Russian President Vladimir Putin has expanded a fast-track procedure to give Russian citizenship to all Ukrainians.
It's another effort to expand Moscow's influence over war-torn Ukraine. More than 720,000 residents of the rebel-held areas have received Russian passports since 2019. Ukraine's Foreign Ministry called the move an attempt to tie a noose around its citizens' necks.
“Russia is using the simplified procedure for issuing passports to tighten the noose around the necks of residents of the temporarily occupied territories of our state, forcing them to participate in the criminal activities of the occupying administrations and the Russian army of aggression,” Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry added in a statement.
On the battlefront, Russian missiles pounded Ukraine's second-largest city of Kharkiv on Monday in what the governor described as "absolute terrorism." The Russian missile strikes hit a school, a residential building and a warehouse, killing six people and injuring dozens. The death toll from a weekend Russian attack on Chasiv Yar rose Monday to 31 people.