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Ukraine war: Ukrainians forced to become Russian citizens, report says

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France, UK vows continuous support for Ukraine against Russian invasion, Zelensky

Russia has launched a wide-ranging campaign to force Ukrainians in occupied territories to become Russians, an investigation reveals.

Evidence reveals that Ukrainians are being denied healthcare and freedom of movement unless they obtain Russian citizenship.

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU), an alliance of public service broadcasters that includes the BBC, conducted interviews with refugees for the inquiry.

They talked of constant pro-Russian propaganda in the seized territories.

Larysa, a refugee from the occupied regions, told the EBU’s Investigative Journalism Network that one of her acquaintances was denied insulin for her diabetes, a critical component of therapy, until she applied for a Russian passport.

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Another acquaintance had to become a Russian citizen in order to have her fractured arm healed, according to Larysa.

Another acquaintance had to become a Russian citizen in order to have her fractured arm healed, according to Larysa.

She also mentioned various forms of coercion that force Ukrainians to adapt like Russians.

“Pensions are not provided without Russian passports, food is not provided without Russian passports, and medical services are out of the question.

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“There are lots of checkpoints on the roads. And every time they stop you, they check your documents and then say they will not let you through without a Russian passport next time.

“So people have to obtain these papers. Because if someone, say, has cows in one village and sells milk in another, it is impossible to move between villages.”

Other Ukrainian refugees, such as Lyudmyla (not her real name), from the occupied area of the Zaporizhzhia region, verify Larysa’s description of pressure to obtain Russian passports.

“When you go to a hospital, you need to have a Russian passport. If you do not have a Russian passport, they won’t treat you.

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“If you drive your own car and the patrol stops you and you do not have a Russian passport, they can simply take your car away.

“So people are forced to obtain them. Retired people are forced to obtain Russian passports to receive pensions. It is a matter of survival.”

In the past, Russia issued passports to citizens of the breakaway Georgian territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and later used them to justify its 2008 invasion of Georgia.

However, Lyudmyla and her Ukrainian companion Oksana (not her real name) claim that the major reason they fled their houses was because their children were being forced to study the Russian school curriculum.

“We were provoked into leaving by the opening of a Russian school, and we were being forced to go there. They told us that if we did not let our children go there, they would take our children away and deprive us of our parental rights.

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“When you send your children to school, you must have a Russian passport. If you do not have a Russian passport, your child will have problems, and you will have problems.

“What kind of problems? You will be stripped of your parental rights. They will take our children away, and that’s it—you will be left without children,” Lyudmyla says.

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