Putin to ease Russian passports rules for all Ukrainians?

Russian President Vladimir Putin has recently announced that he is considering to extend the Executive Order identifying groups of persons entitled to a fast-track procedure when applying for Russian citizenship on humanitarian grounds to the whole of Ukraine.

The decree, signed on 24 April 2019, has been adopted shortly after the presidential election in Ukraine. It stipulates that permanent residents of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, among others, are eligible for a simplified procedure for obtaining Russian citizenship. After Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, the pro-Russian Donetsk and Luhansk self-proclaimed as republics and are at war with Ukraine.

Both the decision and Putin’s recent remarks were met with outrage from Ukraine’s authorities, including the newly-elected president Volodymir Zelenskiy. The European Union’s External Action Service also criticised the decision as it “shows Russia’s intention to further destabilise Ukraine and to exacerbate the conflict”.

For details of citizenship policies of Russia and Ukraine check out our country profile pages.