In Kherson, 23 residents were handed Russian passports during a ceremony, according to state news agency TASS. “All our residents of Kherson want to obtain a passport and citizenship as soon as possible,” said Vladimir Saldo, head of the pro-Russian administration in the region, according to the agency. Kherson was almost completely conquered by the Russian army.
“This is a new era that has begun for us. “This is the most important document that a person has in his life,” he told another Russian news agency, RIA Novosti.
Russian President Vladimir Putin simplified the process of applying for and receiving a Russian passport in May. Moscow distributed the necessary documents in some other occupied Ukrainian lands and provided the ruble as its currency. The Ukrainian authorities accuse the Russian occupier of forcing people to obtain Russian citizenship and fear that the annexation of the occupied territories is imminent.
In the eastern separatist regions of Ukraine, TASS said, more than 800,000 people were granted Russian citizenship through simplified procedures in the past three years. Putin issued a decree in 2019 allowing the granting of Russian passports to people from the Donbass region.
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