Ukraine considers Russian passports issued to Crimeans as 'documents' from gift shop – Crimean prosecutor
Head of the Prosecutor's Office of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol Ihor Ponochovny said that Russian passports issued to residents of Crimea after the occupation of the peninsula are legally null and void from the point of view of Ukrainian legislation.
In an interview with the Zerkalo Nedeli newspaper (www.zn.ua) released on Monday, answering a question whether Crimeans need to address to the Russian consulate to apply for renunciation of Russian citizenship, he said: "I think not, since these are documents equivalent to a passport from a gift shop."
"The appeal of a citizen of Ukraine from Crimea to the consulate of Russia to withdraw from the citizenship of the Russian Federation is a recognition that he was a citizen of Russia. Citizens of Ukraine during the occupation became hostages of the situation, they are forcibly imposed on this passport, the occupying state has created all the conditions so that without it the Crimeans. Therefore, the fake passport of the Russian Federation issued by the occupation administration should be perceived only as a means to ensure the necessary living conditions in Crimea for the period of occupation," Ponochovny said.
At the same time, he denied information about alleged punishments in Ukraine for obtaining Russian passports by residents of Crimea.
"There is no punishment for having a Russian passport issued to a citizen of Ukraine in Crimea. Since these passports are not recognized either by Ukraine or any democratic country in the world. In essence, this is an imposed pseudo-document, and there can be no responsibility for pseudo-documents," the prosecutor said.
Ponochovny said that people crossing the administrative border with the occupied Crimea are receiving complaints about the actions of customs officers and border guards, who are blackmailing them with a Russian passport.
"We have criminal proceedings initiated at the request of human rights organizations. At the same time, we have not officially received any applications from the victims themselves," he said. "We plan to update our information boards at the entry-exit checkpoint, we will supplement them with information about the lack of responsibility for compulsory certification and conscription into the Russian army," Ponochovny said.