Residents of the Lugansk and Donetsk People’s Republics (LPR and DPR) can apply for Russian citizenship in the Rostov Region. Their applications will be considered within three months, the Russian Interior Ministry’s website informed on Wednesday. The ministry’s press service informed TASS that there is no need to renounce the Ukrainian citizenship in order to obtain the Russian one.
"It is planned that the applications will be processed and considered through the representatives of the DPR and LPR on the territory of the Rostov Region, which has all the necessary conditions, including material and technical resources," the press service stated. "Said category of citizens has a right to apply for Russian citizenship without renouncing the Ukrainian one," the message states.
"The estimated processing time of an application is up to 3 months. In case of a positive decision on acquiring the citizenship, the aforementioned persons will receive Russian passports on the territory of the Rostov Region," the message states.
Russian State Duma (lower house of parliament) speaker Vyacheslav Volodin said the decree corresponded to the international law and was of a humanitarian nature.
"The president’s decree is in strict correspondence with the norms of international law," he stressed. "Today, during the meeting of the Russian president with the members of the Russian Council of Legislators, when people heard the news of a new act establishing a simplified procedure of obtaining Russian citizenship for separate residents of the Donetsk and Lugansk Regions of Ukraine, everyone applauded," the speaker said.
"The president’s decision is of a humanitarian nature, it is aimed to protect the rights of citizens living on these territories," Volodin noted, adding that hostilities carry on in Donbass, causing civilian deaths.
Ukrainian President-Elect Vladimir Zelensky must speak personally on the issue of Russia providing citizenship to Donbass residents, the speaker added.
"When the election is over, the campaign staff ceases its activities, which were solely related to the electoral campaign. It would be right if the person elected by the people spoke," Volodin said in response to Zelensky’s team statement claiming that Russia’s decision does not facilitate the establishment of a ceasefire in Donbass.
"It is crucial that the bloodshed in southeastern Ukraine ceases as quickly as possible," he concluded.
On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree allowing the residents of several regions of southeastern Ukraine to receive Russian citizenship in a simplified manner.
"Individuals permanently residing in certain areas of Ukraine’s Donetsk and Lugansk regions have the right to apply for Russian citizenship under a simplified procedure," the decree reads. According to the document, the decision has been made "in order to protect human rights and freedoms" based on generally accepted international laws.
"We have no wish to create problems for the new Ukrainian authorities but [it is impossible] to tolerate the situation where people living in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions are deprived of all possible civil rights, it is too much from the standpoint of human rights. They cannot move freely, cannot achieve their basic needs. It is a purely humanitarian matter," the Russian leader emphasized.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he had no intention to provoke the authorities in Kiev by signing a decree on simpler rules of granting Russian citizenship to the residents of some areas of the Lugansk and Donetsk regions of Ukraine.
"We, including myself, are very far from provoking anybody," he said. "The passports-related issue is purely humanitarian."