Ukrainian officials were silent as Russian President Vladimir Putin expanded a fast-track citizenship path on Monday to residents in Ukraine, according to the Associated Press.
The move to expand citizenship roles comes after a pivot in Russian strategy to settle for a war of attrition, according to the Wall Street Journal. Previously, the fast-track path was only available for residents in Russian-controlled territories of the eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions and southern Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions, the AP reported.
In 2019, Russian authorities used the measure in Donetsk and Luhansk to further integrate the rebels into the Russian Federation, the AP reported. By 2022 almost 720,000, or 18%, of residents in the regions held Russian passports.
Putin just signed a new decree simplifying the procedure for ALL Ukrainians to obtain Russian citizenship — not just those in the occupied Donetsk and Luhansk “people’s republics” — per state-run propaganda outlet RIA Novosti.
— Christopher Miller (@ChristopherJM) July 11, 2022
Russian officials hoped to provide a symbolic victory over Ukraine to boost the morale of its troops as it began to settle in for the long game, Coffey explained. It also delivers on one of Putin‘s critical war-time goals of uniting Russians and Ukrainians as “one people,” a call-back to an essay he published in June 2021.
Hudson Institute Senior Fellow Luke Coffey told the Daily Caller News Foundation that the citizenship proposal was largely symbolic.
“Russia has had maximalist goals from the very beginning,” Coffey told the DCNF. “So, they would like to see regime change in Ukraine, while absorbing Ukraine into the Russian Federation. But this specific initiative is more symbolic than anything else.”
“If anything, I think it shows that Russia is on the backfoot,” Coffey explained. “They’ve taken some losses in Kyiv and Kharkiv, and there’s a counter-offensive along the eastern front.”
Coffey noted the Ukrainian silence on the Russian citizenship ploy shows they understand it is a purely symbolic act by the Russian government.
“I think they are wise to ignore it,” Coffey said.
The Ukrainian and Russian embassies did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.
Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact email@example.com