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Tue, Jul 23, 2019 12:33 PM
Thu, Apr 25, 2019 11:11

Russia eases passport rules for east Ukrainians

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President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on Wednesday that makes it easier for those living in eastern Ukraine's separatist territories to access a Russian passport.

President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on Wednesday that makes it easier for those living in eastern Ukraine's separatist territories to access a Russian passport.

The move is seen as a challenge to Volodmyr Zelensky, the former comedian elected president this weekend.

In a Facebook post, Zelensky's team has labeled Russia "an aggressor state which wages war against Ukraine".

Mr. Putin said the new law is "purely a humanitarian issue".

The decree is aimed at people living in the unrecognized republics of Donetsk and Luhansk, seized by Russian-backed separatists in 2014 after Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine.

Mr. Putin said people living in these areas were "completely deprived of civil rights" and could not "move normally" or "realize their most elementary needs".

"We have no desire to create problems for the new Ukrainian authorities," Mr. Putin added.

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