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Ukraine-born woman who asked Putin for help during Q&A session gets Russian passport

Ukraine-born woman Irina Barakat, who asked Russian President Vladimir Putin for help during question-and-answer session earlier this month has received her Russian passport

ST. PETERSBURG, June 26. /TASS/. Ukraine-born woman Irina Barakat, who asked Russian President Vladimir Putin for help in the live question-and-answer session earlier this month has received her Russian passport in a special ceremony at the S.M. Kirov Military Medical Academy, where she is undergoing treatment for serious injuries suffered in Syria. The passport was handed to her by the chief of the Interior Ministry’s St. Petersburg and Leningrad Region department Sergey Umnov.

"You’ve done so much for Russia and Syria. You did not hesitate to sacrifice one of your most precious assets, your health. I wish you success and recovery," Umnov said as he handed to Irina a newly-issued Russian passport and a bouquet of crimson roses.

"I am very glad it all happened this way. My special thanks to Russian President Vladimir Putin for everything he has done for me, for giving orders to the Defense Ministry and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu to take me to St. Petersburg for treatment. For making a decision to help me with getting citizenship and seeing my children," Barakat said after the ceremony, adding she was very grateful to all those who participated in her treatment and rehabilitation.

Barakat said she had already phoned her sons to share the latest changes in her life.

"It is very hard to express all my feelings. One of them is pride," she said. When asked what she would do now, that she had a Russian passport, Irina said: "First thing I’ll take a picture of it and send it to my husband and children. Then I will proceed with the course of rehabilitation."

Firm character

In reply to media questions about Barakat’s health the chief of the military traumatology and orthopedics department at the Military Medical Academy, Vladimir Khominets, said that currently her condition is satisfactory and she is already moving around using temporary artificial limbs.

"I would like to emphasize Irina’s motivation and strong character. This humble-looking woman is a great example for many men to follow," he said. Permanent prosthetic limbs are yet to be made for Irina and the period of final rehabilitation may last a while.

On Monday, it was announced that Russian President Vladimir Putin had granted Russian citizenship to Irina Barakat, who had contacted him during the live question-and-answer session in June. The presidential decree was published on the official Internet portal of legal information.

Irina Barakat’s story

On June 7, Irina Barakat contacted the studio during Vladimir Putin’s live question-and-answer session from the hospital of the Military Medical Academy in St. Petersburg to tell her story. Her ordeal began in Syria in June 2016, when a makeshift bomb fired by terrorists exploded inside Irina’s home. The woman covered her children with her body to be badly injured. She lost her leg and the palm of a hand. Irina, who had worked in Syria as a translator, was moved to St. Petersburg for treatment.

Barakat asked Putin for assistance in obtaining Russian citizenship, because without it she was unable to invite her family to St. Petersburg. Her husband and three children remain in Syria. Her eldest son is fifteen and youngest daughter, seven.

"I will ask Defense Ministry staffers, their colleagues in Syria, to contact your relatives and bring them to Russia. And I will do what you are asking for," Putin promised. "Granting Russian citizenship is a presidential competence. You will have it."