Russian Federation offers quick citizenship in Ukraine's separatist area

Friday, 26 Apr, 2019

On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed an order simplifying the procedure for obtaining a Russian passport for residents of eastern Ukraine's rebellious regions, prompting calls from Kiev for more global sanctions.

Zelensky hailed his victory as a sign to people in post-Soviet nations that "everything is possible", but he also has said he wants better relations with Russian Federation.

The message called on the global community to provide "diplomatic pressure and the pressure of sanctions".

"Russia has deprived you of today and is now grabbing at your future", wrote Klimkin on Twitter after the announcement. Top issues in the election have been corruption, the economy and how to end the conflict with Russia-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine.

In 2002, during Putin's first term, Moscow began issuing Russian passports to residents of Georgia's breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia - first laying groundwork for the move by adopting a law allowing Russian citizenship to be granted to people who did not receive citizenship of any country after the 1991 Soviet collapse. Meanwhile, Russian media reports have said that nearly half the residents of Moldova's Moscow-backed breakaway region of Transdniester are Russian passport holders. In Kiev it's being seen another step towards eventual Russian annexation.

Ukraine's parliament approved a law on Thursday that grants special status to the Ukrainian language and makes it mandatory for public sector workers, a move Russia described as divisive and said discriminated against Russian-speakers.

Five years of war have killed 13,000 people. The fact that this time it's come from Mr Zelensky suggests that relations are unlikely to improve.

The Minsk agreement was signed by Russian Federation and the Ukraine to stop fighting in 2014.

The decree was a "brutal violation of sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of Ukraine and a complete trampling upon its obligations in the framework of the Minsk agreements", he said, referring to the agreements signed in 2014 and 2015 to brought a cease fire to the conflict in Ukraine's Donbas region.

An election commission spokesman declined immediate comment but on Tuesday the deputy head of the commission said the result would be declared on April 30, ahead of its official deadline.

There was no immediate reaction from Zelenskiy's office.