15 Aug 2019 14:14

Over 60,000 residents of unrecognized Donbas republics apply for Russian citizenship - Interior Ministry

MOSCOW. Aug 15 (Interfax) - Over 60,000 residents of the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Luhansk have applied for Russian citizenship, according to Valentina Kazakova, head of the Russian Interior Ministry's Main Migration Directorate.

"Over 60,000 applications have been filed by residents of the DPR and the LPR, and over 25,000 people have been naturalized," Kazakova said.

The Interior Ministry's Main Migration Directorate has had to expand its staff following a surge in applications for naturalization, she said.

"The Interior Ministry is working to increase its staff in Russian constituent territories," Kazakova said, explaining that the number of naturalization requests has been growing each year.

"Applications are annually received from over 1,000 persons. In our opinion, about three million people may be naturalized on the basis of the president's executive order," Kazakova said.

The order, which President Vladimir Putin signed on April 24 for humanitarian reasons "to protect human and civil rights" consistent with Federal Law 62-FZ 'On Citizenship of the Russian Federation', allows residents of certain regions of Ukraine's Donetsk and Luhansk regions to fast-track their applications for Russian citizenship.

Naturalization requests are processed within three months. They can be filed in the Rostov region and "via designated agencies in the LPR and the DPR." The Russian Interior Ministry processes the applications and issues the passports in the Rostov region, the ministry press service said in a statement.