Photo from UNIAN

Russian occupation authorities in Crimea are making every effort to force local residents to get rid of their original Ukrainian passports.

Holders of Ukrainian passports are being persecuted and subjected to pressure – all to make sure they get rid of their IDs, Ukraine's Permanent Representative to the United Nations Serhiy Kyslytsya told RFE/RL's Crimea.Realities.

Even if locals are forces to get rid of their passports, they remain Ukrainian citizens, the senior diplomat added.

"That the holders of Ukrainian passports in Crimea are persecuted is a fact. That the holders of Ukrainian passports are pressed to get rid of these passports is a fact. But I want to say that Ukrainian citizenship is not about holding a passport. A passport is obtained based on already being a citizen of Ukraine. Therefore, even if the invaders force Ukrainians or Crimean Tatars to tear their Ukrainian passports, they still remain citizens of Ukraine," Kyslytsya said.

Read alsoOmbudsperson: Invaders trying to eradicate Ukrainian language in Donbas schoolsIn June, rights activists reported that Russian occupation authorities at the de-facto border with mainland Ukraine started fining Crimean residents holders of Ukrainian passports crossing in or out.

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