Putin’s passport ploy in Ukraine may pave way for Russia’s next annexation

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addresses journalists during a May 20 press conference to mark the second anniversary of his presidency. (REUTERS/Gleb Garanich)

As Vladimir Putin’s hybrid war against Ukraine grinds into its eighth year, Russian passports are emerging as Moscow’s most effective weapon. On May 20, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy raised the alarm over the mass distribution of Russian passports in occupied eastern Ukraine and accused Moscow of paving the way for a possible annexation attempt.

Speaking during a landmark press conference at the Antonov plant in Kyiv to mark his first two years as president, Zelenskyy noted the alarming similarities between the current situation in eastern Ukraine’s Kremlin-controlled separatist republics and Moscow’s actions in Crimea prior to the 2014 Russian takeover of the…

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