Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Reintegration of Temporarily Occupied Territories Oleksiy Reznikov says about 300,000 Ukrainians have been forced to obtain Russian passports in occupied Donbas since this is the way for them to survive in those territories.
"As of today, in fact, all the citizens of Ukraine who are in the temporarily occupied territories are hostages of the occupation regime. About 300,000 Ukrainians have gone through a forced Russian passportization procedure. I am now talking about occupied Donetsk and Luhansk regions. As for Crimea, the figures are reaching 2 million there," he told the Ukrainian TSN news service in an interview.
Reznikov is convinced Ukraine has no right to condemn such citizens.
"We've failed to protect them. The defense capacity of Ukraine as the state was not enough in 2014 to rebuff this aggression so that people would not be taken hostage. Therefore, the state must find a mechanism how to deal with these consequences later," the official said.
According to Reznikov, the government is developing a draft law on the state policy of the transition period, which will take into account the issue of forced passportization.
Read alsoUkraine preparing sanctions against Russia over Crimean winery – ReznikovUkraine's Plan for Donbas: Five key points
- On November 5, the Ukrainian delegation to the Trilateral Contact Group outlined five key points of a new action plan for Donbas:
- Withdrawal of foreign troops, illegal armed groups, and mercenaries from the territory of Ukraine in early 2021;
- Cancellation by Russian authorities of a number of decisions and documents that are direct interference in the life of the occupied parts of Donbas, for example, on the streamlined naturalization procedure for local residents;
- Restoration of control over the corresponding section of the Russian-Ukrainian border with the help of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission; and
- Fourfold increase in the size of the OSCE SMM mission (by 1,500 persons).
- Only if the first four conditions are met, comes the fifth point:
- Preparation and holding of local elections in the occupied districts of Donetsk and Luhansk region (with the OSCE's assistance).