Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk is outraged that her recommendation to residents of the temporarily occupied territories not to accept Russian passports (as opposed to the recommendation of Ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets to accept Russian passports in order to survive) has given rise to questions and misunderstandings in the media.
Quote from Vereshchuk: "Two days ago, I wrote a post where, among other things, I recommended Ukrainians in the temporarily occupied territories not to accept Russian passports. For some reason, this caused a violent reaction on social media. For two days now, many journalists have been asking me to explain my position. That's why I decided to write here.
First of all, I always recommended to our people in the temporarily occupied territories not to accept the passports of the occupiers. I've been saying this the whole time since the start of the full-scale war. Therefore, I am sincerely surprised by the media's reaction to my words now.
I also don't really understand why I have to explain my recommendation not to accept enemy (yes, enemy) passports. What is unclear and who is it unclear to?"
Details: Vereshchuk noted that she understands that "life is complicated; there are different cases", but she emphasised that "people will make their own decisions, based on their life circumstances", and that does not mean that she, as a minister, can or should recommend that people accept Russian passports.
Quote from Vereshchuk: "I should not and cannot. Because this isn’t just about documents; it’s also about values and position. Because in addition to Ukrainians in the temporarily occupied territories, there are Ukrainians who left because they did not want to accept Russian passports. There are Ukrainians who are now fighting precisely to ensure that there are no Russian passports on our land.
That is my position. If it is not clear to someone in this form, then I don't care."
Details: Vereshchuk said the media discussion around this issue "is harming Ukraine's information security" and advised that it be stopped.
She also added that "there is no discussion within the government regarding Russian passports" and that she and Lubinets "are on the same page and on the same wavelength".
Background: Questions and misunderstandings of the situation on social media arose when two representatives of the authorities gave two completely opposing recommendations for residents of the temporarily occupied territories regarding whether or not to accept Russian passports. Lubinets advised Ukrainians to accept them in order to survive or to leave the occupied territory by any means possible, whereas Vereshchuk recommended not accepting a Russian passport, leaving if possible, or waiting for the Armed Forces.
In order to understand this issue, Ukrainska Pravda’s editor-in-chief Sevgil Musaieva posted an open invitation on Facebook inviting Ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets and Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk to a discussion.
Lubinets agreed to the discussion. Vereshchuk said, through her assistant, that she could not come at the time specified. Subsequent messages saying that Ukrainska Pravda is happy to reschedule the discussion at a time convenient for her have been ignored by both the Deputy Prime Minister and her assistant.