President Putin signed in February an executive order (Ukaz) allowing the use of passports issued by the authorities of Ukraine’s separatist regions – Lugansk and Donetz – within Russia. Besides passports, Russian authorities, hotels, police, travel agencies and banks will accept birth certificates, university and school diplomas, certificates of marital status, driver’s licenses and vehicle registration docs. etc.
The executive order further states that the act is driven by humanitarian reasons and will remain in force “temporarily” until there is a political settlement of the situation in the two regions of Ukraine on the basis of the Minsk agreement.
Following Kremlin spokesperson Peshkov’s comments two weeks ago – that the Kremlin has yet to decide to officially recognize passports from the two separatist regions – the present move marks a watershed in President Putin’s strategy and hopes to restart relations with the US under President Trump.