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President Vladimir Putin (File)Lavrov Explains What's Behind Putin's Decision on Donbass Residents' Passports

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    President Vladimir Putin (File)

    Lavrov Explains What's Behind Putin's Decision on Donbass Residents' Passports

    © Sputnik/ Alexei Druzhinin
    RUSSIA
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    Russia decided to validate Donbass residents' documents for humanitarian reasons and the presidential decree will remain in force until the Minsk peace deal is implemented, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Saturday.

    MUNICH (Sputnik) — Kremlin’s press office has released a statement saying Putin had signed a decree that validated IDs, birth certificates and vehicle registration plates, among other documents issued by eastern Ukrainian authorities to permanent residents, on Russian territory.
    Lavrov said this issue had not been brought up during foreign ministers’ talks in the so-called Normandy Four format in Munich.
    "The decree stated clearly this was made out of humanitarian concerns…until Minsk agreements have been fulfilled. The presidential decree validated IDs of Donbass residents so that they could enter Russia legally and use Russian rail transport and air carriers," he explained.
    After the eruption of the crisis in Ukraine in 2014, over a million of Donbass residents applied for a refugee status and temporary shelter in Russia. According to Russia's Federal Migration Service, more than 1 million people fled to Russia following the outbreak of the civil war in Ukraine, of whom approximately 600,000 decided to settle there permanently.
    Kiev launched a special military operation in Ukraine’s southeast in April 2014, after local residents refused to recognize the new Ukrainian authorities, which came to power as a result of a coup.
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