MOSCOW, January 1. /TASS/. Nearly 200,000 Donbass residents obtained fast-trace Russian citizenship in 2019, a Russian Interior Ministry spokesperson told TASS.
"More than 196,000 people have become Russian citizens," the spokesperson said, adding that 136,000 of them were residents of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DPR, LPR), while others came from other areas in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions of Ukraine.
According to the Russian Interior Ministry, 232 people were denied Russian citizenship because they are either banned from entering Russia due to violations of migration rules or are under criminal prosecution.
On April 24, 2019, 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. According to the document, Ukrainian nationals from other areas of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions are also eligible to obtain fast-track Russian citizenship.
In the summer of 2019, the Russian Interior Ministry set up four special offices in the country’s southern Rostov region to issue Russian passports to Donbass residents.