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Zelensky submits bill on multiple citizenship to parliament

23 January, 2024 Tuesday
12:38

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy has submitted a draft law to the Verkhovna Rada that provides for the introduction of multiple citizenship

The draft law stipulates that residents of such countries as Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Great Britain, Greece, Denmark, Estonia, Ireland, Spain, Italy, Canada, Cyprus, Norway, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, USA , Hungary, Finland, France, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Sweden, Switzerland and Japan can obtain Ukrainian citizenship under a simplified procedure.

It is also proposed to introduce a declaration of recognition as a citizen of Ukraine, a document in which a foreigner confirms that when acquiring Ukrainian citizenship in legal relations with Ukraine, he or she recognizes himself or herself as a citizen of Ukraine only.

It defines a category of people who cannot obtain Ukrainian citizenship, including those convicted of serious or especially serious crimes until their convictions are expunged or removed, as well as people who pose a threat to Ukraine's national security.

The draft law provides for the right to review the grounds for the loss of Ukrainian citizenship (including voluntary acquisition of the citizenship of the aggressor country, use of a foreign passport by a Ukrainian in Ukraine, contract service in the aggressor country, participation in armed aggression against Ukraine, etc.)

Earlier, President Zelenskyy announced the introduction of the relevant bill to the Rada, explaining that these comprehensive changes in legislation would allow all ethnic Ukrainians and their descendants from around the world to have citizenship, the presidential press service reported.

According to Zelenskyy, these comprehensive changes in legislation will allow all ethnic Ukrainians and their descendants from around the world to have citizenship. The exception is Russia.

"All those who, during various emigration waves, were forced to leave their homeland and ended up in Europe, the United States, Canada, countries of Asia and Latin America. All those who help us despite being hundreds and thousands of kilometers away from their homeland. Foreign volunteers who took up arms to defend Ukraine, all those who fight for Ukraine's freedom as if it were their homeland. And Ukraine will become such for them," the President explained.

"For everyone who can feel that ‘being in Ukraine’ means ‘being at home.’ Not as tourists, but as citizens. Citizens of a great, united, single Ukraine. 

For the freedom of which we are fighting. Fighting for the right to be Ukrainians. And the corresponding decision is one of the elements of this freedom, one of the possibilities to realize this right. The right to be Ukrainian," he added.

The idea of multiple citizenship has been raised in Ukraine on several occasions. For instance, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba highlighted the need for dual citizenship in Ukraine as early as October 2019. President Zelenskyy also addressed the topic in 2021 and subsequently submitted a bill to the Rada. However, the document faced delays in parliament, with discussions centering on the feasibility of adopting such legislation. The Verkhovna Rada's relevant committee expressed concerns that "the legalization of dual citizenship in Ukraine could potentially provide grounds for the European Union to reconsider the visa-free regime with Ukraine, as the conditions under which such a regime was granted are changing."

In his year-end conference for 2023, Zelenskyy expressed a positive stance on the idea of introducing multiple citizenship.

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