Ukraine responds to Russia’s citizenship initiative

West should respond to Moscow’s fast-track citizenship offer to Ukrainians by sending more weapons to Ukraine, Kyiv insists

Granting all Ukrainians the right to apply for Russian citizenship in a simplified procedure is nothing short of a “undermining the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine” from Moscow, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry announced on Monday.

The ministry said so “strongly condemns” the move on the same day, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the corresponding decree. Ukrainian diplomats also announced Moscow’s decision “inconsistent with the norms and principles of international law”.

According to the ministry’s statement, the offer to Ukrainians of early access to Russian citizenship suggests that the Kremlin is still seeking to “seize Ukrainian lands, destroy the Ukrainian state” and “to assimilate by force” the Ukrainian nation.

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Russia offers fast-track citizenship to all Ukrainians

kyiv has also warned that it will consider granting Russian citizenship to Ukrainians as part of this procedure. “null and empty,” adding that he would have “no legal consequences” for Ukraine. She also accused Moscow of attempts to use the procedure to “Obligate” Ukrainians living in territories controlled by Russian troops for “to participate in the criminal activities of the occupation administrations.”

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba also used the occasion to demand more weapons from the West. “It is now extremely important to provide more aid to our nation,” he said in a statement, as he called on Ukraine “the partners” at “urgently supply Ukraine with more heavy weapons and introduce new economic sanctions against Russia.”

The minister also stigmatized the decree of the Russian president “without value,” adding that it only shows “Putin’s aggressive appetites.”

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FILE PICTURE.  © Getty Images / Brendan Hoffman
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The Russian President’s decree, signed and published on Monday, modifies procedures previously reserved for citizens of the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics as well as residents of the two southern regions of Ukraine who have been under the control of Russian forces almost for the beginning of the conflict between Moscow and kyiv.

Now all Ukrainians can apply for citizenship with Russian authorities without the prior requirements of having lived in Russia for five years, having a source of income or passing a Russian language test. People who lived in the territories controlled by the two Donbas republics were granted this right in 2019. In February, 950,000 people reportedly filed applications there, and 770,000 of them became Russian citizens.

In 2019, when this simplified procedure was first introduced, Putin said it was not intended to “make trouble” for Ukraine, but to help protect the fundamental rights of the people of Donbass, who “completely private” from them for a long time. In May, another decree added residents of Zaporozhye and Kherson regions in southern Ukraine to those eligible for the citizenship program.


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