Ukraine's president-elect calls for more global sanctions against Russian Federation

Viktor Medvedchuk

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday signed a decree to expedite applications for Russian citizenship by Ukrainians living in separatist-held areas, a move that could shatter hopes for peace in the region following the election of a new Ukrainian president.

Ukraine said it had informed the United Nations about Russia's move and also asked the European Union to take "prompt and decisive" action.

This was Ukraine's first presidential election without a clear pro-Kremlin candidate, reflecting a shift for a country that has been increasingly drawn toward the West since the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014.

President Vladimir Putin signed the decree aimed at residents of the unrecognised Donetsk and Lugansk republics that broke away from Kiev in 2014 and are governed by Moscow-backed rebels.

Comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy appeared set to win the Ukrainian election by a substantial margin, exit polls showed on Sunday. He's issued a statement condemning the Russian move and calling for increased pressure through diplomacy and sanctions.

Outgoing President Petro Poroshenko on Twitter called the vote a "historic event", comparing it to the regeneration of the Army and the creation of a unified Ukrainian Orthodox church.

Читайте также: Pro-EU party launches election campaign as MPs return from break

Speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject, a Western diplomat involved in negotiations related to the conflict in eastern Ukraine told RFE/RL that Putin's decree is "a highly provocative step that undermines efforts to deescalate the situation" in the Donbas.

"We want and we are ready to fully restore relations with Ukraine".

Poroshenko took a hard line on Russian Federation over his term, which was marked by the fight against Moscow-backed rebels in eastern separatist regions.

Putin and other Russian officials had repeatedly denounced Poroshenko, who made a stronger army and resistance against Russian interference major parts of his policy and his reelection campaign. The move was accomplished on the very day Ukraine confirmed comedian Volodymyr Zelensky as the victor in Ukraine's recent presidential election, overturning the rule of Putin's nemesis, oligarch Petro Poroshenko.

"There is victory, but no authority", Zelenskiy said in a video posted on social media.

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