Zelenskiy to Putin: Don’t bait Ukrainians with Russian passports

Photo: Pyotr Sivkov/TASS/Forum

Ukraine’s president-elect Volodymyr Zelenskiy has commented on Vladimir Putin’s decision to grant Russian citizenship to the residents of the occupied Ukrainian territories.

“I would not recommend the Russian authorities to waste their time trying to bait the citizens of Ukraine with passports of the Russian Federation,” Zelenskiy said on Facebook in the Russian and Ukrainian languages.

З приводу заяв президента РФ Володимира Путіна хочу зазначити наступне.По-перше, я би не радив російській владі…

Opublikowany przez Володимир Зеленський Sobota, 27 kwietnia 2019

According to him, Russian citizenship, in particular, gives the ‘right to be arrested for peaceful protesting’ and the ‘right not to have free and contested elections’.

Zelenskiy expressed his readiness to negotiate with Russia, but ‘not in the language of threats, military and economic pressure’. The politician also came up with a proposal of the Russian-Ukrainian prisoner swap in the format ‘all for all’.

In his opinion, the normalization of relations with Russia will be possible only after the full de-occupation of Crimea and Donbas.

A few days ago, 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’.

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