What Happened: Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree to expand a simplified system for obtaining Russian citizenship to all residents of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Eastern Ukraine, RFE/RL reported July 17. In response, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy called for an easier system to grant Ukrainian citizenship to individuals facing human rights violations in their home states.
Why It Matters: Russia's decision to expand citizenship offerings is part of its broader hybrid strategy to undermine the pro-Western government in Ukraine and facilitate connections between the country's eastern regions and Russia.
Background: Putin signed a decree on April 24 to make it easier for residents of certain areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions to obtain Russian passports and citizenship.
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