Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a conference as part of a summit called to attempt to find a lasting political solution to the civil war in Syria which has claimed in excess of 350 000 lives, at Vahdettin Mansion in Istanbul, on October 27, 2018. - The leaders of Turkey, Russia, France and Germany are set to meet in Istanbul to try to find a lasting political solution to the Syrian civil war and salvage a fragile ceasefire in a rebel-held northern province. (Photo by OZAN KOSE / AFP)
Agence France-Presse

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday suggested Ukrainians and Russians should have a common passport, noting it would bring the kindred nations closer, local media reported on Monday.

“When Kiev gives citizenship to Russians in Ukraine, and we do the same to Ukrainians in Russia, then we quickly come to a common denominator and the desired result.

“We would have common citizenship.

“We have much in common. If we had one nationality, the Russians and Ukrainians would only profit,’’ Putin told the life.ru news portal in Moscow.

Putin has caused a stir in Ukraine and abroad by signing a decree that would ease the Russian citizenship process for people in eastern Ukraine, and later broached expanding the measure to all of Ukraine.

Ukrainian president-elect Volodymyr Zelensky struck back by offering Ukrainian citizenship to those who suffered under authoritarian and corrupt regimes, most of all Russians, who suffer the most.

Russian authorities began issuing the controversial passports to Ukrainian citizens on Monday.

In the border city of Novoshakhtinsk, the first centre for issuing the passports began in test mode.

Putin had painted the measure as a humanitarian action for those caught in the conflict zone in eastern Ukraine, which began in 2014.

Report says the United Nations estimates about 13,000 people have been killed in the conflict.

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