MOSCOW, July 20. /TASS/. Moscow’s decision to simplify procedures of granting Russian citizenship to people living in Donbass was a mere humanitarian measure and cannot be interpreted as a step towards any subsequent accession of the Donbass republics to Russia, deputy head of the Russian presidential administration Dmitry Kozak said in an interview with the French Politique Internationale quarterly posted on the website of the Russian embassy in France on Tuesday.
According to Kozak, around 470,000 people in Donbass have received Russian passports already. "The decision to simplify passport issuance procedures came solely as a humanitarian measure after a blockade was placed on Donbass and its residents were deprived of their civil rights," Kozak noted, adding that this decision "cannot be seen as an instrument or a sign of the DPR’ and LPR’s (the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics - TASS) accession to Russia."
As soon as the situation in Donbass is settled, there will be no need for this, he stressed. "The general citizenship granting procedure will be reinstated," he said, adding that Moscow’s actions in no way run counter to the current norms of international law or other countries’ practices.
"It’s not only residents of Donbass but people also living in the rest of Ukraine apply for our citizenship. Nearly 978,000 Ukrainian nationals were granted Russian citizenship in the period from 2016 to 2020," he said.
He also said that some 2.5 million Ukrainian nationals were registered with Russian migration services in a period from 2019 to 2020.