“The Russian passports and other attributes of Russia’s sovereignty in the temporarily occupied parts of Ukraine pose the most serious threat not only to Ukraine but to the entire security architecture in Europe. We call on the SMM to continue monitoring these issues,” Ambassador Yevhenii Tsymbaliuk, Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the International Organizations in Vienna, said at the OSCE Permanent Council meeting on July 8 in response to the CiO Special Representative in Ukraine and the TCG Heidi Grau and the SMM Chief Monitor Halit Çevik.
The Ambassador also drew the attention of those present to the fact that during the OSCE PA Plenary Session last Tuesday, on July 6, Head of the Russian Delegation to the OSCE PA Petr Tolstoi said that Russian citizens lived in certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions whom Russia would protect.
Tsymbaliuk welcomed the fact that the SMM’s monitoring in the reporting period from March 21 to June 6 was not limited to security issues. The Mission informed on such violations of Ukraine’s sovereignty by Russia as illegal passports and so-called “Border and Customs” introduced by the occupiers. In addition, the Mission reported on abuses of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the occupied parts of Donbas, such as the illegal seizure of property of the internally displaced persons who left their homes in Donetsk and Luhansk, fleeing from Russian occupation.
As reported, pursuant to the decree signed by president of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin in 2019, residents of certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions and Ukrainian citizens, who lived in Crimea in March 2014, can apply for expedited Russian citizenship.
According to Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights Liudmyla Denisova, almost 600,000 Ukrainian citizens residing in the occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions received Russian passports as of mid-May.
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