The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has strongly objected to the centers in Russia where Russian passports are now being issued to Ukrainian citizens residing in the territories which are not under Ukraine’s control, and has urged the international community not to recognize such documents.
“Ukraine asks its international partners not to recognize and not to accept documents issued by the Russian Federation to citizens of Ukraine who reside in the territories of the Donetsk and Luhansk provinces of Ukraine that are temporarily occupied by Russia in breach of the Constitution and legislation of Ukraine, as well as any deals made with such documents,” the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
The ministry remarked that, by issuing passports to Ukrainians in this way, Russia “is demonstrating its absolute disregard for the norms and principles of international law and, having deliberately chosen a course toward escalation, undermining the Minsk Agreements, which it is a party to”.
The department also reiterated its stance that such unlawful decisions made by the Kremlin, designed to make it easier for Ukrainian citizens to obtain Russian citizenship, are legally null and void, and are not recognized by Ukraine.
“We categorically demand that the Russian Federation immediately cease its internationally unlawful acts against the state sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and revoke the changes to Russia’s federal citizenship laws with respect to the simplification of the acquisition procedure for Ukrainian citizens, as well as the Russian president’s decrees No. 183 from 24 April 2019 and No. 74 from 18 February, and all the decisions made in order to implement them,” the statement reads.
The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry also called on the international community to “intensify the consolidated political and diplomatic pressure on the Kremlin to observe the norms and principles of international law, including by expanding the individual and sector-based sanctions against the aggressor state”.
On 24 April, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the decree “On the determination for humanitarian purposes the categories of persons who have the right to apply to obtain Russian citizenship through a simplified procedure”. The decree grants such a right to permanent residents of the territories of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions which are not under Ukraine’s control.
On 29 April, the Russian media reported that the first of these passport centers had been opened in Novoshakhtinsk and had already received 80 applications from residents of the so-called Luhansk People’s Republic.
Another center was opened in the village of Pokrovskoye on 30 April. Kirill Alzinov, a spokesperson for Russia’s migration authority, said that only residents of the Donetsk People’s Republic could obtain passports at this center. “For the time being, two such centers will operate in the region. Taking into account the fact that considering an application can take up to three months, we expect that the first passports will be issued ahead of the specified deadline,” he said.