Ukraine recognizes passports issued by the Russian Federation to Ukrainian citizens in the temporarily occupied territories of Donbas as illegal and invalid, Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman said at Wednesday’s governmental meeting.
“We make a decision today to determine all passports issued to Ukrainian citizens in our territory as a violation of the rules of law. These passports will be considered illegal – when crossing the state border and use in the territory of the state. This will be our response to Russia’s hybrid action,” news agency Interfax Ukraine quotes Groysman.
The Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers intends to ask other countries to hold such documents invalid as well, the premier added.
In late April, Russian president Vladimir Putin signed a decree easing citizenship rules for residents of the so-called Luhansk and Donetsk republics. They can apply for Russian citizenship in Russia’s Rostov Region; their applications will be considered within three months, the Russian Interior Ministry reported. The decision was made ‘in order to protect human rights and freedoms’.
In response, Ukrainian president-elect Volodymyr Zelenskiy recommended them ‘not to waste their time trying to bait the citizens of Ukraine with passports of the Russian Federation’ and promised to issue Ukrainian citizenship to all Russians who ‘suffer from the authoritarian and corrupt regime’.
On May 7, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin called on the EU and the G7 countries to introduce new sanctions against Russia in response to its decision to give Russian passports to Ukrainian citizens living in occupied areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions.