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Belarus Criminalizes Participation In Military Operations Abroad

Belarusian authorities published on April 22 new legislation criminalizing participation in any military activities abroad.

The amendments to the Penal Code will come into force 10 days after they were published on April 22.

The bill was adopted by lawmakers in March and signed by President Alyaksandr Lukashenka on April 20.

According to the amendments, participation in any military activities abroad will be punishable by up to five years in jail, while those who financially support fighters abroad may face up to six years in jail.

The law previously envisaged criminal liability only for persons hired to fight in armed conflicts abroad.

In March, Belarusian authorities said 140 Belarusian nationals were fighting in eastern Ukraine either alongside Russia-backed separatists or Ukrainian armed forces.