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Kiev denounces Russian move to ease citizenship for east Ukraine residents

FILE PHOTO: Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin speaks during an annual news conference in Kiev, Ukraine January 18, 2019. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

KIEV (Reuters) - Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin on Wednesday denounced a Russian move to simplify procedures for residents in separatist-held eastern Ukraine to obtain Russian passports.

The decision “to issue passports in the occupied Ukrainian territories is the continuation of aggression and interference in our internal affairs,” he tweeted, urging Ukrainians living under occupation not to apply for such passports.

Russian President Vladimir Putin had earlier signed an order easing the procedure for obtaining a Russian passport for residents of the separatist-controlled Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

Reporting by Pavel Polityuk; editing by Matthias Williams