Putin to Ukrainians: You Can Be Russian Citizens

He offers expedited citizenship process for all in the country as pummeling continues
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 11, 2022 9:25 AM CDT
Putin's Offer to Ukrainians: I'll Make You Citizens, Fast
Rescue workers clear the rubble of a destroyed building after a Russian attack in a residential neighborhood in downtown Kharkiv, Ukraine, on Monday.   (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on Monday expanding a fast-track procedure to receive Russian citizenship to all Ukrainians, in yet another effort to expand Moscow's influence in war-torn Ukraine, per the AP. Until recently, only residents of Ukraine's eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions, as well as residents of the southern Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions, large parts of which are under Russian control, were eligible for the simplified procedure.

Between 2019, when the procedure was first introduced for the residents of Donetsk and Luhansk, and this year, more than 720,000 residents of the rebel-held areas in the two regions—about 18% of the population—have received Russian passports. In late May, three months after Russia invaded Ukraine, the fast-track procedure was also offered to residents of the Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions. A month ago, the first Russian passports were reportedly handed out there.

The move by Putin came as Russian shelling of Ukraine's second-largest city killed at least three people on Monday and injured more than 30, said the local administrator of the region. Russian troops launched three missile strikes on Kharkiv, which the official described as "absolute terrorism." Kharkiv regional Gov. Oleh Synyehubov said on Telegram that the shelling came from multiple rocket launchers, and that those hospitalized for injuries suffered in the attacks included children ages 4 and 16. (More Russia-Ukraine war stories.)

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