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Babies Born in Occupied Kherson to Automatically Receive Russian Citizenship

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Children eat ice-cream at a park in Kherson, Kherson region, south Ukraine.AP Photo / TASS

“Children born after [Feb.] 24 automatically receive Russian citizenship,” Kirill Stremousov, an official in Kherson’s pro-Moscow military-civilian administration, told Rusia’s state-run TASS news agency.

Orphaned children in the region, which fell under Russian control in early March, have already received Russian passports, Stremousov added.

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree “simplifying” the citizenship process for Ukrainians in occupied Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, as well as the breakaway Donetsk and Luhansk regions, on May 25.

A top Kremlin official also promised Russian passports for Kherson residents on a recent visit earlier this month, the first of which were handed out over the weekend.

The fast-tracked citizenship drive has sparked widespread speculation that Russia hopes to annex the areas of Ukraine it has seized during its almost four-month invasion.

On Tuesday, United Nations warned Moscow against the forced adoption of Ukrainian children who had been taken to Russia since the February invasion.