EU Debates Russian move granting citizenship to Donbass residents, sanctions ruled out

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BRUSSELS – The European Union plans to analyze the process that simplifies the delivery of Russian passports to the inhabitants of eastern Ukraine, an area convulsed by armed clashes between Kiev troops and revolutionary militias.

“It is one of the issues that we will examine in the Council of Foreign Ministers,” Romanian Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu told the press, whose country holds the rotating presidency of the EU until June.

On April 24, Moscow authorities decreed to facilitate the delivery of the Russian passport to the inhabitants of Donbass, an area punished by the military operation carried out by the Ukrainian government since 2014 and which has left some 13,000 dead, according to estimates of the UN.

With this measure Russia joined Hungary and Romania granting their passports to Ukrainians living in border areas, as well as to Poland, which also grants official documents to Ukrainians.

Melescanu believes that the Russian measure can create problems for Ukraine.

“From our point of view, it is not the best decision that could be approved,” he said.

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Moscow vindicated the humanitarian nature of the process and explained that with this document the inhabitants of Donbass will be able to receive medical assistance, education and other services.

The Foreign Minister of the Czech Republic, Tomas Petricek, for his part, ruled out that for the time being, possible sanctions against Russia are being discussed.

“At the given time we are looking for dialogue, rather than this kind of pressure that Russia has shown,” he said.

Petricek remarked that “unilateral actions do not favor the solution of the problem.”

Since April 2014, Ukrainian troops bombed the eastern part of the country, where the people’s republics of Donetsk and Lugansk were proclaimed in response to the violent change of government that occurred in February of the same year.

The Minsk agreements, signed with the mediation of Germany, France and Russia, in September 2014 and February 2015, laid the foundations for a political solution to the conflict, but have not so far resulted in the cessation of hostilities between the forces of Kiev and the militias.

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