Today, 5 August, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs made the decision to not recognise the passports issued by the Russian Federation to the residents of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts after 24 April 2019, if the user of the passport was previously not a Russian citizen. The decision enters into force immediately.
According to Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu, the step is a response to the regulation signed by the Russian President in April that allows the expedited granting of Russian citizenship to the residents of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts. "Granting expedited Russian citizenship to the residents of eastern Ukraine is another attempt to undermine the independence of Ukraine and perpetuate the current unstable security situation in eastern Ukraine. It goes completely against the spirit of the Minsk agreements," Reinsalu explained. "Today's decision by Estonia reflects our fundamental condemnation of Russia’s ambitions of this nature," he added.
The Estonian Foreign Minister raised the subject of issuing expedited passports at the Foreign Affairs Council of the European Union in May. On 20 June, the European Council expressed grave concern on the issue and its readiness to consider the non-recognition of these Russian passports. “I believe that other member states of the European Union and the international community in general will soon make similar decisions. It is our duty to continue to actively support the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine,” he said.
Estonia has previously decided not to recognise the passports of the Russian Federation issued in Crimea and Sevastopol to local residents after 18 March 2014 if the user of the passport was previously not a Russian citizen.
Estonia, along with many other member states, stressed to the European Commission that there was a need to develop European Union guidelines on this issue, and today’s decision is based on July’s guidance. The decision of non-recognition is within the competence of each European Union member state. Estonia processes the visa applications of Russian citizens according to European Union Visa Code and the EU-Russian Visa Facilitation Agreement.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Estonia
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