Ukraine’s human rights commissioner on Sunday advised Ukrainians living under Russian occupation to accept Russian passports for their safety.
“I would advise you to accept a Russian passport and make the decision for yourself to survive. This is the most important thing,” Dmytro Lubinets said in an interview with Ukrainian media. “We understand that this happens under pressure, under physical pressure. So, take your passport, survive, and wait for us to liberate this territory.”
Lubinets said citizens who obtain a Russian passport “will be able to officially abandon this passport and return to normal life” once Ukraine takes back its territories.
According to Lubinets, a decree signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin that allows the deportation of residents of the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine who have not obtained Russian citizenship, "is not aimed at deporting Ukrainians," but at “legalizing forced passportization that takes place on the territories under Russian occupation.”
“In reality, I believe that all Ukrainian citizens who refuse a Russian passport will simply be arrested," Lubinets said. "And this will form a separate category of civilian hostages that the Russian Federation will hold captive, either imprisoned on its territory or on the temporarily occupied territory of Ukraine."