Moscow-installed proxies in the Russian-occupied town of Snizhne, Donetsk Oblast, fired employees of a local hospital for not obtaining Russian citizenship, the General Staff of Ukraine's Armed Forces reported on April 11.
Snizhne, located just 18 km from the Russian-Ukrainian border and adjacent to the administrative border between Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, has been occupied by Russian troops since 2014.
Moscow has used a simplified procedure to hand out Russian passports in parts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts occupied since its first invasion of Ukraine's Donbas region. Russia has distributed around a million Russian passports on Ukrainian territory since 2019.
The General Staff also reported other cases of Russia's pressure on residents of Ukraine's occupied territories, saying that Russian occupation authorities in Zaporizhzhia Oblast's city of Enerhodar forced locals to obtain permission to move around the region.
"Those who applied for permits are subject to increased checks by the occupiers for involvement in the defense forces of Ukraine. In some cases, the invaders even search people's homes," reads the report.
On April 7, the Ukrainian military's National Resistance Center wrote that Moscow-installed proxies in the occupied territories of southern Ukraine had increasingly forced civilians to obtain Russin passports, resorting to violence against those who refused to do it.
In Ukraine's south, Russia currently occupies the territories on the east bank of the Dnipro River in Kherson Oblast, the larger part of Zaporizhzhia Oblast, and the Crimean peninsula (since 2014).
Russia declared the "annexation" of Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk, and Luhansk oblasts in September 2022, after Russia's proxies held sham referendums in the occupied parts of these regions and claimed that 87% to 99% of the participants "voted" to join Russia, depending on the region.
On July 13, European Union foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell said the EU wouldn't recognize Russian passports issued to Ukrainian citizens in occupied territories.