The Kremlin has approved plans to make it easier for Russian-speaking citizens of former Soviet states to become Russian citizens.
The move, which has been signed off by Vladimir Putin, will affect citizens of countries including Ukraine, Belarus and the Baltic states, along with countries in central Asia.
Tensions remain high in eastern Ukraine after at least three died in a day of shooting during what was supposed to be an Easter truce.
In an exclusive interview with NBC News, the Ukrainian Prime Minister warns of the dangers of unchecked Russian expansion and aggression.
Russia, the US and the EU say that all sides have agreed to steps to "de-escalate" the crisis in Ukraine at talks in Geneva.