Trending

Putin approves fast-track citizenship for those in captured Ukraine — lead-up to Russian annexation?

Business Insider US
Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting on transport complex development via a video link at the Bocharov Ruchei residence in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi on May 24, 2022. Photo by MIKHAIL METZEL/SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images
Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting on transport complex development via a video link at the Bocharov Ruchei residence in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi on May 24, 2022. Photo by MIKHAIL METZEL/SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images
  • Putin on Wednesday approved a fast-track path to citizenship for people in captured Ukrainian areas.
  • The decree allows Ukrainians to skirt requirements like passing a Russian language exam.
  • US officials have warned Russia may hold bogus referendums to annex the territories its captured in Ukraine.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has approved an express path to citizenship for people in captured Ukrainian areas, possibly hinting at future annexation.

Putin on Wednesday signed a decree giving Ukrainians living in the eastern Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions a "simplified procedure" to apply for Russian citizenship, state-run news outlet TASS reported

According to TASS, the decree allows Ukrainians to skip the otherwise-normal requirements of living in Russia for five years, passing a language exam, and having a source of income.

Moscow unveiled a similar move in April 2019 for the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics — two separatist-controlled regions in eastern Ukraine. According to Euronews, hundreds of thousands of residents in the regions have received Russian passports since then. 

Shortly before Russian forces invaded Ukraine in late February, Putin said he would recognise the Donetsk and Luhansk regions as independent states — escalating the tensions ahead of his full-scale, unprovoked war. 

Putin's new decree is not necessarily surprising either. US officials and experts have warned that Russia plans to annex Ukrainian territory and stage "sham" referendums to try to legitimise the invasion. Russian forces previously invaded and annexed Crimea in 2014.  

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in April that "pseudo-referendums" or establishment of "new pseudo-people's republics" would derail peace talks with Moscow.



Get the best of our site emailed to you every weekday.


Go to the Business Insider front page for more stories.

Rand - Dollar
16.17
+0.5%
Rand - Pound
19.63
+0.2%
Rand - Euro
16.59
+0.2%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.52
+0.2%
Rand - Yen
0.12
+0.2%
Gold
1,802.29
0.0%
Silver
20.82
0.0%
Palladium
2,227.50
0.0%
Platinum
966.00
0.0%
Brent Crude
98.15
-1.5%
Top 40
63,996
-1.0%
All Share
70,731
-0.8%
Resource 10
64,048
-2.8%
Industrial 25
86,577
-0.6%
Financial 15
16,059
+0.6%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo