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Ukraine to Consider Russian Passports of Donbas Residents Illegal
8 May, 2019
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The Ukrainian government will not recognize or accept the Russian passports issued to the residents of the occupied territories of Donbas by the Kremlin. This was announced by the Minister for Temporarily Occupied Territories Vadym Chernysh. He said that Ukraine has specified several points of issuance of such passports, and the ones issued there will not be recognized by Ukraine.

Chernysh said it will be “easy” to identify the passports issued to the Donbas residents, since they will have a specific number and issuance location, which will help the Ukrainian authorities instantly recognize them.

According to Chernysh, Ukraine also recommended this procedure to be implemented in other countries, so that the Russian passports issued to residents of the so-called Luhansk and Donetsk “people’s republics” are not recognized there too.

The minister also stated that the government is preparing a list of high-ranking Russian officials against whom sanctions will be implemented, in connection to the issuance of passports to Ukrainians in the Donbas.

“We know the list of people who are directly involved in illegal actions to issue passports to Ukrainian citizens and, in fact, in actions to pressure and force citizens to obtain such documents,” the minister said.

Furthermore, Ukraine’s Minister for Veteran Affairs, Iryna Friz announced that Ukrainian citizens in the Donbas, who undertake Russian citizenship in a way that violates international law, may lose their pensions and social benefits in Ukraine.

Russia responded to Ukraine's decision by saying that Ukraine's position "does not change anything."

This was stated by Dmitry Peskov, spokesperson of Russian President Vladimir Putin. He said that Russia “will continue issuing passports to those citizens who want them and who are [eligible, according] to the presidential decree.”

READ MORE: Putin Suggests Ukrainians and Russians "Share Citizenship"

On April 24, Putin signed a decree, simplifying the procedure of issuance of Russian passports to the residents of so-called Donetsk and Luhansk “people’s republics”.  It was followed by the May 1 decree of simplified issuance of passports to the residents of Crimean peninsula and Ukrainians residing in Russia.

READ MORE: Putin Extends Eased Passport Procedure to Crimean Tatars and Ex-Residents

Ukraine condemned such actions by Russia, calling them a violation of international law. Ukraine’s President-elect Volodymyr Zelenskiy stated in response that any Russian fleeing the authoritarian regime in their home country will be granted a citizenship of Ukraine.

READ MORE: Zelenskiy Vows Ukrainian Citizenship to Russians in Response to Putin Statement