In the country's latest blow to free speech, freedom of expression, and ethnic diversity, President Vladimir Zelensky announced Thursday he's signed into effect a new law banning Russian books and publications in Ukraine.
The law blocks any new Russian and Belarusian publications from being imported into the country. "I believe this law is the right decision," Zelensky wrote of the measure.
But Ukraine has at the same time urged European authorities to fast-track the country into the EU, which could now be further complicated with this latest move.
Ukrainian national media itself has noted this will be a significant hindrance to future EU membership.
As The New Voice of Ukraine (republished by Yahoo) points out, "However, the new law has faced criticism and was vetoed by the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for potentially violating certain provisions of the Ukrainian Constitution, and for not aligning with EU law."
The publication added, "Nevertheless, a petition supporting the initiative gathered enough signatures to proceed."
Russia's RT has also picked up on the story, which is sure to drive further outrage among the Russian population, and in the Russian-speaking regions of eastern and southern Ukraine:
The move comes after Ukrainian citizens registered an online petition on the official presidential website asking for the ban back in May. The petition reached the 25,000-vote threshold required for it to be formally considered by the head of state.
The author of the petition noted that the Ukrainian parliament had already approved the law on June 19, 2022, but that Zelensky had never signed the bill. As a result, Russian books continued to be sold in Ukraine, which undermines "the information security of the state and the economic foundations of Ukrainian book publishing," according to the petition.
A key driving factor which unleashed civil war in the Donbas since 2014 in the first place was Kiev's ongoing crackdown against Russian language and culture, impacting many millions of Ukrainians.
Crimea (now Russian-controlled), and even large swathes of Ukraine, has populations which speak Russian as their first and only language.
Ukraine's Foreign Ministry had remarked on the current version of bill that it "does not meet the norms and standards of the EU in the field of human rights, including freedom of opinion, protection of the rights of national minorities, prohibition of discrimination on the basis of language, and therefore may complicate the process of negotiations on Ukraine’s accession to the European Union."
Related to this is also the government's crackdown on the Ukrainian Orthodox Church which maintains ties to the Russian Patriarchate in Moscow - despite the church speaking out against the Russian invasion.