In the summer of 2014, Donbass towns and villages underwent heavy shelling by Ukraine's armed formations, and the number of civilian casualties was daily increased.

27 July is one of the tragic dates. On that day, columns of Ukrainian armoured vehicles moved towards Shakhtyorsk from two directions. The city centre of Gorlovka came under heavy artillery fire. The pictures of Kristina Zhuk and her 10-month-old daughter Kira killed by Ukraine went all over the world.

The pain we experienced is impossible to forget. The war has changed us and our lives forever. These atrocities against humanity have no statute of limitations, they have been documented and constitute the register of war crimes of Ukraine. The perpetrators will be punished.

We continue to live, defend the Republic, work for the benefit of our children and in memory of those who their lives fighting for freedom.

Head of the Donetsk People's Republic
Denis Pushilin

 

The Sputnik Lite coronavirus vaccine is expected to be delivered to the Republic through the support of the All-Russian United Russia political party on Wednesday, July 28. Like the Sputnik V vaccine, it has been developed by the Gamaleya National Research Centre for Epidemiology and Microbiology, but it is single-component, that is, it does not require a second component.

A total of about 86,000 doses of the Sputnik Lite vaccine are expected to be delivered. The vaccine is also being supplied to several regions of the Russian Federation during this period.

Once the next batch of the vaccine arrives in the Republic, we can proceed with inoculation of the priority groups that are at particular risk of infection, along with all the other residents of the Republic, who would like to get the vaccine. First and foremost, this applies to those who have registered at the DPR Health Ministry's website and in medical institutions.

The coronavirus vaccination will be free of charge and voluntary, meeting sanitary and epidemiological requirements. Once the vaccine arrives in the very near future, it will be distributed to vaccination centres set up at health care facilities in towns and districts of the DRR. A total of 51 stations are ready to be opened swiftly.

Through the inoculation campaign, efforts of our medical staff and restrictions imposed to save lives and health of our people, we have managed to avoid the consequences that can be observed worlwide.

I am sure that every inhabitant of the Republic today understands that we can defeat COVID-19 and contain its spread only by mass vaccination and collective immunity development.

Ever since the Donetsk People's Republic faced the coronavirus pandemic, the Russian Federation has been helping us to contain the spread of the infection and fight it. This includes the supply of expensive medical equipment, medicines, test systems and PCR test kits. Largely thanks to this, we are overcoming difficulties and managing the disease which poses a threat to the health of our citizens.

On behalf of the citizens of Donetsk People' Republic I would like to express sincere appreciation and gratitude for the help and support provided by Russia.

Denis Pushilin,
Head of the Donetsk People's Republic

A documentary about events in Donbass presented in Paris

On July 22, with the informational support of the Russian Embassy in France, the documentary "Donbass" online premiere took place on the official website of the Russian House of Science and Culture in Paris. The film was shot with the production company "Les films de Sacha" assistance. The author of the film is French director Anne-Laure Bonnel.

"In 2015, Ms. Bonnel, a documentary filmmaker, journalist, teacher at the Sorbonne, went to Donbass and became an eyewitness of a bloody conflict, which terrible footage is shown in her authorial film.

The director has collected testimonies from people she met during her visit in the Donetsk People's Republic in her work. The author emphasizes that while working on the film, she completely focused on human destinies and the reverse side of the war, leaving the political context behind the scenes," the DPR MFA reports.

The "Donbass" film was presented at the "Au cœur des Droits Humains" festival, the International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival.

In addition, at the beginning of June 2021, Ann-Laure Bonnel, as a witness and documentarian of the events in Donbass, took part in the meeting of the UN Security Council according to the Arria formula on the topic “Maidan” and its consequences for Donbass.”  She presented her authorial footage and the documents there.

You can watch the documentary "Donbass", as well as Ms. Bonnel’s comments, following the link.

