Ukrainians In Occupied Territories Are Being Forced To Get Russian Passports
Reports have emerged of children, retirees, and workers being forced by the Russian military and occupying administration to obtain Russian Federation passports, or face prison, beating or loss of public benefits.
It's referred to as: "forced passportization." Reports are accumulating of police and local authorities in the Russian-occupied territories of Ukraine requiring that locals obtain Russian passports. Now new evidence has emerged that Ukrainians are indeed being coerced into changing their citizenship, or risk retribution from occupying authorities.
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Ever since late September, when President Vladimir Putin announced Russia hadd unilaterally annexed four regions in eastern and southern Ukraine (Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson), Moscow has been seeking ways to legitimize the unrecognized annexation. The spreading of Russian passports is seen as an attempt to demonstrate that there is support among the Ukrainian population to be part of Russia.
Ukrainian military sources report Monday that locals in Kherson are threatened with imprisonment, beatings, or denial of social benefits or wages if they don't have a Russian passport at the checkpoints set up by the Russian military.
Children and elderly targeted
Meanwhile, in the occupied part of the Luhansk region, Russians are creating conditions for expediting the issuance of Russian passports to Ukrainian citizens, including minor children.
An application for termination of citizenship for a child under the age of 14 can be submitted.
"According to the recently adopted law, an application for termination of citizenship for a child under the age of 14 can be submitted by one of the parents, the sole parent, or the adoptive parent," the Luhansk Regional Military Administration reports.
For children left without parental care, mainly those permanently in an educational or medical organization providing social services, the application is submitted by a guardian or an authorized representative of such an institution without regard to the child's opinion.
In addition, elderly are forced to obtain Russian passports in order to collect their pension benefits.
"Since March, pensions have been recalculated in the territory," the pro-Russian administration announced. "A person can apply to the relevant authorities only with a Russian passport registered in the region. Passports of Ukraine ... are not accepted. If you do not have time to get a new piece of paper, you cannot wait for the recalculation."
Also, in the occupied city of Melitopol in the Zaporizhzhia region, the occupation forced have banned social services payments to residents who refuse to obtain a Russian passport.
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