Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has signed a decree granting citizenship to 14 foreigners who fought for Ukrainian volunteer battalions and the military in the conflict in eastern Ukraine.
The decree, signed on June 28, states that the individuals, one of whom is a Russian woman, “took part in protecting the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine.”
Among the recipients was Yulia Tolopa, a resident of the southern Russian city of Pyatigorsk who came to Ukraine at the height of the anti-government protests known as the Maidan in early 2014.
She later joined the Aidar and Donbas volunteer battalions when a Russian-backed armed uprising erupted in April 2014 in eastern Ukraine.
Tolopa later enlisted in the 58th Brigade of Ukraine’s armed forces.
Migration authorities denied her citizenship three times because she couldn’t provide proof that she didn’t have a criminal record in Russia.
In interviews she gave to Ukrainian media, Tolopa said she was afraid to enter the Russian consulate in Kyiv to obtain documentation.
Tolopa also gave birth to a daughter in Ukraine and still serves in the army.