Lithuania demands that all EU members stop recognizing Russian passports issued to Donbas residents

Lithuania intends to demand that the EU does not recognize Russian passports issued to residents of the territory of the Donbas which is not under Ukraine’s control, said the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry as reported by Interfax-Ukraine.

"At the moment we are actively working on a coordinated response at the EU level to the ongoing violations of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity, including illegally issued documents to the residents of Ukraine in the temporarily occupied by Russia Donetsk and Luhansk regions," the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry said.

The ministry said that discussions are underway in Brussels on how to implement a coordinated policy with regards to these passports.

"We take the position that when the European Commission approves the relevant decisions, all EU members using a common approach will unanimously stop recognizing these passports. If it is not possible to reach a common agreement, unilateral measures will be introduced," the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry said.

On August 5, the Estonian Foreign Ministry decided not to recognize Russian passports issued to residents of Donetsk and Luhansk regions after April 24, 2019.

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]”.

  Lithuania, Donbas, Russia, Ukraine, EU