The decision of the Kremlin to facilitate the procedure for issuing Russian passports to residents of the temporarily occupied areas of Donbas in eastern Ukraine is aimed at destabilizing the internal political situation in Ukraine in the post-election period, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine said in s statement handed over to UNIAN.
The Foreign Ministry strongly protests the [Russian] presidential decree, which opens the path to the illegal issuance of Russian passports in the temporarily occupied territories in Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine, and considers this document to be legally void and such that will not change the fact that residents of the Russian-occupied territories of Donbas are Ukrainian citizens, according to the statement.
Russia, once again violating the state sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, made another deliberate step aimed at the destruction of the Minsk Agreements, to which it is party.
Such actions are a "gross interference" in internal affairs, continuing Russian attempts toward the "creeping annexation" of the Ukrainian Donbas.
"They aim to destabilize the internal political situation in Ukraine in the post-election period, demonstrate Russia's intention to continue aggression, and indicate a lack of interest in any de-escalation," the Foreign Ministry notes.
The illegal issue of passports to Ukrainian citizens means that the Kremlin recognizes the very fact of the Russian occupation of the territories in Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine, and this once again debunks the key message of the Russian propaganda about the “internal Ukrainian conflict,” MFA Ukraine stresses.
Of particular concern, the statement said, is the fact that the practice of the illegal issue of passports was earlier used by the Kremlin in other long-lasting conflicts as a legal and humanitarian pretext for further aggression.
In this regard, Ukraine "demands that the Kremlin regime reverse this shameful decision, urging the international community to respond by tightening political, diplomatic, and sanction pressure on the aggressor state.
As UNIAN reported, Russian President Vladimir Putin on April 24 signed a decree on simplifying the procedure for granting Russian citizenship to residents of the temporarily occupied Donbas.