Ukraine passes law against Russian language in official settings

Larry Hoffman
April 26, 2019

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Wednesday accused Moscow of crossing a "red line" by signing a decree to ease the process of obtaining Russian citizenship in eastern Ukraine.

Volodymyr Zelensky is a comedic actor with no government or military experience who will now preside over a country in conflict with Russian Federation.

"People living on the territories of the Donetsk and Lugansk republics are completely deprived from any civil rights, it crosses all boundaries from a human rights perspective to tolerate this situation", Putin said.

Mr Putin "always uses moments of uncertainty and transition periods to plunge another knife into Ukraine's back", she said.

On Wednesday, Putin signed a decree allowing for residents of certain regions of southeastern Ukraine to apply for Russian citizenship through a simplified procedure, Russia's state-run TASS news agency report.

Zelenskiy, who played a schoolteacher-turned-president in a Russian-language comedy series on Ukrainian TV before launching his political career, said on Thursday his team would examine the new law to see if the rights of all citizens were respected.

Ukraine said it had informed the United Nations about Russia's move and also asked the European Union to take "prompt and decisive" action. Until now, they were required to have lived in Russian Federation for five years before applying and undergo citizenship tests. His bid to lead the country of 45 million people was first dismissed as a joke, but his vague promises to reform the country were enough to win over voters fed up with the country's endemic corruption, a moribund economy, and ongoing conflict with Russian-backed separatists.

That would improve Moscow's hold over the region.

Zelenskiy strongly condemned Moscow's decision in a statement: "These actions are yet another evident confirmation for the world community of Russia's true role as an aggressor state, which is waging a war against Ukraine". He is to be inaugurated in early June.

Shortly after Yanukovych stepped down and fled to Russia, Moscow seized control of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula and fomented unrest in the Donbas, where it has backed separatist forces in a war that has killed some 13,000 people and continues despite a cease-fire and peace deal known as the Minsk Accords.

Putin and other Russian officials had repeatedly denounced Poroshenko, who made a stronger army and resistance against Russian interference major parts of his policy and his reelection campaign.

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