Residents of the occupied Crimea had objective reasons to agree to compulsory passportization by the Russian occupation administration in the Crimea, as they would otherwise face repression and persecution.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine reminded about it.

“In recent days, there has been an artificial discrediting campaign in the information space against Russian passports, which have been imposed on Ukrainian citizens by the Russian occupation administration of Crimea since March 2014. Citizens of Ukraine living in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol were in fact deprived of the right to choose. The possibilities for renouncing Russian citizenship were severely limited by determining the insufficient number of relevant centers and the too-short deadlines for receiving applications for renunciation,” the statement reads.

The Foreign Ministry stressed that forced passportization is an element of repressive policy and systemic pressure of the aggressor state on Ukrainian citizens who are forced to live under occupation.

If Crimean residents refused to obtain Russian passports, their rights were artificially restricted. The lack of a relevant document could lead to forced deportation, a ban on entry into the peninsula, and harassment of pro-Ukrainian activists, including journalists, by the occupation authorities.

In addition, Ukrainians were forced to obtain Russian passports in order to preserve their property in the occupied Crimea.

The Foreign Ministry says another step towards imposing Russian citizenship is a decree recently signed by Russian President Volodymyr Putin to deprive Ukrainian citizens of the opportunity to own land in the occupied Crimea.

At the same time, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry noted that according to the law, compulsory automatic acquisition of Russian citizenship by citizens of Ukraine living in the temporarily occupied territory is not recognized by Ukraine and is not a ground for losing Ukrainian citizenship.

Bohdan Marusiak

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