Russian President Vladimir Putin approved on Monday legal amendments to make it simpler for Russian speakers in the former Soviet Union to acquire Russian citizenship
Russian President Vladimir Putin approved on Monday legal amendments to make it simpler for Russian speakers in the former Soviet Union to acquire Russian citizenship, the Kremlin said on Monday.
The changes follow Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea peninsula and tension in the largely Russian-speaking east of Ukraine.
President Vladimir Putin overturned decades of post-Cold War diplomacy by announcing last month that Russia has the right to intervene on the territory of its neighbors to protect Russian speakers.
Eastern Ukraine is largely Russian speaking and many residents are deeply suspicious of the pro-European government that took power in Kiev in February when Moscow-backed President Viktor Yanukovich fled the country after mass protests.
Separatists have declared an independent "People's Republic of Donetsk" in the east's biggest province and have named themselves to official posts in towns and cities, setting up checkpoints and flying Russian flags over government buildings.
The United States and European Union have imposed visa bans and asset freezes on a small number of Russians over the annexation of Crimea, measures that Moscow has openly mocked.
The OSCE, a European security body that includes both NATO members and Russia, has deployed around 100 monitors and mediators in Ukraine in 10 different cities including the capital Kiev and eastern and southern towns.