Moscow, June 2: Russian President Vladimir Putin's controversial move to offer fast-tracked Russian passports to the residents of separatist-controlled eastern Ukraine has sparked outcry in Kiev and other European capitals.
Russia's president was accused of attacking Ukraine's sovereignty and putting in peril a ceasefire in the region. But little attention was paid to how much Putin's offer could cost, said an Euronews report.
There were 681,000 pensioners in the so-called Donetsk People's Republic, as of November 2017, and 438,000 in Luhansk People's Republic, according to April 2018 figures.
If all 1.1 million of them moved or came under the control of Russia and claim a minimum pension of 8,000 roubles (€110) that would represent a major outlay for Moscow: it would cost in the region of 110 billion roubles (€1.5m).
"Russian passports will ease the life of people in Donbass," said Russian demography expert Olga Chudinovskikh. "It will be easier for them to get a job in Russia, they will be able to receive social benefits and pensions.
The controversial Russian decree came just three days after Volodymyr Zelenskiy, a 41-year-old comedian, won a landslide victory in presidential elections in Ukraine.
Ukraine is said to be working on a new law that might lead to people losing their Ukrainian citizenship if they apply for a Russian passport. (UNI)