KIEV, April 24. /TASS/. Kiev protests against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decree easing citizenship rules for residents of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Facebook on Wednesday.
"The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry strongly protests against the Russian president’s decree, which paves the way for the illegal issuance of Russian passports on the temporarily occupied areas of Ukraine’s Donetsk and Lugansk regions," the statement reads.
The Ministry claimed the document was null and void and would not change the fact that the republics’ residents were Ukrainian nationals. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavel Klimkin, in turn, said the move was "a continuation of Russia’s aggression."
Earlier on Wednesday, Putin signed a decree, which makes it possible for residents of certain regions of southeastern Ukraine to obtain Russian citizenship under a simplified procedure. The document has been published on the Kremlin’s website.
"Individuals permanently residing in certain areas of Ukraine’s Donetsk and Lugansk regions have the right to apply for Russian citizenship under a simplified 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.