Lugansk residents expressed their opinions on Thursday on the decree signed by the Russian President Vladimir Putin that simplifies the issuance of Russian passports to the residents of Lugansk and Donetsk People’s Republics (LPR, DPR).

"I think everyone is very happy, probably now there will be a boom for citizenships,” one local resident said.

"Thanks to all Russian people, thanks that they don't leave Russians . And they don't leave anyone," one elderly woman said.

Another local woman said the decree was necessary.

"In principle, we thought it would happen much earlier. If you get a passport, this gives at least some guarantees," she said.

Putin signed a decree simplifying the procedure for obtaining Russian citizenship for Donbass residents on Wednesday, calling it "a purely humanitarian issue," and noting that Moscow has "no desire to create problems for the new Ukrainian authorities".

Outgoing President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko and elected head of state Vladimir Zelenskiy have since condemned the decree. Poroshenko called the document "Russia's unprecedented interference in the domestic affairs of an independent state."

"Unfortunately, this decree does not bring us closer to the solution of the main task - the ceasefire," a statement from Zelenskiy's staff said.

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NBA 19 Jan 2020 00:21 CET