Putin: nothing wrong with us giving
passports to east Ukraine residents
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[April 25, 2019]
VLADIVOSTOK, Russia (Reuters) -
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday a decision to give
residents of Ukrainian rebel regions fast-track access to Russian
passports was no different from what some European Union states were
Speaking to reporters at the end of a summit with North Korean leader
Kim Jong Un, Putin said that Poland, Romania and Hungary grant
citizenship to their own ethnic kin living outside their borders.
"It caused a negative reaction. That's strange," Putin said.
"How are Russians in Ukraine worse than Romanians, Poles or Hungarians?
I don't see anything unusual here."
The Russian decision, announced on Wednesday, prompted Kiev to call for
more Western sanctions against Moscow.
Rebellions broke out against Ukrainian government rule in the Donetsk
and Luhansk regions in 2014. Moscow provided military help for the
separatists, according to evidence gathered by Reuters, although Russian
officials have denied providing material support.
Five years of war in Ukraine's east have killed 13,000 people despite a
notional ceasefire signed in 2015.
Ukrainian President-elect Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who won a presidential
election in a landslide on Sunday, said the Russian move showed Moscow
was waging war in Ukraine and brought the two sides no closer to peace.
[to top of second column]
Russia's President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with North
Korea's leader Kim Jong Un in Vladivostok, Russia April 25, 2019.
Sputnik/Alexei Nikolsky/Kremlin via REUTERS
Putin said on Thursday that Moscow was willing to work with
Zelenskiy if he implemented an international peace accord on east
(Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin and Maria Vasilyeva; Writing by
Christian Lowe and Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Gareth
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