Authorities in the Russian-occupied city of Kherson in southern Ukraine have handed out Russian passports to local residents for the first time, according to an international news channel.
As per Russian news agency TASS, 23 Kherson residents received a Russian passport as a result of a "simplified procedure" facilitated by a decree signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin in May, reported TRT World.
Earlier on Wednesday, the head of the Kherson region's military-civilian administration Vladimir Saldo said that residents of any Ukrainian region will now be able to apply for a Russian passport in the Kherson region.
"There are a lot of people who came from other regions and are now on the territory of the Kherson region. The passport service had some doubts about whether to accept (their applications).
Prior to that, a decision was taken at a meeting to accept the paperwork from all those wishing to obtain Russian citizenship regardless of whether a person is registered in the Kherson region or not," Vladimir Saldo said as quoted by TASS.
The official specified that until Tuesday, the residents of other Ukrainian regions were denied applying for a Russian passport yet by now these restrictions have been lifted. The Kherson region is in southern Ukraine, bordering the Republic of Crimea.
In mid-March, Russia's Defense Ministry reported that the region was fully controlled by Russian troops. A military-civilian administration was formed in the region in late April, as per the agencies.