Ukraine’s President-Elect Demands Sanctions Against Russia Over Passports

Says Russia's offer to ease traveling makes it an 'aggressor state'

Ukraine’s President-elect Volodymyr Zelensky has demanded that the international community impose new sanctions against Russia to punish them for a new decree offering Russian passports to ethnic Russians in war-torn eastern Ukraine.

Since Ukraine’s revolution installed a pro-West government, measures against ethnic Russians sparked a rebellion in the far east, which ended in a stalemate, and the region remains under de facto rebel control.

People in these areas have no access to certain government services, like getting passports. Russian President Vladimir Putin today vowed to greatly simplify the means of them getting a Russian passport, which he said was a “purely humanitarian issue.”

Zelensky, on the other hand, is presenting it as proof Russia is an “aggressor state” and claims their offer of passports reflects them occupying eastern Ukraine.

This is a troubling first stage for Ukraine-Russia ties after the new election in Ukraine. Zelensky’s position to a fairly minor Russian move meant to increase ease of travel for Ukraine’s Russian minority is being used as an excuse to push global action against them, suggesting the new Ukraine government is going to continue its hostility toward Russia under every pretext.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of