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The European Union is developing for all member states a set of common guidance for the identification and possible non-recognition of Russian passports issued to Ukrainian citizens living in Donbas.

The EU Delegation to Ukraine in a statement handed over to UNIAN recalls that on April 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree simplifying the procedure for obtaining Russian citizenship, and subsequently, issuance of passports, by residents of the non-Government controlled areas of Ukraine's Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

"The European Council conclusions of 20 June 2019 expressed the utmost concern about the adoption of the decree, which was considered to run against the spirit and objectives of the Minsk agreements. The European Council also concluded that it stood ready to consider further options, including the non-recognition of these Russian passports," the statement reads.

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"In this light, the Commission services together with the EEAS, and in close coordination with the EU Delegations in Moscow and Kyiv, are working on common guidance to Member States and their consulates for the identification and possible non-recognition of these passports (which is Member States’ competence) as well as on how to handle visa applications lodged in the Russian Federation and in Ukraine by Donbas residents who acquired the passports as a consequence of this decree," the diplomats stress.

Meanwhile, the EU Delegation notes, the signature by President Putin on July 17 of the executive order amending the Decree adopted on 1 May, thus extending the simplified issuing of passports for Ukrainians who lived in April 2014 in any part of Ukraine's Donetsk and Luhansk regions and currently residing in the Russian Federation, is "yet another attempt by Russia to destabilise Ukraine".

As UNIAN reported earlier, 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.