Russia announced on Thursday that it distributed Russian passports to more than 80,000 residents of four areas of Ukraine that Moscow says it annexed to its territory, an annexation not recognized by the international community, according to Agerpres.

Russian propaganda in the Ukrainian city of Kherson PHOTO Profimedia

“Since the four regions were annexed to the Russian Federation and in accordance with the law, more than 80,000 people have received passports as citizens of the Russian Federation,” the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs announced, quoted by local news agencies.

In September, Russia organized “referendums” denounced as “simulacra” by Western countries and intended to make Russian territories the areas it controls in Ukraine in the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk (east), as well as in Zaporozhye and Kherson (south).

These annexations, validated by law by Moscow at the beginning of October, were strongly condemned by the international community and are not recognized worldwide. After the announcement of these annexations, the Russian forces ceded ground to the Ukrainian army, withdrawing including from the regional capital Kherson.

Even before the start of the offensive against Ukraine, in February, Moscow had already distributed hundreds of thousands of passports in the separatist areas in the east of this neighboring country.

After launching the assault against Ukraine, the Kremlin made it even easier for Ukrainians to obtain Russian citizenship.

According to some observers, Russia tries with this strategy to strengthen its claims on the areas of Ukraine that it claims, stating that they are populated by recently naturalized Russian citizens.

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