Donetsk, Mar 16 – DAN. Donetsk People’s Republic has issued passports to 54,000 residents since March 2016, DPR Migration Service chief Vladimir Krasnoshchioka told Donetsk News Agency on Thursday.

The Migration Service has issued 54,000 passports in a year; the number of applications increases every day,” Krasnoshchioka said explaining the increase by Russia’s decision to temporarily recognize DPR passports.

DPR has issued 15,000 passports since the beginning of this year.

On 19 February, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the decree on temporary recognition of DPR- and LPR-issued documents and license plates. The Kremlin said the decree was signed “guided by universally recognised principles and standards of humanitarian law and in order to protect the rights and freedoms of individuals.”

Such documents will be recognised “temporarily, during the political settlement period of the crisis in certain districts of Ukraine’s Donetsk and Lugansk regions pursuant to the Minsk Agreements”.

DPR began to issue passports on 16 March 2016. The first 20 citizens received DPR passports personally from DPR Head Aleksandr Zakharchenko. The authorities said that the residents who had turned 16, 25 and 45 years of age would be given priority in getting their passports, as well as those who lost their Ukrainian passports. On June 21, Zakharchenko announced the beginning of a nation-wide campaign for issuing passports in the Republic. *jk