Kremlin President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on Wednesday to make it easier for residents of Ukraine to obtain Russian citizenship. In 2019, Putin already instructed the breakaway Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk to obtain Russian citizenship more easily. Hundreds of thousands of people have benefited from the offer.
Sharp criticism from Kyiv
The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry described the distribution of passports as “illegal” and “a flagrant violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity”. It is a violation of international law. Putin’s decree has no legal value.
The Ukrainian government fears that Russia could incorporate Luhansk, Donetsk and Kherson regions similar to Crimea, which annexed the Black Sea peninsula in 2014. Putin had already recognized the Luhansk and Donetsk People’s Republics as independent states in the face of strong international criticism.
However, it is not clear whether they want to remain independent or apply for admission to the Russian Federation. Among other things, Russia justifies its military conquests by the desire to protect its own citizens or new compatriots abroad.
Higher pension payments
For older people in the regions, for example, Russian citizenship is associated with higher pension payments. The Ukrainian government repeatedly warns its citizens not to accept such offers from the Russian leadership and to betray their country. On the other hand, Putin himself has repeatedly demonstrated his conviction that the only thing that should be taken care of is the social well-being of the people, and this approval comes with it. In turn, people should leave politics to the Kremlin.
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