US slams Russia’s move on recognizing Ukraine rebel documents

Source:Agencies-Global Times Published: 2017/2/19 23:03:39

A participant at a rally in solidarity with the Donbass people shows a passport of the Donetsk People's Republic on Saturday. Photo: CFP

The US says it is disturbed by Russia's decision to recognize passports and other documents issued by rebel authorities in eastern Ukraine, AP reported on Sunday.

The recognition, in an order signed by President Vladimir Putin that was announced Saturday, "is alarming and contradicts the agreed-upon goals of the Minsk Agreement," the US Embassy in Ukraine said Sunday on Twitter, referring to a 2-year-old agreement on ending the fighting in eastern Ukraine.

President Vladimir Putin ordered Russian authorities on Saturday to temporarily recognize civil registration documents issued in separatist-held areas of eastern Ukraine, a decision strongly criticized by Ukraine's president.

The decision will enable people from the conflict-hit region to travel, work or study in Russia.

According to Putin's order, published on the Kremlin website, Russia will temporarily recognize identity documents, diplomas, birth and marriage certificates and vehicle registration plates issued in the eastern Ukraine regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.

Authorities in pro-Russian rebel held areas last March began distributing passports very similar to Russian ones bearing a two-headed eagle on a red backdrop.

Earlier this month, Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov insisted that Moscow would recognise papers issued by the separatist authorities "only for humanitarian reasons," and even then, only in exceptional cases.

Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko sharply criticized Putin's decision, saying Russia had violated the Minsk peace process.

"For me, this is another proof of Russian occupation as well as Russian violation of international law," Petro said.

"This step completely negates the Minsk process," said Oleksander Turchynov, secretary of Ukraine's National Security and Defence Council, which is headed by Poroshenko.

Later Saturday, the Ukrainian leader met with US Vice President Mike Pence and "informed him on that decision of Russian President Putin," according to Poroshenko's office.

"We have once again received a powerful signal that the USA stands with Ukraine, that Ukraine is among the top priorities for the new US administration," Poroshenko said after the meeting. "The issue of Crimea and decisive struggle for the liberation of Crimea also remain among priorities."


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