Russia hands over 1.5 million passports in the ‘new territories’ - GulfToday

Russia hands over 1.5 million passports in the ‘new territories’

A newly issued Russian passport is handed over to a resident.

Gulf Today Report

Russia has handed over 1.5 million passports in occupied regions of Ukraine, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin announced on Tuesday.

Residents in areas under Russian control reported earlier this month that they had been handed a Russian passport, which is necessary for basic bureaucratic procedures.

Kiev likened giving passports to efforts to obliterate Ukrainian identity.

"Since October last year, about 1.5 million people have received Russian passports in the new regions," Mishustin said at a government meeting.

He was referring to parts of Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhia, and Kherson that were under Russian control.

Mishustin stressed, "It is important for the residents of those areas to feel the real changes that are taking place in cities and towns, and to see that all streets and houses are gradually being restored."

Russia has been issuing passports for years to people residing in areas of the Donbass region, which have been controlled by separatists loyal to Moscow since 2014, and in the Crimea it occupies. Moscow says it has annexed the four regions, although it does not fully control them.

In parallel with Russia's massive offensive, which has been ongoing since February of last year in Ukraine, the Kremlin has accelerated passport issuance procedures.

The European Union said it would not recognize Russian passports issued by Moscow in "illegally occupied" areas of Ukraine.

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