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    Ukrainian Security Service Head Wants to Ban MPs From Visiting Russia

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    Head of Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) Vasyl Hrytsak said on Saturday he was in favor of introducing a criminal responsibility and a legislative ban for Ukrainian lawmakers and public figures for their visits to Russia.

    KIEV (Sputnik) — The statement comes as Kiev's decision on biometric border control for foreigners starting in 2018 entered into force earlier in the day.

    "I support the presidential initiative [of biometric control], I would go even further — I would introduce a legislative ban and criminal responsibility for visiting aggressor states by [Ukrainian] lawmakers, public figures," Hrytsak said, as quoted by the 112 Ukraine broadcaster.

    The decision of the National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) on biometric border control for foreigners was signed into law by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Friday.

    Poroshenko has also instructed the cabinet and the country's Security Service (SBU) to take "comprehensive measures" to intensify control of the entry and exit of foreigners, including Russian citizens and include Russia into the list of "migration risk" countries.

    In January 2015, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, the country's unicameral parliament, adopted a statement branding Russia an "aggressor state" for alleged interference in Ukraine's internal affairs and being one of the sides of the conflict in Donbass without providing evidence. The Russian Foreign Ministry has repeatedly refuted the allegations, calling them absurd.

    The relations between Russia and Ukraine have soured since the 2014 coup in Kiev. At the time the Crimea peninsula broke off from Ukraine and rejoined Russia. Concerned by the new Ukrainian authorities' anti-Russian attitudes, Crimean officials organized a referendum on the predominantly ethnic-Russian peninsula's status.

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    lawmakers, ban, Verhovna Rada, SBU, Vasyl Hrytsak, Ukraine, Russia
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