U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Kurt Volker has condemned the issuance of Russian passports to Ukrainian citizens in Donbas.
"Russia needs to fulfill its Minsk obligations. Expediting Russian passports for Ukrainian citizens flies in the face in the spirit of the Minsk agreements and puts at risk efforts to bring peace to the citizens of Ukraine," he wrote on Twitter on July 18, 2019.
As UNIAN reported, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on simplified procedures for granting Russian citizenship to residents of Russia-occupied districts of Ukraine's east on April 24, 2019.
On April 29 and 30, two centers for issuing Russian passports to residents of the occupied districts of Luhansk and Donetsk regions opened in Russia's Rostov Oblast.
On May 1, Putin signed another decree under which more categories of Ukrainian citizens are able to obtain Russian citizenship with the use of the simplified procedure, in particular, these are citizens of Ukraine who do not have citizenship of another state, as well as stateless persons who were born and permanently resided in Crimea and left the peninsula before March 18, 2014, as well as their children, husbands (wives), and parents.
On May 8, Ukraine's government decided to outlaw Russian passports issued to residents of occupied Ukrainian territories, primarily Luhansk and Donetsk regions.
On June 20, Putin said that obtaining Russian citizenship for Ukrainians would be simplified, but it would require a visit to Russia.
Leaders of European Union member states declare their readiness not to recognize Russian passports issued to Ukrainians in Russia-occupied Donbas.
On July 17, Putin extended his decree on simplified procedures for granting Russian citizenship to all residents from Ukraine's Donetsk and Luhansk regions, also known as Donbas.