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Military: Kremlin using coal subsidies to force Russian passports on residents in occupied Kherson Oblast

by Dinara Khalilova and The Kyiv Independent news desk January 12, 2024 9:39 AM 2 min read
Photo for illustrative purposes. Russian soldiers patrol a street in Russian-occupied Melitopol, Zaporizhzhia Oblast, southern Ukraine, on May 1, 2022. (Getty Images)
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Moscow-installed illegal occupation authorities in Kherson Oblast are offering coal subsidies for heating purposes, but only to those residents who became Russian citizens, the Ukrainian military's National Resistance Center reported.

As part of its forced passportization strategy, Russia creates special incentives oriented toward residents in occupied Ukrainian territory to adopt Russian passports. At the same time, those Ukrainians who refuse Russian citizenship are often threatened with deportation or being forcibly mobilized into the Russian military.

Multiple settlements in the occupied part of Kherson Oblast remain without power supply amid freezing temperatures, creating more need for coal, according to the National Resistance Center, which is run by Ukraine’s special forces.

“However, the Russians cynically use even this situation for their plans to change the demographic situation in the region,” the center wrote.

Ukraine's Armed Forces liberated Kherson and other regional settlements on the west bank of the Dnipro River in the fall 2022 counteroffensive.

Russian troops were pushed to the river's east bank, which they have controlled for almost two years now, except for some positions retaken by Ukrainian forces during their cross-river raids conducted since February.

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said in May last year that nearly 1.5 million Ukrainians in the occupied territories have been given Russian passports over the past nine months, according to Russian state news agency RIA Novosti.

Ukraine's Ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets said on national television the same month that Ukrainians who were forced to take Russian citizenship to survive in the occupied territories would not be punished by Ukrainian authorities after the war.

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