Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that Donbass “will never be Russian territory,” and to those who love the Russian Federation and want the region to join it, he suggested “looking for a place in Russia”.
“Residents of the occupied Donbass and Crimea must understand exactly. This is not about someone driving someone out somewhere. I just want me to be understood. I believe that if you live today in the temporarily occupied Donbass and you think that “our cause is right – we are in Russia, we are Russians” – this is a big mistake to stay in Donbass. It will never be Russian territory. It’s like there was a wall in Germany. In any case, people, history will take advantage of the moment and the wall will collapse. If they do not agree (on the settlement of the conflict – ed.), people will still take advantage of the moment”, – Zelensky said in an interview with the Dom TV channel, part of which was published on the TV channel’s Telegram.
The Ukrainian leader appealed to the residents of Donbass and advised those who consider themselves Ukrainians not to leave this territory.
“I believe that if you love Russia, you think that you have stayed on the territory of Ukraine all your life, but felt that this is Russia, this person must understand that in the name of his children and grandchildren, he has to go and look for a place in Russia. Because without Ukraine there will be no civilization on this territory.Ukraine will grow up, it will build everything, unambiguously. Donbass in the form – in the occupied, in the cut off – will never grow. But if you feel that Donbass is Ukraine and it is Ukrainian, if you respect this flag, respect the Ukrainian language, if you feel that you are Ukrainian – be there, hold on. This land will still be deoccupied in any case”, – Zelensky said.
In April 2014, the Ukrainian authorities launched a military operation against the self-proclaimed DPR and LPR, which declared independence after the coup d’etat in Kiev in February 2014. According to the latest UN data, about 13 thousand people became victims of the conflict. The issue of resolving the situation in Donbass is being discussed, among other things, during the meetings in Minsk of the contact group, which since September 2014 has already adopted three documents regulating steps to de-escalate the conflict. However, even after the armistice agreements between the parties to the conflict, shootings continue.
Against the background of the situation in Donbass, relations between Moscow and Kiev have worsened. The Ukrainian authorities have repeatedly accused Russia of interfering in the country’s internal affairs. In January 2015, the Verkhovna Rada adopted a statement in which the Russian Federation is called the “aggressor country”. Russia denies the accusations of the Ukrainian side and calls them unacceptable. Moscow has repeatedly stated that it is not a party to the internal Ukrainian conflict and is interested in Kiev overcoming the political and economic crisis.