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Ukrainian cabinet decides not to recognize Russian passports of Donbass residents

The Ukrainian government has also instructed the Foreign Ministry to encourage the country’s "foreign partners" to make similar decisions

KIEV, May 8. /TASS/. Ukraine’s government has decided not to recognize Russian passports issued to Ukrainians living in Donbass, Ukrainian Minister for the Affairs of Temporarily Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons Vadim Chernysh told reporters following a cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

"The Ukrainian cabinet’s decree, which lists the so-called issuance centers authorized by Russia to issue passports starting on certain dates. All documents issued by these centers will be recognized as invalid," he said, adding that the government had also instructed the Foreign Ministry to encourage the country’s "foreign partners" to make similar decisions.

"We believe that these restrictions only mean the first step. A number of government experts are working on further amendments to Ukraine’s citizenship law but we will announce them later," Chernysh said.

The minister pointed out that Kiev also had a list of individuals involved in the "illegal issuance" of Russian passports to Ukrainians, adding they were subject to personal sanctions. When asked how Ukraine would figure out whether a passport had been issued "illegally" or not, Chernysh said it would depend on the issuing agency. "It is very easy to figure it out because all passports have information on when and where they were issued, including the issuing agency’s code. Two places have been determined - the Pokrovskoye settlement and the city of Novoshakhtinsk in the Rostov region," he said.

On April 24, 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.