Ukrainian President-elect Volodymyr Zelensky said that he is working on several possible responses to Russia’s initiative to issue passports to residents of the occupied parts of the Donbas.
“We are preparing. Let’s just say we have several approaches. In this regard, we need to be creative, we need to be quick, clever, what we are – young. And so for now we will make preparations, and later we will show you,” Zelensky told reporters when asked whether he had any suggestions for parliament concerning the passport situation.
On 24 April, Putin signed a decree making it possible for residents of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions to obtain Russian citizenship through a simplified procedure.
On 1 May, Putin issued a new decree granting the same passport acquisition rights to Ukrainians who lived in the Crimea or the Donbas before Spring 2014.
The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has called for international non-recognition of the passports issued to Donbas residents, and declared Putin’s decree “null and void”. Ukraine has also promised to have additional sanctions imposed on Russia in response to Putin’s passport aggression.