EU develops guidelines for Russian passports issued in Donbas

The EU official representative stated that the European Union is developing "unified guidelines" to "help identify and prevent the use" of Russian passports issued to residents territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine controlled by pro-Russian militants, reports Deutsche Welle.

The European Commission works on the instructions for EU member countries and their consulates in cooperation with the European External Action Service, as well as EU delegations in Kyiv and Moscow. The document will also affect the process of issuing of visas, for applications filled in Russia or Ukraine by the residents of the Donbas with Russian passports. In the statement, the EU representative recalls that the non-recognition of passports is in the competence of the EU member countries.

On June 20 the government of the EU expressed "extreme concern" about a decree of Russian President Vladimir Putin made in April  which the facilitates citizenship procedures for residents of certain districts in Donetsk and Luhansk regions. It was noted during the EU summit that such a step "contradicts the spirit and goals" of the Minsk agreements. At the same time, the European Council expressed its readiness to consider further measures, including the non-recognition of such Russian passports. 

On April 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a decree which allows residents of the territories of eastern Ukraine which are not under Kyiv’s control, as well as residents of the annexed Crimea, to obtain Russian passport using a simplified procedure. Ukraine and its Western allies sharply criticized the decree.

On April 27 in Beijing, Putin declared that the Kremlin was considering whether or not to simplify the procedure for all Ukrainians to apply for Russian passports. On May 1, he signed a decree simplifying the procedure for Ukrainians born and living in Crimea so that they could receive passports in the next three months.

The Verkhovna Rada appealed to a number of international organizations, as well as to the countries in the European Union, the USA, and the diplomatic missions of foreign states in Ukraine to strengthen sanctions against Russia in response to Moscow’s decision.

The administration of Ukrainian President-elect Vladimir Zelensky stated on Facebook that the decree on the issue of Russian passports to Ukrainian citizens is “Russia’s admission that it is an occupying power [in the Donbas and Ukraine]”.

  EU, Russia, Donbas