More than 60 thousand residents of Donetsk and Luhansk regions that are temporally not controlled by Ukraine, applied for the Russian citizenship on a simplified procedure, reports RBC-Ukraine with reference to Russian media.
It is reported that every day Russian migration authorities receive more than a thousand such applications. Since this number is growing every day, the Russian Interior Ministry is forced to expand the staff of the migration service.
It is unclear from the statistics of the Russian Interior Ministry how many residents of Kyiv-controlled part of the Donbas are willing to obtain Russian citizenship.
Earlier, Ukrainian Deputy Minister of the temporarily occupied territories George Tuka said that there are not so many many people in the Donbas who are willing to get a Russian passport. According to Tuka, the number of accepted applications at the beginning of July was about 19-20 thousand. Russian passports were issued to approximately one thousand people.
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]”.