Kiev: Russian passports have been distributed in the city of Mariupol in eastern Ukraine that had been taken under control by Russian forces earlier this month, Petro Andryushchenko, an advisor to the mayor of Mariupol, has said.
“The de facto annexation of Mariupol, in particular, has begun,” Andryushchenko wrote on Facebook.
Earlier in the day, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed an order allowing residents of Ukraine’s southern Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions to apply for Russian citizenship under a fast-track procedure, Xinhua news agency reported, citing local media reports.
Reacting to the development, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has said that the issuance of Russian passports to Ukrainian citizens living in the territories seized by Russia is a “gross violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, norms, and principles of international humanitarian law.”
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