Reuters: The Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree giving people who live in areas of Ukraine that are under Moscow’s control the opportunity to become Russian citizens. However, those who refuse or do not legalise status may be deported.
The decree was reported on by Russian news agencies Friday and covers four Ukrainian areas that Russia has unilaterally claimed and partially controlled: Donetsk Luhansk Kherson and Zaporizhzhia.
Kyiv claims it will retake these four areas. It has also accused Moscow for trying to force its citizens to accept Russian citizenship.
Hanna Malyar, the Ukrainian Deputy Minister of Defence, accused Russia this week of trying to alter what she called “the ethno-cultural make-up” in occupied territory. She said that Russia was bringing settlers from remote areas of Russia and deporting those suspected of being pro Ukrainian.
The decree provides a list of ways Ukrainians or those with passports issued by Russia supported breakaway republics who reside in the four areas can begin the process to become Russians or legalise status with Russian authorities.
It also states that those who do not take action by July 1, 2020 will be considered foreign citizens, putting them at risk of deportation from territories that Moscow considers to be part of Russia.
The decree allows for the deportation from four regions of those who pose a danger to national security, or participate in meetings that are not authorised.
The decree specifically targets people who support “the violent changes” to the Russian constitutional order, or those who finance or plan terrorist acts.