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National Resistance Center: Russia increases repression in occupied parts of Ukraine's south for refusing to obtain Russian citizenship
Moscow-installed proxies in the occupied territories of southern Ukraine have increasingly forced civilians to obtain Russin passports, resorting to violence against those who refuse to do it, the Ukrainian military's National Resistance Center reported on April 7.
After Russian dictator Vladimir Putin said he was not satisfied with the pace of passportization in Ukraine's occupied territories in late March, the proxies launched "mobile groups" aimed at "persuading" locals to take Russian passports, according to the report.
"It is not uncommon that during such 'persuasion,' the occupiers resort to pressure: from threats to the use of physical force," the center said.
It added that Russia plans to hold the so-called local elections in the occupied territories of Ukraine this September but faces problems with recruiting collaborators to manage the elections.
As a reason for the obstacle, the center called "the slow pace of passportization on seized lands."
In Ukraine's south, Russia currently occupies the territories on the east bank of the Dnipro River in Kherson Oblast and the larger part of Zaporizhzhia Oblast.
Russia declared the "annexation" of these Ukrainian regions along with 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.
Moscow has also used a simplified procedure to hand out Russian passports in parts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts occupied since 2014. Russia has distributed around a million Russian passports on Ukrainian territory since 2019.
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.