Russian President Vladimir Putin told reporters, on Saturday, that Moscow is close to offering Russian citizenship “in a simplified manner” to all Ukrainians.
In a move to ease tensions, this week Mr. Putin issued a decree to expedite the proceedings for residents of war-torn Donetsk and Luhansk regions in Eastern-Ukraine to secure a Russian passport.
Yet, Ukraine’s government counted Mr. Putin’s step as a mediation in its affairs and a hurdle to the peace process.
Holding the Russian passport would access Ukrainians to Russia’s social payments, pensions and other privileges.
Speaking at a news conference, on the sidelines of China’s Belt and Road Infrastructure-building Initiative, Putin articulated that a possible meeting with Ukrainian President-elect Volodymyr Zelenskiy might take place.
Both leaders, if they sit down to the table, have no other option but to find a way to put an end to “the conflict in the southeast of Ukraine” as everyone “is tired of it.”
Since 2014, the Russian-Ukrainian relations have been at loggerheads over the annexed Crimea and Russia’s support to the separatists.
What’s more is that Ukrainians foresee the step as an under-covered Kremlin schema, paving the way for a Russian enclave within their country’s borders.
Almost 13,000 people lost their lives amidst the war, as per Reuters- albeit the 2015 ceasefire agreement.