According to the official TASS agency, 23 residents of Kherson received a Russian passport during a ceremony, a “simplified procedure” made possible by a decree signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin at the end of May.
“All Kherson residents want to obtain (Russian) passport and citizenship as quickly as possible,” TASS quoted Vladimir Saldo, head of the pro-Russian administration in the region, as saying.
“It is a new era that opens for us (…) It is the most important document that a person has in life,” he said, this time quoted by RIA Novosti.
According to pro-Russian officials in Kherson, the date of issuance of the first Russian passports was chosen to coincide with the Russian holiday – June 12 – the date for the celebration of the country’s independence.
The Russian army occupied almost the entire Kherson region at the beginning of its offensive, which began on February 24.
The decree signed by the Kremlin in late May, allowing pro-Russian local authorities to issue passports to residents, also covered the Zaporizhia region, partly controlled by Russian forces.
Ukraine condemned the creation of this special measure, considering it a “blatant violation” of its territorial integrity.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine responded that “the Russian presidential decree is legally void and will not have any consequences” for “the acquisition of Ukrainian citizenship by residents of the territories temporarily occupied by Russia.”
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