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Decision to grant Russian citizenship to Donbass residents "humanitarian measure" — envoy

April 26, 2:03 UTC+3

Russian Envoy to the UN Vasily Nebenzya said that the decree "was directed at providing social protection to those people who found themselves in very dire circumstances"

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Russian Envoy to the UN Vasily Nebenzya

Russian Envoy to the UN Vasily Nebenzya

© Alexander Shcherbak/TASS

UNITED NATIONS, April 26. /TASS/. The decision to simplify the procedure of applying for Russian citizenship for Donbass residents is a humanitarian measure, Russian Envoy to the UN Vasily Nebenzya told a UN Security Council session on Ukraine on Thursday.

Nebenzya said that the Ukrainian government does not give an opportunity to Donbass residents to exercise their basic rights. "We had to offer them our assistance. In this case, no one is taking away anything from anyone. On the contrary, we recognize that we are taking a great economic and social responsibility by doing this," he added.

"This is a humanitarian measure, I ask you to understand this," he told UN Security Council members. "Russia is interested in the prosperity of brotherly Ukraine. In particular, the decree signed by the president [Putin] was directed at providing social protection to those people who found themselves in very dire circumstances," Nebenzya explained.

This decision "has nothing to do with the Minsk Agreements and does not prevent Ukraine, Donetsk and Lugansk from implementing those agreements," he said.

"I thank those who presented reports today for the briefing but, sincerely speaking, I did not understand what this briefing had to do with the issue that led us to this session today upon the Ukrainian side's request, and what this issue has to do with the Minsk Agreements," Nebenzya noted.

"We do not interfere into internal affairs and do not engage in crawling annexation. We only give people an opportunity to finally resolve their vital problems since the Kiev authorities refuse to help them resolve those problems," the diplomat continued.

He added that people will decide themselves whether they should use this opportunity or not. "In the end, hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians applied for Russian citizenship even before this act," the diplomat noted.

"In other words, Russia is responding to the desperation of many thousands of people with this initiative," Nebenzya said. "We do not force them to become Russian citizens, they want to do it themselves. We only provide this opportunity and significantly ease the process," he added.

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. According to the document, the decision has been made "in order to protect human rights and freedoms" based on universally accepted international laws.

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