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A woman shows a Ukrainian passport on the left and a Russian passport. REUTERS / Maxim Shemetov

After the repression of anti-Putin demonstrations in Moscow, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy signed a decree facilitating the granting of Ukrainian citizenship for persecuted Russians in their country.

With our correspondent in Kiev , Sébastien Gobert

" For the protection of human rights and freedoms ". Volodymyr Zelenskiy keeps his promise to facilitate Ukrainian citizenship for the victims of authoritarianism and political repression.

He had assured in April: " The Russians are among those who suffer the most ". He puts conditions on it, however. Candidates for the Ukrainian blue passport must prove their persecution, and renounce the Russian red passport.

The Ukrainian president is responding to several recent decrees of Vladimir Putin, which facilitate the granting of Russian citizenship for Ukrainians living in the conflict zone in the east of the country.

Mixed reactions

This new episode of the "passport war" arouses mixed reactions in Ukraine, where part of the population fears the arrival of a sort of fifth Russian column. The initiative is a new pique in the context of unreported war between Ukraine and Russia since the annexation of Crimea in 2014.

The presidential decree also complicates discussions around a meeting between Volodymyr Zelenskiy and Vladimir Putin in the Normandy group, which is in charge of peace negotiations. Talks have been stalled for years.