Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree making it easier for residents of pro-Russian separatist controlled Donbass in East Ukraine to acquire Russian citizenship, applying further pressure to Kyiv as Moscow looks to absorb the region. The move was accomplished on the very day Ukraine confirmed comedian Volodymyr Zelensky as the winner in Ukraine’s recent presidential election, overturning the rule of Putin’s nemesis, oligarch Petro Poroshenko.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree, which makes it possible for residents of certain regions of southeastern Ukraine to obtain Russian citizenship under a simplified procedure. The document has been published on the Kremlin’s website, reported Russian state news outlet TASS.
“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,” the decree reads.
In 2017, Putin signed an executive order recognizing the passports from the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk republics as valid in Russia. The move was widely regarded as the first step toward the official recognition of the two breakaway regions, reported The Moscow Times.
Starting Wednesday, Russia’s Interior Ministry is instructed to consider applications within three months of submission. Putin enacted the new measures “to protect the human and civil rights and freedoms” of the local residents, the Kremlin said, added The Moscow Times.
The Russian leadership continues to apply pressure on regions of its ‘near abroad’ which have gravitated towards the West after the fall of the Soviet Union.
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