Reactions to Putin’s Move to Expedite Russian Citizenship in Occupied Territories
Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree that allows residents of the occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions in eastern Ukraine to obtain Russian passports under a simplified procedure
President Vladimir Putin’s decree on the issue of passports to residents of Russian-controlled territories in Donbas drew condemnation from the United States, Canada, Germany, and France. The move will be discussed today at the United Nations.
“Together with France, we condemn the decree of the Russian Federation, which is designed to facilitate the granting of Russian citizenship to the population of some parts of eastern Ukraine. These regions are part of Ukrainian territory,” the German Foreign Ministry wrote on Twitter.
“The United States condemns today’s decision by President Putin to provide expedited Russian citizenship to Ukrainians living in Russia-controlled eastern Ukraine. Russia, through this highly provocative action, is intensifying its assault on Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,”reads a statement from the United States Department of State.
“Putin’s decision creates a serious obstacle to the implementation of the Minsk agreements and the reintegration of the Donbas region,” the State Department wrote.
Putin’s decision occurs three days after Ukrainians elected Volodymyr Zelenskyi.
Zelenskyi had repeatedly expressed a readiness “to engage seriously with Russia to implement the Minsk agreements, and to end the conflict in eastern Ukraine, which has claimed some 13,000 lives”.
“It is now up to Russia to decide whether it wants to continue to escalate tensions or meet its Minsk commitments,” the U.S. State Department wrote.
“Russia’s recent decision to issue passports is highly provocative & is straight from its ‘occupation playbook’ and undermines efforts to implement Minsk & restore Donbas to Ukrainian control,” U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Kurt Volker wrote on Twitter.
“Donbas is Ukraine and the people there – regardless of preferred language – are Ukrainian,” Volker said.
Canada also spoke against the recent decision.
“Canada condemns the ongoing Russian-backed violence in eastern Ukraine and its destabilizing proposal to extend citizenship to inhabitants of Donbas. We stand with Ukraine in support of its sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Global Affairs Canada posted on Twitter.
The Permanent Mission of Ukraine to the United Nations appealed to the UN Security Council.
The appeal was made on the instructions of current Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, Ukraine’s Permanent Representative to the UN Volodymyr Yelchenko wrote on Twitter.
“By order of President Poroshenko, we have already appealed to the UN Security Council,” he wrote.
“The Russian Federation has again crossed the red lines and frankly and brazenly torpedoes the peace process in the Donbas. Holding fake elections in 2014 and 2018, the introduction of the ruble zone, the expropriation of Ukrainian enterprises, the official recognition of documents issued by illegal bodies that the Russian side has done in recent years, ” Poroshenko said.
The UN Security Council said that it will discuss the situation in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine today at 10 p.m. Kyiv time.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that the UN expects all responsible persons to act in accordance with the spirit and the letter of the Minsk agreements approved by the Security Council and all issues to be resolved through constructive dialogue in the existing formats, Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for the UN Secretary-General, said in a response to a written request from an Ukrinform correspondent.
Dujarric said that the UN underlines its commitment to the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine.
The Russian authorities, by signing a decree on the simplified granting of Russian citizenship to residents of the occupied territories of Donbas, have launched the Abkhaz scenario in eastern Ukraine, former representative of the Ukrainian president in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea Borys Babin, wrote on Facebook.