Photo from UNIAN

Ukrainian Deputy Minister for Temporary Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons Yuriy Hrymchak says residents of Russian-occupied Donbas, also known as the ORDLO, who receive Russian passports, should be deprived of Ukrainian citizenship.

"The Constitution of Ukraine says that a Ukrainian should have only one citizenship – the citizenship of Ukraine. Therefore, those people who will receive or are receiving the citizenship of the Russian Federation may lose their Ukrainian citizenship. I think that this will have to be done – to cancel [their] internal passports of Ukraine, as well as foreign passports," he told Ukrainian TV Channel 5 on April 30.

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According to Hrymchak, the Kremlin, having issued the Russian passports to residents of ORDLO – the self-proclaimed "Donetsk People's Republic ("DPR") and Luhansk People's Republic ("LPR") – will have grounds to declare that it protects its citizens in Donbas. Moreover, the availability of Russian passports will help employees of the occupation administration in the so-called "DPR" and "LPR" avoid criminal prosecution by Ukraine.

The official believes that the purpose of issuing Russian passports in the occupied Donbas is to destabilize the situation and legalize militants.

As UNIAN reported earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin on April 24 signed a decree on the expedited procedure for the issue of Russian passports to residents of temporarily occupied Donbas. The Kremlin explained that such a decision aimed "to protect the rights and freedoms", based on "generally accepted principles and norms of international law."

On April 27, Putin said Russia could simplify the procedure for granting Russian citizenship to all Ukrainians – not only to those who reside in Russia-occupied districts in the east of Ukraine.

On April 29, a center opened in the town of Novoshakhtinsk in Rostov Oblast to issue Russian passports to residents of Russia-occupied districts in Ukraine's Luhansk region.

On April 30, a center opened in the village of Pokrovskoye in Rostov Oblast's Neklinovsky district to issue Russian passports to residents of Russia-occupied districts in Ukraine's Donetsk region.