Ukrainian deputy prime minister says it “should be considered a crime” for Ukrainians to obtain Russian passports

Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Irina Vereshchuk has stressed that “it should be considered a crime” for Ukrainian citizens to obtain Russian passports, “regardless of the motives”, amid the military offensive launched by Russia on February 24 and in the face of plans by the authorities in the occupied areas to hand over Russian documents and even hold annexation referendums.

“Any acquisition of the passport of the aggressor state by a Ukrainian citizen, regardless of the motives, should be considered a crime,” said Vereshchuk, who is also minister for the Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories. “We have to transfer this to the citizens who are under temporary occupation,” she added.

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“I understand that it is hard, but the existence of the Ukrainian state depends on it,” she has said in a message on her Telegram account, before acknowledging that handing out Russian passports and holding referendums is “a crime against the state.” However, he has acknowledged that there are lawyers who have advocated “small exceptions”, including “obtaining a passport to travel to Ukrainian-controlled territory”.

In this regard, Vereshchuk has stressed that “it is clear” that the Ukrainian authorities “will regain their territories.” “The Russians are scared of counterattacks, which are inevitable. Therefore, they want to have human shields in the form of our citizens who are still in the temporarily occupied territories,” he argued.

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“The enemies are in a hurry to issue their passports and prepare their referendums. There should be no mistake about this. Passports and referendums are Russian weapons, more dangerous than missiles,” the Ukrainian deputy prime minister reiterated.

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