KIEV, July 18. /TASS/. The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has protested against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decree easing citizenship rules for all residents of Ukraine’s Donetsk and Lugansk regions.
"The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry strongly condemns the Russian authorities’ attempt to extend their fast-track citizenship offer to all residents of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, who are Ukrainian nationals," the ministry said in a statement on Thursday. "Russia’s move amounts to overt interference in the domestic affairs of Ukraine, an independent and sovereign state, and poses a serious security threat to the entire European continent," the statement adds.
The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry also pointed out that Kiev would not accept such citizenship decrees and would ask its foreign partners to refuse to recognize those passports and tighten sanctions on Russia.
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 was made "in order to protect human rights and freedoms" based on generally accepted international laws.
On July 17, Putin signed another decree, extending the fast-track citizenship offer to all residents of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions.