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I was reading this RT opinion piece

While opening opportunities for the residents of Crimea and Donbass to study at Ukrainian universities, Kiev refuses to recognize any educational documents obtained on the peninsula.

If it is true, on what grounds, Kiev refuses to recognise educational documents obtained from that region?

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  • When I click on the link, it goes nowhere. Did you paste in the right link? Sep 20 at 11:52
  • 6
    The source is rt.com, which has been blocked in some countries. Do you have another source that people can access?
    – xyldke
    Sep 20 at 13:01
  • @xyldke Not yet. But I will search for it. Though the exact text may not be available considering opinion pieces are written in one newspaper.
    – Gary 2
    Sep 20 at 13:34
  • The source talks about "Leaked documents expose Ukrainian attempts to destabilize Russia and draw NATO into a full-scale war with Moscow" - are these the educational documents you talk about?
    – Stančikas
    Sep 20 at 14:49
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    "On what grounds" is trivial: accepting them would amount to a degree of formal recognition of the occupation of Crimea. That happens with some other territories the occupation of which is disputed, for example Northern Cyprus.
    – SJuan76
    Sep 20 at 15:23

2 Answers 2

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It might have have been true around 2018 with respect to diplomas issued by the Russian authorities in Crimea since 2014. The Crimean News Agency (QHA) which seems to be run from exile and was refused license in Russia (since 2015) wrote this in 2018 about the matter:

The Ministry of Education and Science recalled that Ukraine and the entire civilized world do not recognize the educational documents (diplomas, certificates, etc.) of students issued in the occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, as well as in the annexed Crimea. The corresponding information can be found on the website of the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine.

The ministry further noted that students who started education in universities of Ukraine in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions that were under the occupation of Russia in 2014 can continue their education in any university in Ukraine.

Students who received education after February 20, 2014 in the higher education system in the temporarily occupied territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, can pass an apprenticeship in Ukrainian universities to recognize the qualifications received, the results of studies and the periods of study.

Apparently Kyiv offered some alternative means to get some those diplomas (with an Ukrainian imprimatur), but I would be able to tell you (all) the details on that.

On the other hand, I don't totally exclude that this might be outdated news and some changes may have been since then to such policies.

There was certainly a law proposal that the Venice Commission commented on in 2021, which had this article

UKRAINE DRAFT LAW ON THE PRINCIPLES OF STATE POLICY OF THE TRANSITION PERIOD

[Article 13.3]

Academic certificates issued in the temporarily occupied territories shall not be recognized. To obtain academic certificates, the qualifications, academic performance, and periods of study in the temporarily occupied territories shall be verified under the procedures laid down by law. Academic degrees and titles awarded in the temporarily occupied territories shall not be recognized, nor shall they be subject to attestation.

But the actual opinion of the Commission was that that article/provision was rather problematic

Finally, the provisions of para 3 of Article 13 also need to be formulated more clearly. It seems that there are two types of situations: (i) academic certificates issued in temporarily occupied territories, which are not to be recognised but can be obtained in Ukraine taking into account the qualifications, academic performance and periods of study in the temporarily occupied territories (upon verification); (ii) academic degrees and titles, which are not to be recognised and are not subject to attestation. The difference between the two situations should be specified in further detail. Moreover, bearing in mind the Namibia exception and human rights law, a blanket non-recognition of academic degrees seems unduly detrimental to inhabitants of the territory. More generally, it is difficult to see why it would not be possible to accept the academic certificates, degrees and titles that substantively meet the criteria of comparable awards in Ukraine. It is therefore advisable to reconsider the rigorous approach laid down in para 3.

(Namibia there refers to [via footnote]: "International Court of Justice, Legal Consequences for States of the Continued Presence of South Africa in Namibia (South West Africa) notwithstanding Security Council Resolution 276 (1970), Advisory Opinion, [1971] ICJ Reports 16, para 125. The recognition of such civil registration documents would in no way imply recognition of the status of the territory or officials operating there.")

So I would not be surprised if that (13.3 article) wasn't adopted as such/drafted. This also brings into question the 2018 QHA report, i.e. whether it was really talking about already adopted or just envisaged policies.

There is a newer article by an Ukrainian lawyer which (after summarizing some criticisms) says that

The Draft Law was eventually withdrawn from Parliament in January 2022.

So apparently that law proposal was scrapped as such.

I do not know enough about Ukraine's constitutional and legal system to tell you if something like this provision (on diplomas) might have been adopted at some point by other means, like a ministerial order. Or whether that could have withstood a legal challenge. But there is a Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine web page from 2019 saying (at the bottom after the phone numbers)

It should be reminded that degrees and other educational certifications given in temporarily occupied territories of Donetsk and Lugansk regions and AR of Crimea do not have legal force in Ukraine as well as in other countries in the world.

The legal force of that reminder is something that someone else might want to comment on.

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As for starting the university studies, this claim does not look officially confirmed

I have analyzed studyinukraine.gov.ua, both English and Ukrainian versions, but I do not see anywhere that educational documents required to start the university studies would not be recognized if that school was in Crimea or Donbas. I expect such information to be present in the official website, at least somewhere in FAQ without the need to fish it from pro-russian news and sources the like.

If the state is not recognized, no documents issued by that state are recognized. Special rules are required to allow entering the studies from the first course in the university. This is done through entry exams, most important history of Ukraine that is unlikely to taught in a way matching the Ukraine official view.

Of course, a citizen of Russian Federation is now unlikely to get a student visa. However it would be contra-intuitive to think they ban the own citizens or some from other countries. Ukraine may be somewhat too interesting place as for studies right now.

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  • mon.gov.ua/eng/news/… "It should be reminded that degrees and other educational certifications given in temporarily occupied territories of Donetsk and Lugansk regions and AR of Crimea do not have legal force in Ukraine as well as in other countries in the world." Although the legal force of that reminder... is rather questionable given that a draft law trying to pass the same was scrapped (in 2022) after criticism.
    – Fizz
    Sep 20 at 17:00
  • I see "applicants from abovementioned territories can entry in universities or in vocational schools even without the External Independent Evaluation – only by the results of exams" so seems that the path is not closed.
    – Stančikas
    Sep 20 at 18:51
  • It's not exactly the same thing... you may need a diploma for other reasons than admission to university (and to vocational schools).
    – Fizz
    Sep 20 at 18:54
  • The text of the question seems not fully matching the title. Kind of about enrolment into studies, kind of much wider.
    – Stančikas
    Sep 20 at 19:25

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