Russian President Vladimir Putin enacted the programme this year to expedite the citizenship process for residents of Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions, where a pro-Russian separatist rebellion has simmered for half a decade.
Russia similarly gave citizenship to residents of neighbouring Ukraine’s Crimea region after it occupied and annexed the territory in 2014.
“The total number of people who can utilize (the offer) is about 3 million citizens of Ukraine,” the head of the Interior Ministry’s migration department, Valentina Kazakova, said in comments carried by state news agency TASS.
That number had not previously been specified.
The conflict, between the rebels and the Ukrainian military, erupted in early 2014 after Ukraine ousted its pro-Russian president in a political pivot towards the West.
About 13,000 people have been killed in the conflict, according to estimates by the United Nations.
While Putin has represented the rebels at international peace talks, his government denies direct involvement in the conflict. Ukraine accuses Russia of invasion.
Ukraine has threatened to revoke its citizenship from those who obtain Russian passports via the programme.
(Edited Emmanuel Yashim)
European People’s Party to approve Donald Tusk as new president
Lawmakers from Europe’s centre-right and conservative parties on Wednesday, got set to make outgoing European Council President Donald Tusk, the official head of the biggest political group in the European Parliament.
EU lawmakers belonging to the European People’s Party (EPP), an alliance of more than 70 national parties, are gathering in Zagreb to choose the successor to current President Joseph Daul.
Manfred Weber, the EPP parliamentary group leader, is to stay on in his post, and as the major mouthpiece of the group in the EU legislature.
Polish native Tusk, due to step down from his position on December 1, is the only candidate proposed for the EPP presidency.
The EPP holds 182 of the 751 seats in the European Parliament, down from 221 in the last legislative period following May’s EU elections.
The incoming president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, belongs to the bloc.
The vote for the new EPP president is part of a two-day congress with some 2,000 participants from more than 40 countries, with discussions on climate policy and the Western Balkans also on the agenda.
The EPP’s EU lawmakers are also to choose the group’s vice-presidents and treasurer in a vote.
Edited by Hadiza Mohammed/Ifeyinwa Omowole
Man who posed as pilot to dodge airport queues arrested in India
Police on Wednesday said a man who posed as a Lufthansa pilot so that he could enjoy quick boarding and upgrades has been arrested in New Delhi.
Deputy Commissioner of police, Sanjay Bhatia, said Rajan Mahbubani, 48, was wearing a Lufthansa airlines pilot’s uniform and was carrying a fake ID card when he was detained at the airport in the Indian capital.
Mahbubani was detained at the departure gate of a flight to Kolkata after the chief security officer of Lufthansa at IGI Airport reported a suspicious movement of a passenger in the uniform of Lufthansa airlines.
According to the police, Mahbubani revealed during interrogation that he was a frequent traveller and would wear the pilot’s uniform to escape queues and the longer screening process for normal passengers.
The police added that Mahbubani said he always uses the passage reserved for airline crew members and sometimes he would get his seat upgraded.
“He revealed he had used the fake ID numerous times over the past six months.’’
Bhatia however, said a criminal case has been registered against him and further investigation is ongoing.
He added that Mahbubani, who runs a training and consultancy firm, was fond of wearing uniforms of different professions and getting photographed or got videos made which he shared on social media.
“There was a picture of him in an Indian Army colonel’s uniform on his phone.’’
Edited by Hadiza Mohammed (NAN)/Ifeyinwa Omowole
12 dead in the northern Afghan province
Officials on Wednesday said taliban militants killed at least 12 soldiers in Afghanistan’s northern province of Kunduz.
Councillors Mawlawi Abdullah and Safiullah Amiri said four others were also wounded in the overnight attack on a national army checkpoint in the Imam Sahib district of the province.
According to the officials the Taliban has been in control of parts of the district for a while.
The Afghan Ministry of Defence confirmed clashes between Afghan forces and the Taliban in the district but spoke of only one Afghan soldier dead in the attacks.
The Taliban continues to attack Afghan and international forces inspite of the group saying that the recent release of their key members would help with the Afghan peace process.
The Afghan government is hoping that the exchange will result in direct talks between the state and the militant group.
However, the militants’ spokesman in Doha-based office, Suhail Shaheen, tweeted on Tuesday in reaction to an Al Jazeera TV report that the release would not lead to any direct talks with the Afghan government.
The Taliban have long dubbed the government a puppet regime.
Edited by Hadiza Mohammed (NAN)/Ifeyinwa Omowole
German city-state of Bremen bans right-wing extremist organisation
The Government of the Northern German city-state of Bremen on Wednesday banned and dissolved a right-wing organisation, alleging it was promoting an anti-constitutional ideology by aggressive means.
Bremen’s Interior Senator, Ulrich Maeurer, in announcing the ban, said the organisation, Phalanx 18 was rooted in national socialist (Nazi) ideology.
Police searched three homes in Bremen and a further home in the surrounding state of Lower Saxony.
According to information released by the Bremen authorities, Phalanx 18 had been involved in provocative and aggressive acts.
It also promoted music pushing right-wing ideas.
A regional newspaper, the Weser Kurier, reported that Maeurer had already banned a singing evening planned by the organisation.
A further event had been planned for Nov. 9, when bands featuring right-wing extremist musicians were due to play in Bremen.
The date is the anniversary of the 1938 Night of Broken Glass when synagogues and Jewish businesses were trashed and Jews assaulted.
Edited by Hadiza Mohammed/Abdulfatah Babatunde
Emirates orders 30 Boeing 787 Dreamliners in $8.8 bn deal
The Dubai-based airline Emirates on Wednesday disclosed a firm order for 30 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners in a deal worth 8.8 billion dollars.
The carrier said in a tweet that the deal firms up its previous Memorandum of Understanding for Boeing 787 Dreamliners, with deliveries commencing in May 2023 and continuing for the next five years.
Emirates Chairman and Chief Executive, Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, confirmed the previously pending order with the U.S. aerospace giant at an air show in Dubai on Wednesday.
“The 787s will complement our fleet mix by expanding our operational flexibility in terms of capacity, range and deployment to connect new city pairs and expand frequencies.’’
Earlier, Emirates said it had ordered 50 Airbus A350 planes worth a total of 16 billion dollars.
Edited by Hadiza Mohammed/Ifeyinwa Omowole
Turkey deports 15 foreign terrorist fighters in a week
State news agency Anadolu on Wednesday reported that Turkey has deported a total of 15 foreign terrorist fighters over the course of a week, including 10 sent back to Germany.
The suspects deported between Nov. 11 and Nov. 19 also include one Danish, one British, one U.S. and two Dutch citizens.
Some of the suspects were deported along with family members.
Turkey insists the deportations would continue even if the alleged fighters’ home countries have revoked their citizenship.
Two Dutch women who allegedly supported the Islamic State were immediately arrested upon arrival at the Amsterdam airport on Tuesday, according to the ANP news agency.
One of the women retains Dutch citizenship and the other has been stripped of it.
The two travelled back to the Netherlands with two young children, the report said, citing prosecutors and the Ministry of Justice and Security.
Earlier a U.S. citizen of Jordanian descent was the first such deportation Turkey announced.
Local media said he was captured during Turkey’s offensive in north-eastern Syria launched last month.
Edited by Hadiza Mohammed/Ismail Abdulaziz
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