09:33 09:20 09:19 09:19
From RFE/RL's News Desk:
The U.S. State Department has slammed an order by Russian President Vladimir Putin to simplify the procedure for people living in parts of eastern Ukraine held by Russia-backed separatists to obtain Russian citizenship.
'Russia, through this highly provocative action, is intensifying its assault on Ukraines sovereignty and territorial integrity,' the State Department said in a statement on April 24.
Putin's decree was published on the Kremlin website on April 24, drawing a swift and angry response from Kyiv and criticism from the West.
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That concludes our live-blogging of the Ukraine crisis for April 24, 2019. Check back here tomorrow for more of our continuing coverage. Thanks for reading and take care.
More reaction to Putin's decree from RFE/RL's News Desk:
Ukraine's mission to the United Nations posted on Facebook that Kyiv had 'asked that the UN Security Council call a session to discuss Russia's brazen decision to issue Russian passports in the temporarily occupied Ukrainian territory.'
Ukraine's President-elect Volodymyr Zelenskiy issued a statement condemning Russia as an 'occupying state' and an 'aggressor country that is waging war against Ukraine.' He called for 'increased diplomatic and sanctions pressure on the Russian Federation.'
President Petro Poroshenko said that with this decree 'Russia is torpedoing the peace process in the Donbas.' He said Putin's decree 'is actually about the Kremlin's preparations for the next step of aggression against our state the annexation of the Ukrainian Donbas or the creation of a Russian enclave in Ukraine.'
He said Ukraine had initiated a discussion of the matter in the United Nations, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and the European Union.
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