Putin is using Ukrainians to set Russia up for victory in peace talks

Putin signed a decree regarding citizenship for people in the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions, which form a land connection between the eastern part of Ukraine and the Crimean Peninsula. Russian forces seized control of both regions soon after Putin launched his military campaign in late February.

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Putin previously relaxed citizenship requirements in the Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, known collectively as Donbas, in 2019. Similar to the Donbas rules, the new decree will simplify the citizenship procedure and waives the usual requirements for foreigners applying, such as living in Russia for five years, having proof of income and passing a Russian language exam.

“Dispensing Russian citizenship could be a potential part of eventual negotiations; it complicates things on the Ukrainian side,” Michael Kimmage, a history professor at Catholic University and former member of the secretary’s policy planning staff at the State Department, told Newsweek in an email.

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