially-occupied Ukrainian regions of Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk, and Luhansk as Russian territories. 

However, Russian forces have struggled to maintain control over large swathes of the claimed regions.

As of January, much of Zaporizhzhia and Kherson — including Kherson city — remain in Ukrainian hands, according to the most recent assessment by US think tank the Institute for the Study of War

Read the original article on Business Insider