April 24, 2019
The United States condemns today’s decision by President Putin to provide expedited Russian citizenship to Ukrainians living in Russia-controlled eastern Ukraine. Russia, through this highly provocative action, is intensifying its assault on Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
President Putin’s decision creates a serious obstacle to the implementation of the Minsk agreements and the reintegration of the Donbas region. The Minsk agreements, signed by Russia, call for the full restoration of Ukrainian government control over eastern Ukraine.
This comes just three days after the Ukrainian people overwhelmingly elected Volodymyr Zelenskyy the next president of Ukraine. President-elect Zelenskyy has repeatedly expressed his readiness to engage seriously with Russia to implement the Minsk agreements, and to end the conflict in eastern Ukraine, which has claimed some 13,000 lives. It is now up to Russia to decide whether it wants to continue to escalate tensions or meet its Minsk commitments.