War in Ukraine: the first Russian passports delivered to residents of southern Ukraine
Sylvie Claire / June 12, 2022
According to the official agency TASS, 23 residents of Kherson received during a ceremony a Russian passport, a simplified procedure allowed thanks to a decree signed at the end of May by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
All our residents of Kherson want to get a passport and (Russian) citizenship as soon as possible, Vladimir Saldo, the head of the region's pro-Russian administration, was quoted by TASS as saying during the ceremony.
According to the pro-Russian authorities in Kherson, the date of the issuance of these first Russian passports was chosen to coincide with Russia Day, June 12, a holiday celebrating the country's independence.
The Kherson region was almost entirely conquered by the Russian army at the beginning of its offensive launched on February 24. The decree signed by the Kremlin at the end of May, authorizing local pro-Russian authorities to hand out passports to the inhabitants, also concerned the Zaporijjia region, which is partly controlled by Moscow.
Ukraine had denounced the introduction of this special procedure as a flagrant violation of its territorial integrity.
The Russian presidential decree is legally null and void and will have no consequences on the membership of the inhabitants of the territories temporarily occupied by Russia in the Ukrainian citizenship, the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs had said.