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Kremlin comments on Kiev's move not to recognize Russian passports for Donbass residents

Moscow will continue issuing passports to those who wish to obtain them, the Kremlin spokesman stated

MOSCOW, May 8. /TASS/. Moscow will continue issuing Russian passports to Donbass residents despite Kiev’s plans to recognize these documents as invalid, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters when asked what the Kremlin’s reaction would be if Ukraine refused to recognize such passports.

"What reaction can be expected from the Kremlin? The Kremlin will continue issuing passports to those who wish to obtain them and are covered by the presidential decree," Peskov said.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Vladimir Groisman said at a cabinet meeting earlier on Wednesday that the country’s government would make a decision recognizing Russian passports issued to Ukrainians living in Donbass as invalid. Groisman added that it would be possible to use those documents neither within the country nor for international travels. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavel Klimkin said earlier that Kiev would be ready to discuss dual citizenship with Russia only after it regained control of Donbass and Crimea.

On April 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree, which eases Russian citizenship rules for residents of certain regions of southeastern Ukraine. "Individuals permanently residing in certain areas of Ukraine’s Donetsk and Lugansk regions have the right to apply for Russian citizenship under a fast-track procedure," the decree reads. According to the document, the decision has been made "in order to protect human rights and freedoms" based on generally accepted international laws.