Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced Monday a legislative initiative to grant dual citizenship to the nation’s diaspora for the first time.
The president made the remarks in a video address marking Unity Day, the state holiday marking the 1919 unification of Ukraine.
“Today I am submitting to the Verkhovna Rada [Ukrainian parliament] a key draft law that will allow the adoption of comprehensive legislative amendments and the introduction of multiple citizenship,”
“It will allow all ethnic Ukrainians and their descendants from around the world to have our citizenship. Of course, except for citizens of the aggressor country,” he continued.
Zelenskyy noted the widespread diaspora of ethnic Ukrainians in all corners of the globe, honoring contributions to the defensive war against invading Russian forces from those who have historically been unable to hold citizenship in the country.
“Today, the unity of Ukrainians spans both hemispheres of the Earth. In every corner of which, on February 24, there were people declaring, ‘I am Ukrainian.’ Declaring it on all continents were our people live. Those who, with the outbreak of a full-scale war, regardless of their residence, birth, or passport, said in the affirmative, ‘I am a Ukrainian.'”
According to Zelenskyy’s announcement, the new legislation would allow Ukrainian diaspora to apply for and receive a passport — a direct departure from the nation’s past citizenship policies.
“Everyone who has Ukrainian blood in their veins, and a free heart beating in their. Ukrainians by origin, who have long proven that they are Ukrainians in spirit. And after many years of waiting, they should finally become Ukrainians by passport at the legislative level.”
The landmark change in policy would require approval from the nation’s parliament and authorization from the Constitutional Court of Ukraine.
Under normal circumstances, the process of amending the national constitution could take years.
It is unknown if Zelenskyy or the federal government intend to expedite the amendment process.
The only exception to the dual-citizenship eligibility noted by Zelenskyy applies to individuals in Russia.