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US chooses to ignore Ukraine’s disregard of Minsk agreements — Russian foreign ministry

Volker condemned Russia’s decision to grant citizenship to Donbass citizens under simplified procedure

MOSCOW, April 24. /TASS/. US Special Representative for Ukraine Kurt Volker chooses to ignore Ukraine’s disregard of the Minsk Agreements while accusing Russia of violating them, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova noted on Monday, commenting on Volker’s statement on Russia’s decision to simplify the process of granting citizenship for Donbass residents.

"I would like to remind Volker that on April 18, 2019, [Ukrainian President-Elect] Vladimir Zelensky claimed that in case he won the election, he would stand against granting a special status to Donbass, stressing that he would not sign the amnesty law for Donbass fighters. <…> Now if Volker or someone in the State Department had reacted to these words in the same uncompromising manner as they do today, they would not look so stupid," she wrote on her Facebook page. "The thing is that Donbass’ special status and the amnesty are one of the key points of the Minsk Agreements."

On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree allowing the residents of several regions of southeastern Ukraine to receive Russian citizenship in a simplified manner.

"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.

Volker condemned Russia’s actions on Twitter. "Donbas is Ukraine and the people there - regardless of preferred language - are Ukrainian. Russia’s recent decision to issue passports is highly provocative & is straight from its "occupation playbook" and undermines efforts to implement Minsk & restore Donbas to Ukrainian control," he wrote.