Russia approves citizenship for 2 Ukrainian regions
President Vladimir Putin of Russia signed a decree allowing residents of the Zaporozhye and Kherson Region of Ukraine, to apply for Russian citizenship on Wednesday in the Kremlin. The provisions of the decree takes immediate effect.
According to the document posted on the Russian Interior Ministry portal, it read “Citizens of Ukraine, the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Lugansk People’s Republic who permanently reside in the DPR, the LPR, the Zaporozhye Region of Ukraine or the Kherson Region of Ukraine enjoy the right to apply for citizenship of the Russian Federation under a simplified procedure in conformity with Part 8 of Article 14 of Federal Law № 62-FZ ‘On Citizenship of the Russian Federation’ of May 31, 2002.”
The residents of the southern region of Kherson, which is under the full control of Russian troops, and the southeastern region of Zaporizhzhia, is partially controlled by Moscow want to be part of Russia. According to reports on social media, symbols of the Tsarist Russian Empire that ended in 1918 were appearing in the region. Local pro Russian officials have confirmed.
Russian officials have said the two regions will be part of Russia. “The simplified system will allow all of us to clearly see that Russia is here not just for a long time but forever,” the Moscow-appointed deputy leader of Kherson region, Kirill Stremousov, told Russia’s RIA Novosti state news agency.
“We are very grateful to Russian President Vladimir Putin for all he is doing for us, for protecting Russian people in historically Russian lands that have now been liberated,” he added.
The decree simplifies the citizenship application process. Applicants do not need pass a Russian language test, be a Russian resident for five years or show proof of income. Applications will either be approved or refused within 90 days. This same procedure was stipulated in a 2019 decree fast tracking citizenship for Luhansk and Donetsk citizens.
Ukrainian Foreign Ministry condemned the “illegal issuing of passports. The move is a flagrant violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as norms and principles of international humanitarian law,” it said in a statement.
US State Department spokesman Ned Price decried the decree announcement in a briefing. “The plan is part of Russia’s attempt to subjugate the people of Ukraine — to impose their will by force.”
“That is something that we would forcefully reject,” Price told journalists.