The chairman of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR), Denis Pushilin, said that republic considers integration with Russia as its primary goal.
"We have only one task - maximum integration of DPR into the Russian Federation. The perfect scenario would be to become a part of Russia as a federal district. And the people from the Donbas show so much patience about this," said Pushilin.
According to him, residents of the Donbas "are optimistic" about the signing of the decree on the simplified issuance of passports to residents of the DPR and LPR (Luhansk People's Republic) by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
In July, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree extending the simplified procedure for obtaining Russian citizenship to Ukrainians living in any area of the Luhansk or Donetsk regions. Residents of the self-proclaimed DPR and LPR could receive Russian passports on simplified procedure already in April.
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]”.