Kremlin eases Russian citizenship procedure to residents of Ukraine’s occupied territories

Putin signed a decree easing citizenship rules for residents of the so-called Luhansk and Donetsk republics. The document has been published on the Kremlin’s website.

The residents can apply for Russian citizenship in Russia’s Rostov Region; their applications will be considered within three months, the Russian Interior Ministry reported on Wednesday. There is no need to renounce the Ukrainian citizenship in order to obtain the Russian one.

“Individuals permanently residing in certain areas of Ukraine’s Donetsk and Lugansk regions have the right to apply for Russian citizenship under a simplified procedure,” state-run news agency TASS quotes the decree.

The decision has been made ‘in order to protect human rights and freedoms’ based on generally accepted international laws, the document reads.

“This is Russia’s duty to those who speak and think in Russian and found themselves in the hot seat due to the Kyiv regime’s repressive actions,” Putin’s aide Vladislav Surkov said.

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has voiced its protest against the Russian president’s decree, which ‘paves the way for the illegal issuance of Russian passports on the temporarily occupied areas of Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions’.

The bill to ease the Russian citizenship procedure to residents of Ukraine’s self-proclaimed people’s republics of Donetsk and Lugansk (DPR and LPR) is not conductive to a ceasefire in the region, the team of Ukrainian president-elect Volodymyr Zelenskiy said.

According to the US Department of State, Putin’s decision creates a ‘serious obstacle to the implementation of the Minsk agreements and the reintegration of the Donbas region’., following TASS