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    Putin's Decree Declares Donetsk, Lugansk Residents' Docs Valid in Russia

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    President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on Saturday that declared documents issued to permanent residents of several areas in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk and Lugansk regions valid in Russia, the Kremlin press office said.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The decree concerns academic certificates, birth certificates, marriage or divorce certificates, documents evidencing name changes, death certificates, transport registration certificates, and vehicle license plates.

    "IDs, academic certificates, birth certificates, marriage or divorce certificates, documents evidencing name changes, death certificates, transport registration certificates, and vehicle license plates, issued by corresponding local authorities to permanent residents of these regions who are citizens of Ukraine or are stateless, are hereby declared valid," the statement read.

    The leader of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) praised the decision later in the day.

    "Russian President Vladimir Putin has made a fateful decision… This is another sign that the republic has achieved statehood. Today we made a step closer toward international recognition of our sovereignty," Igor Plotnitsky said in a statement circulated by the Lugansk information center.

    Meanwhile, the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic's (DPR) leader told Sputnik that Putin’s decision to make documents issued to permanent residents in parts of eastern Ukraine valid in Russia means the struggle has not been in vain.

    "The decree … proves that Russia has always upheld and will continue to uphold the right… to defend our lives, culture, language, our dignity. If motherland is so adamant about standing by our side and supporting our fight then our fight is fair, our sacrifices are not in vain and our hopes are justified," Alexander Zakharchenko said.

    After the eruption of the crisis in Ukraine in 2014, over a million of Donbass residents applied for a refugee status and temporary shelter in Russia. According to Russia's Federal Migration Service, more than 1 million people fled to Russia following the outbreak of the civil war in Ukraine, of whom approximately 600,000 decided to settle there permanently.

    Kiev launched a special military operation in Ukraine’s southeast in April 2014, after local residents refused to recognize the new Ukrainian authorities, which came to power as a result of a coup.

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    Vladimir Putin, Donetsk, Ukraine, Russia, Lugansk
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