Russia and Ukraine: Moscow has begun issuing Russian passports to residents of the Ukrainian cities of Kherson and Melitopol

published photo, AFP

Russian authorities controlling southern Ukraine said they have begun distributing Russian passports to locals in Kherson and Melitopol.

Ukraine condemns the “introduction” of Russian citizens into its territory, describing it as “Russification”. President Vladimir Putin is speeding up this procedure.

Russian news agency TASS said the first 23 residents of Kherson were given Russian passports at a ceremony on Saturday.

TASS says thousands have applied for passports, but this cannot be verified.

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