Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky expressed concern that the passports issued in Russia to residents of eastern Ukraine are a “first step” towards the annexation of Russia. Swedish Foreign Minister Anne Linde discussed the situation in the Donbas region in her conversation with her Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov.
Ukrainian soldiers near Luhansk, Ukraine. Photo gallery.
The state-run Russian News Agency reported that Russia issued 527,000 passports that were distributed to residents of the region whose Russian-backed separatists want to separate the region from the central government in Kiev.
President Zelensky compares the issuance of passports to Russian procedures in Ukraine’s Crimea. A large part of the outside world condemned Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.
It is definitely a first step. The same thing happened in Crimea. Zelensky told a news conference on Thursday that Crimean residents had received Russian passports.
The separatists, backed by Russia, are seen to have de facto control over parts of the Donbas. The Russian army recently massed more than 100,000 soldiers on the border with Ukraine. Strong pressure and warnings led Russia to withdraw large parts of its forces.
In a bilateral meeting, Foreign Minister Lindi (S) raised the Ukraine issue with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Lindy, as the chair of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), pressed Lavrov on the issue.
“We continue to say that Russia’s illegal annexation and aggression on eastern Ukraine is the biggest challenge to the European security system,” said Lindy in a telephone conversation with TT by phone after meeting Lavrov in Reykjavik, Iceland.
Above all, the big mission of the more than 700 people that the OSCE is working with in Ukraine is that they get the chance to work. There are a number of issues: such as navigating freely, shifts that have to be open, and drones not being disturbed by GPS signals that have occurred several times in recent times.
But the Russian foreign minister, an experienced and tough diplomat, made clear the Russian position.
As for each sub-question about Ukraine, Russia has a different view and categorically confirms its point of view. Voicing the European Union, Lindy says you don’t see yourself as a party to the dispute, but as a mediator:
Russia is a party to the conflict.
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