Russian State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin believes that the United States is behind Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s decision to introduce a fast-track system for allegedly "politically persecuted" Russian nationals to get Ukrainian citizenship.
"It is clear that the US Department of State is behind these decisions," Volodin said. "Those who have violated the laws of the Russian Federation, who have pilfered and seek to dodge punishment and get a political hideaway by way of an asylum, will be sent to Ukraine instead of the US or the UK," the Duma speaker is quoted as saying by TASS.
"They will be facing an unfortunate fate there — to sow the seeds of strife and create tensions between our countries after reneging on the mother-tongue and belief," Volodin warned.
According to the speaker, Zelensky’s offer actually testifies to a decision by Washington and London to limit or stop granting political asylum to Russian nationals. "The US and the UK no longer need Russians seeking political asylum. It is costly to support them, after a certain period of time they stop doing the bidding, get disillusioned with their bosses and start making incriminating statements, or in short — bringing nothing but problems," he said.
At the same time, it is "sheer populism" to invite citizens from other countries to a state where every sector is hit by a crisis, he noted. "These days, millions of Ukrainian nationals are migrating to Russia and European countries. People are leaving Ukraine en masse in search of work," he went on to say.
"Up to three million Ukrainians are working only in Russia, and almost every eighth Ukrainian national is working outside the country. There are no jobs in Ukraine, and living standards are low," Volodin added.
Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s proposal is a populist ploy, since Russia has no political prisoners, Chairman of the State Duma’s Foreign Affairs Committee Leonid Slutsky echoed him on Tuesday.
Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has ordered the government to draw up a bill on streamlining the procedures to obtain Ukrainian citizenship for Russians who are "persecuted based on political grounds." The decree was published on the Ukrainian president’s website on Tuesday.