Children born in occupied Kherson region in months after Moscow invaded Ukraine will automatically receive Russian passports, Moscow-based official says said Thursday.
“Children born after [Feb.] 24 automatically receive Russian citizenship,” Kirill Stremousov, an official of the pro-Moscow military-civilian administration in Kherson, told Russia’s official TASS news agency.
The orphan children of the region, which fell under Russian control in early March, have already received Russian passports, Stremousov added.
Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decreesimplifythe citizenship process for Ukrainians in occupied Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, as well as the breakaway regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, on May 25.
A senior Kremlin official too pledged russian passports for residents of Kherson during a recent visit earlier this month, the first of which was handed over over the weekend.
The fast-track citizenship drive has sparked widespread speculation that Russia hopes to annex parts of Ukraine it captured during its nearly four-month invasion.
On Tuesday, the United Nations warned Moscow against forcibly adopting Ukrainian children brought to Russia since the February invasion.