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EU countries at UNSC criticize Russia’s act on citizenship for Donbass residents

April 26, 0:50 UTC+3 UN

On April 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree allowing the residents of several regions of southeastern Ukraine to receive Russian citizenship in a simplified manner

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© EPA-EFE/PETER FOLEY

UNITED NATIONS, April 25. /TASS/. European countries forming part of the UN Security Council (SC) think that Russia’s decision on simplifying the citizenship granting process for Donbass residents does not correspond to the Minsk Agreements, their representatives said in a statement before the UNSC session held at the request of Ukraine.

"We as Member States of the European Union fully support the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders," the statement reads. "The signature by the Russian President of a decree entitling, inter alia, people who permanently reside in certain areas of Ukraine's Donetsk and Luhansk regions to apply for Russian citizenship in a simplified manner undermines Ukraine's sovereignty."

"The timing of such a decision immediately after Ukraine’s Presidential election, which demonstrated Ukraine’s strong attachment to democracy and the rule of law, show’s Russia’s intention to further destabilise Ukraine and to exacerbate the conflict," the EU members of the UNSC stressed.

"We expect Russia to refrain from any such actions that jeopardize the implementation of the Minsk Agreements and that impede the full restoration of Ukrainian government control over those areas as prescribed in the agreements. Russia must in particular end its financial and military support to the separatists," the statement added.

The citizenship act

On April 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree allowing the residents of several regions of southeastern Ukraine to receive Russian citizenship in a simplified manner.

"Individuals permanently residing in certain areas of Ukraine’s Donetsk and Lugansk regions have the right to apply for Russian citizenship under a simplified procedure," the decree reads. According to the document, the decision has been made "in order to protect human rights and freedoms" based on universally accepted international laws.

"We have no wish to create problems for the new Ukrainian authorities but [it is impossible] to tolerate the situation where people living in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions are deprived of all possible civil rights, it is too much from the standpoint of human rights. They cannot move freely, cannot meet their basic needs. It is a purely humanitarian matter," the Russian leader emphasized.

In response, Ukraine has requested to hold an emergency UN Security Council session, claiming that this decision is "an encroachment on its [Ukraine’s] sovereignty."

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