Thursday, May 9, 2019

Ukraine outlaws Russian passports issued for its citizens in Donbas

May 9, 20119 (Kyiv Post) The Ukrainian government has invalidated Russian passports issued to Ukrainian citizens of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, which are partially occupied by the Russian-backed militants. “The passports issued to Ukrainian citizens on our territory, the territory of the sovereign Ukrainian state, will be deemed illegal … when crossing the state border and when used on the territory of our state,” said Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman at a cabinet meeting on May 8. Groysman also called on other countries to do the same. Vadym Chernysh, minister for the temporarily occupied territories and internally displaced persons, said the decision had been made during the May 8 meeting. Russian passports issued in Russia’s Rostov Oblast will also be deemed illegal, he added. The Ukrainian authorities will identify such documents by the code of the issuing body. The Ukrainian government also intends to prepare a list of Russian officials who were involved in organizing and implementing the procedure simplifying the issuing of Russian passport in occupied Donbas, Chernysh said.

A Ukrainian border guard scans a passport of a Russian citizen crossing the Russian-Ukrainian border on the checkpoint of Goptivka, near Kharkiv, on Jan. 3, 2018. Photo by AFP

“We are preparing a list of such Russian Federation officials to whom personal sanctions should be applied in cooperation with international partners,” Chernysh told journalists after the cabinet meeting, the Interfax news agency reported. Veteran Affairs Minister Iryna Friz said on Facebook that the government will consider depriving Ukrainian citizens from Donbas of their pensions and social benefits should they receive Russian passports in an unlawful way. On April 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree allowing people who live in the Russian-occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts to gain Russian passports through a simplified procedure. Three days later, on April 27, Putin said that the Russian government was considering applying simplified procedures to all Ukrainians applicants for Russian citizenship. The decree will allow more than 3 million Ukrainians to apply for Russian passports bypassing a number of criteria for gaining Russian citizenship.