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Over 15,000 Ukrainians apply for Russian citizenship in Crimea

September 16, 2014, 12:10 UTC+3 SIMFEROPOL
Crimea's acting head Sergei Aksenov said numerous fraudulent schemes involving Ukrainian citizens seeking to obtain Russian passports have been reported in the region
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© ITAR-TASS/Valery Sharifulin

SIMFEROPOL, September 16. /ITAR-TASS/. More than 15,000 Ukrainian nationals have applied for Russian citizenship in Russia’s newest region of Crimea, the head of a regional Federal Migration Service department said on Tuesday.

“There is a rush here, I have a feeling that the whole Ukraine has decided to get passports in Crimea,” Petr Yarosh said, adding that only those Ukrainians who have documents confirming that they live or work in Crimea will get Russian passports.

In other cases, the migration authorities refuse to issue Russian passports.

Crimea's acting head Sergei Aksenov said numerous fraudulent schemes involving Ukrainian citizens seeking to obtain Russian passports have been reported in the region. Aksenov has ordered local authorities to monitor the situation.

The Federal Security Service (FSB) and Russia’s Investigative Committee lead the effort to uncover fraudulent schemes used to issue Russian passports.

A total of 98% of Crimean citizens have so far received Russian passports.

Crimea's population stood at 19.7 million in early 2014, 62.7% of which live in urban areas.

The Black Sea peninsula was part of Russia from 1784 until 1954 when Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev handed it over to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic in a voluntaristic act. Crimea remained part of independent Ukraine after the USSR collapsed in 1991.

Crimea rejoined Russia following a referendum held on March 16 when most people favored a move to leave Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on Crimea’s integration into Russia on March 18.

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