MOSCOW, (Rahnuma): Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday that he hoped to reach consensus with Ukraine’s President-elect Volodymir Zelensky on the issue of common citizenship for nationals of the two countries.
“We will come to terms, probably, because we have a lot in common,” he told reporters when asked to comment on Zelensky’s statement addressed to Putin.
Zelensky said in a statement on Facebook on Saturday that Ukraine will be granting its citizenship to “suffering” Russians.
His statement followed the signing by Putin on Wednesday of a decree which will simplify the process of obtaining Russian citizenship by residents of Ukraine’s insurgent Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
Ukrainian officials have qualified Russia’s move as interference in the country’s internal affairs.
On Saturday, Putin told a press conference that Russia was also thinking of granting its citizenship to residents of other parts of Ukraine.
Putin said that he considered Ukrainians and Russians to be one people although “with own cultural, linguistic and historical characteristics.”
According to him, Russians and Ukrainians could benefit from shared citizenship, which would make them “stronger and more successful.”
“If Ukraine issues passports to Russians, and we in Russia issue passports and citizenship to Ukrainians, then sooner or later we will inevitably come to the expected result: both of us will have common citizenship. This is welcome,” Putin said.