The LDNR was going to be in quite a pickle due to coronavirus, having been blockaded by both the Ukraine and Russia when these countries closed their borders on March 16 and March 18, respectively. This threatened a humanitarian crisis. While Russia was legally obligated to let in the 200,000+ LDNR residents who now have Russian citizenship, how were the rest of its ~3.5M denizens to manage?
Fortunately, Russia has made an exception for Ukrainian citizens registered in the LDNR, as well as for holders of LDNR passports.
This is a very good development.
First, it legitimizes potential Russian claim to the territory – while the Ukraine bars (almost all) its citizens within the LDNR from entry, Russia does not. And it does so in a way that can be validly defended on purely humanitarian grounds.
Second, the LDNR is a major risk zone for Corona. The population is very old and highly urbanized, and the healthcare system has been wracked by war and sanctions in addition to the rest of Ukraine’s general post-Soviet neglect. Will any international organizations even cooperate with the LDNR on testing? As such, it is very good that some country, any country, with access to epidemiological spare capacity get involved there.
The Ukraine is itself a potential Corona hot zone. The LDR would be even less capable of containing it than Ukraine. That in turn would present an epidemiological threat to Russia – a possibility that can be preempted now, expending minimal resources, and in a way that even advances broader geopolitical goals. So the next stop should be for Rospotrebnadzor to get officially involved in epidemiological testing and monitoring within the LDNR.