The fate of Russian citizens who illegally moved to the territory of Crimea after 2014 remains the most urgent issue that worries many Ukrainians. The security of the peninsula after de-occupation depends on the further fate of these people.

“Currently, the issue of the fate of Russian citizens, who found themselves in the temporarily occupied territories of Crimea and Sevastopol, is primarily a security issue and one of the guarantees of non-repetition of Russian aggression in the future,” Tamila Tasheva, Permanent Representative of the President of Ukraine in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, stated.

According to Ukrainian legislation, all foreigners, who entered the peninsula after 2014, not through Ukrainian checkpoints or through them, but violated the terms of stay, live in the territory of Crimea illegally.

“The decision is simple and does not run counter to international law: people that came illegally to the territory of the peninsula must leave the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol through voluntary departure or forced expulsion,” Tasheva wrote.

According to her, the effective legislation of Ukraine provides for the possibility of forced return for foreigners and stateless persons, and a mechanism for expelling Russian citizens from Crimea will be developed based on the relevant law.

The Permanent Representative of the President of Ukraine emphasised that the option of expelling all Russian citizens after the de-occupation of Crimea was currently being considered.

“After leaving Ukraine, their further fate and the possibility of returning to the territory of Ukraine will be decided in accordance with Ukrainian legislation,” Tasheva noted.

She added that each case would be considered individually as it would be necessary to take into account many factors.

Currently, Ukrainian authorities are studying the international experience of expelling foreigners, but will develop their reintegration steps “which will take into account the peculiarities of the situation in the occupied peninsula, the interests of Ukrainian citizens and present-day Ukrainian realities.”

Bohdan Marusyak

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