Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree allowing Ukrainians who have previously resided in the Luhansk or Donetsk regions to obtain Russian passports through a simplified procedure, Kommersant reports.
“This is related to the large number of applications for Russian citizenship from the inhabitants of these regions,” the news outlet notes.
According to Kommersant, as of 17 July, 10,000 residents of the regions of eastern Ukraine which are not under Kyiv’s control had obtained Russian passports.
On 24 April, Putin signed a decree allowing residents of the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics to obtain Russian citizenship through a simplified procedure. On 1 May, he signed a new decree making the passport acquisition process easier for Ukrainians who resided in Crimea or the Donbas before spring 2014.
Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry has said that Russian passports issued to Donbas residents will be considered invalid. The ministry declared Putin’s decree “null and void”. Ukraine is seeking to have additional sanctions imposed on Russia in connection with this “passport aggression”.