Russia is considering the possibility of facilitating the naturalisation rules for all Ukrainian nationals, President Vladimir Putin said at a press conference concluding his visit to China.
“We are thinking about providing the right to obtain Russian passports under a simplified procedure to all Ukrainian nationals,” he said.
Putin emphasized that the decision to ease Russian citizenship for self-proclaimed Donbass Lugansk and Donetsk Republics residents “was not spontaneous, it was not made at the spur of the moment.”
“Before the decree was singed, we had made all the calculations concerning the number of people that may apply for citizenship, including the number of retired persons – they account for about 30% of the possible applicants,” Putin underlined.
On April 24, in Moscow (pictured) the Russian President signed a decree, which eases Russian citizenship rules for residents of certain regions of southeastern Ukraine.
“Individuals permanently residing in certain areas of 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.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree, which makes it possible for residents of Donbass to obtain Russian citizenship under a simplified procedure. The document has been published on the Kremlin’s website.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko accused Moscow of crossing a “red line” by signing a decree to facilitate the process of obtaining Russian citizenship in eastern Ukraine.
“It’s a fact that this is about the Kremlin preparing the next point of aggression against our country: the annexation of Ukraine’s Donbass or the creation of a Russian enclave in Ukraine,” he said.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin says that Russian citizenship degree is “the continuation of aggression and interference in our internal affairs,” urges Ukrainian citizens in areas held by Russia-backed separatists “not to accept Russian passports.”
“Russia has deprived you of your present lives and now it is encroaching on your future” Minister concluded.
“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.
“Gratitude to Russia for making a decision on granting citizenship under a simplified procedure. It is an outstanding event all LPR citizens have been waiting for,” said Leonid Pasechnk, Head of the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR).
On 21 December 2018, the European Council prolonged the economic sanctions targeting specific sectors of the Russian economy until 31 July 2019.
This decision follows an update from President Macron and Chancellor Merkel to the European Council of 13-14 December 2018 on the state of implementation of the Minsk agreements, to which the sanctions are linked. Given that no progress has been made, the European Council took the political decision to roll-over the economic sanctions against Russia.
The West should either recognize the results of Crimea referendum on reunification with Russia, or stop imposing sanctions against people living in Crimea, Russian President Vladimir Putin said his traditional annual news conference on December 20.
In his words, “it is a curious situation” as Russia is being accused of Crimea’s annexation or in the other words of taking Crimea by force. “But if it was annexation and forcible takeover, then people living in Crimea have nothing to do with that,” he noted. “And if it was their choice in voting, then it was not annexation whatsoever.”
However not all the political forces in the EU share the European Council point of view: since 2014 Marine Le Pen, the leader of French RN (former Front National) has not seen any reason to dispute the result of the referendum.
“I see no grounds whatsoever to question this referendum,” she said. She also added that she regards Crimea as a integral part of Russia. According to TASS News Agency Marine Le Pen “hopes to visit Crimea in April” 2019.
“The EU considers the “elections” planned for 11 November 2018 in the non-government controlled territories of the so-called “Luhansk People’s Republic” and “Donetsk People’s Republic” as illegal and illegitimate and will not recognise them. The EU condemns these ”elections”, as they are in breach of international law, undermine the commitments taken under the Minsk agreements and violate Ukraine‘s sovereignty and law” says the text of the declaration of the EU top diplomat Federica Moghereini on behalf of the European Union on the elections planned in self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic and People’s Republic Donetsk on 11 November.
“The Minsk agreements exclusively provide for local elections to be held within the framework of the Ukrainian legislation and under the OSCE standards and observation. These reasons render these so-called “elections” null and void.” the declaration concludes.
Both break-away Republic were formed on territories with Russian-speaking population, rejecting violent coup-d’état in Kiev, overthrowing legitimate President Viktor Yanukovych.
“The European Union reiterates its full support for the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders“, Mogherini reaffirms.
Nowadays only one in 10 Ukrainians consider violent coup d’état (2014), named “Maidan Revolution“, or “Euromaidan” in Kiev (pictured), leading to beak-away of eastern Russian-speaking region of Donbass, and ongoing conflict as “positive”.
The Donetsk acting head Denis Pushilin, whose predecessor was assassinated in an explosion in August, was elected as leader with 61 percent of the vote while the acting chief of Luhansk, Leonid Pasechnik, won with 68 percent.
Russian Foreign Ministry reacted to the EU MH17 accusations, underlining that Russia’s involvement in the tragedy is unfounded and that the international investigation has been bias Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that the international investigators have ignored the documentary evidence regarding the crash of MH17 that Russia has regularly provided. EU leaders said in a joint statement released in Brussels at EU Summit (#EUCO 28-29 June) that Russia should assume its responsibility for the 2014 downing of a Malaysian plane in Donbass.
“The European Council reiterates its full support for UNSC Resolution 2166 concerning the downing of flight MH-17. It calls on the Russian Federation to accept its responsibility and to fully cooperate with all efforts to establish truth, justice and accountability,” the paper read.
Earlier Malaysian transport minister Anthony Loke said in an interview that there was no conclusive evidence to point at Russia for the crash:
“There is no conclusive evidence to point at Russia under the JIT evidence,” Malaysian transport minister Anthony Loke told Channel NewsAsia in an interview.
“Kiev does not need electorate from Donbass territories, DNR and LNR” – Russian President Vladimir Putin said, while answering ‘direct line‘ question on possible attacks of self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk Republics by Kiev troops. If Kiev launches an assault on Donbass, ignoring Minsk agreements, it will certainly have “serious consequences for Ukrainian state, Ukrainian statehood”, Putin warned.
The President underlined that there is no alternative to Minsk agreements, and also criticized position of Kiev government declaring the Donbass population as Ukrainian citizens, but the same time continuing artillery shelling, causing victims among civilians.
“It is clear, that these people will not vote for Kiev authorities“, – Putin underscored, he presumed that the current hostile position of the Ukrainian government towards the population of the Donbass is explained by the upcoming elections.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his German counterpart Heiko Maas agreed to attempt the re-launch of the efforts to solve the conflict in eastern Ukraine, where Russian-speaking population backed by Moscow, have been fighting Ukraine troops since 2014, triggering Western sanctions.
Maas suggested reviving the peace talks between Germany, France, Ukraine and Russia which led to the 2015 Minsk II agreement, unimplemented so far.
“We are ready to consider this offer,” Lavrov said.
Maas repeatedly called for “honest dialogue” with Kremlin, “particularly during difficult times.” He said that Moscow and Berlin had their differences but called for Russia to be included in global diplomacy. He admitted that the conflict in Syria “cannot be solved without Russia.”
Ahead of his visit, Maas said had that Germany was ready for that dialogue, but also expected “constructive efforts” from Russia, for example with regard to the conflicts in Syria or Ukraine.