Residents of the occupied territories of Ukraine, who are forced to obtain Russian passports, should not be prosecuted by the law.
As reported by Ukrinform, this is the position in an interview with the Radio Liberty project Crimea. Realii voiced the permanent representative of the President of Ukraine in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea Tamila Tasheva.
“Our position is based on the existing legislation. There is a basic law by which these documents are called documents that do not cause legal consequences, in fact invalid. And there is the Deoccupation and Reintegration Strategy, where forced passporting is called a crime against international humanitarian law. As a state, we appealed to international courts, where we call people who became victims of such passporting victims, not violators,” said Tasheva.
According to her, the representative office was invited to participate in the discussion of relevant changes to Ukrainian legislation. The relevant project of the law is under development. In particular, it provides responsibility for the organization of issuing Russian passports in the territories captured by Russia.
“In the version in which we saw the document, it was said that persons who facilitate the illegal passporting of our citizens in the occupied territory will be subject to criminal liability. For example, managers of passport offices, people who organize the process that issues this passport. The second case is if a person takes this passport in order to work in the occupation administration. Or people who were authorized by the Ukrainian state to represent its interests, but they took an oath and went to work (in the interests of the occupying state – ed.). Ordinary citizens who live in the occupied territory and are hostages of circumstances should not be held accountable,” Tasheva said.
As reported by Ukrinform, Iryna Vereshchuk, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories, expressed the opinion that obtaining a passport of an aggressor state by a citizen of Ukraine – regardless of the motives – should be considered a crime.
At the same time, as public and human rights organizations emphasize, Ukrainians who received Russian passports during their stay in the occupied territories are not criminals, but victims of the crime of the Russian Federation.