The President of the Russian Federation has issued a decree offering a simplified procedure for acquiring citizenship of the Russian Federation by Ukrainian citizens living in the temporarily occupied territories of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
This is quite clearly a blatant interference of the Russian Federation in the internal affairs of Ukraine, and a brutal violation of sovereignty, territorial integrity and the independence of Ukraine.
Russia has welcomed President elect Zelensky by cynically cocking a snook at its obligations under the Minsk agreements and violating international humanitarian law, which prohibits occupying military aggressors from changing the citizenship of the inhabitants of the territories they occupy by force of arms.
The Russian Federation is quite brazenly undermining the peace process in Donbass snubbing the efforts of Ukraine and the OSCE to launch an “Easter” armistice starting on April 26 is not accidental.
The strategic purpose of Russia is obvious: to present an aggressive challenge to the new President elect by actions which will have the effect of annulling the Minsk agreements, thereby denying any intention to stop military bombardment, refuse to withdraw its troops and armaments, refuse to free Ukrainian hostages, and refuse to return control over the state border to Ukraine. Clearly Moscow wants to sabre rattle, war monger and renege on its Minsk commitments. It mistakenly believes that aggression will reward a push for removal of sanctions.
The international community needs to stand by Ukraine, to condemn the destructive and criminal actions of the Russian authorities in the severest possible terms, and determinedly strengthen the application of international sanctions against the Russian Federation.
President Poroshenko has instructed the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to immediately raise this matter with the UN Security Counci, the OSCE and the EU.