First Russian passports handed over to Ukrainians in the Occupied South: Reports

FILE PHOTO: Russian soldiers guard the entrance to Kakhovka Hydroelectric Station, a run-of-the-river power plant on the Dnieper River in the Kherson region of southern Ukraine.  (representative image from AP)

FILE PHOTO: Russian soldiers guard the entrance to Kakhovka Hydroelectric Station, a run-of-the-river power plant on the Dnieper River in the Kherson region of southern Ukraine. (representative image from AP)

Russia’s TASS agency said 23 Kherson residents received Russian passports at a ceremony in May through a “simplified procedure” facilitated by a decree signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin

  • AFP Moscow
  • Last Update:12 June 2022, 13:07 IST
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Officials in Kherson, a city occupied by Moscow in the south Ukraine On Saturday, Russian passports were handed over to local residents for the first time, news agencies reported.

Russia’s TASS agency said 23 Kherson residents received Russian passports in a ceremony through a “simple procedure” facilitated by a decree signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin in May.

“All our Kherson residents want to get passports and (Russian) citizenship as soon as possible,” Vladimir Saldo, the pro-Moscow head of the regional administration, was quoted as saying by TASS.

“This is a new era that is beginning for us … This is the most important document that a person can keep in his life,” Saldo told the RIA Novosti agency.

Officials in Kherson said that the timing of passport delivery was chosen taking into account Russia Day.

It falls on a Sunday and is a public holiday to mark Russia’s independence from the former Soviet Union. This is an occasion for many Russians to demonstrate national pride.

At the beginning of their offensive on 24 February, Russian forces occupied most of the Kherson region.

The Kremlin decree authorized local authorities to issue Russian passports to local residents, belonging to the nearby Zaporizhzhya region that was partly controlled by Moscow’s military.

Ukraine condemned the move as a “gross violation” of its territorial integrity and said Putin’s decree was “legally void”.

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