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Kiev is responsible for blocking negotiation process in the political group – Natalia Nikonorova

There is no even minimal progress in the negotiation process, DPR Plenipotentiary and Foreign Minister Natalia Nikonorova commented on the outcome of the Contact Group meeting on political issues.

“The OSCE Coordinator, despite he was replaced by another diplomat, has been reading practically the same report for already 8 Contact Group meetings. Which is clearly demonstrates the deepest stagnation of the negotiation process on the political track.

At the same time, we articulate on multiple occasions that if Ukraine really wants, it would be possible to quickly restore the work of the political group and, in general, to begin a constructive dialogue on the political part implementation of the Package of Measures. In order to do this, Kiev needs, firstly, to provide its feedback to our proposals on unblocking the political group work. We proposed three options for this, i.e. there is what to choose from and what to discuss. And, secondly, we are still awaiting feedback from the Ukrainian side regarding our draft Roadmap, which was sent back in October last year,” Natalia Nikonorova said.

She also pointed out that the behavior of Ukrainian figures in the media space makes the situation with the negotiations even more absurd.

"While the Ukrainian president declares his alleged adherence to the Minsk agreements and readiness to implement them, other representatives of the Ukrainian politicians and other speakers put forward ideas that these agreements can be implemented only on a signal from Europe, that Kiev is not going to implement the Steinmeier formula and other strange theses. But the Ukrainian negotiators within the Contact Group refuse to give any explanations and comments on this matter.

That is why today, having met Mr. Kinnunen, who will take the position of the OSCE Special Representative in Ukraine and in the Contact Group from August 1, we drew his attention on two fundamentally important points. First, the need to urgently unblock the work of the political group, which is possible to do only if Ukraine is ready for this. Because, in fact, it is Kiev that is responsible for blocking this activity. And, secondly, we invited Mr. Kinnunen to visit the Republics in order to personally get acquainted with the situation in Donbass. In our opinion, such experience will greatly help him in fulfilling his duties as an OSCE Special Representative in the Contact Group,” the DPR Plenipotentiary said.

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The Public Chambers of the Donetsk People's Republic and South Ossetia sign a Cooperation Agreement

The Public Chamber of the Donetsk People's Republic and the Public Chamber of the Republic of South Ossetia have signed a cooperation agreement, the press office of the DPR Public Chamber reports.

The document was signed by the chairs of the chambers, Alexander Kofman and Sergey Kudziyev.

The agreement provides for cooperation in various areas.

The signing ceremony took place during a visit of a delegation of the Stars above Donbass Festival to the Republic of South Ossetia. It included writers from Russia and the DPR, and representatives of the DPR Public Chamber.

During the visit, the writers and public representatives visited memorial sites in South Ossetia, and meetings were held with President of the Republic Anatoly Bibilov and South Ossetian readers, and an electronic library was handed over.


On 13 July, the French Politique International edition published a series of interviews on the resolution of the armed civil conflict in Donbass, in particular with Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office of the Russian Federation Dmitry Kozak. Head of the Donetsk People's Republic Denis Pushilin, also answered questions from independent journalist Natalia Rutkevich.

– Why did the overthrow of President Yanukovich on 22 February 2014 cause such a vast and strong protest movement in south and east Ukraine?

– In the winter of 2013-2014, I was at the Maidan in Kiev. I wanted to see the protests personally. What I saw did not make me feel happy in any way: an unbridled crowd with no restraints, only savagery and a sense of omnipotence...

It was obvious that the people of Donbass could not support this movement. We have always been close to Russia, to the traditional values of the Russian World. The Euromaidan objectives were mostly alien to us, especially after supporters of the Right Sector [an organization banned in the DPR – Ed.] with their ultra-nationalist slogans such as "Ukraine for Ukrainians" or "Ukraine is above all" joined the protesters.

Residents of our region took to the streets immediately after the coup in Kiev on 22 February 2014. Particularly given the next day, the Rada passed a law making Ukrainian the only official state language, thus excluding Russian.

In the south-east, this was considered an insult to the Russian-speaking population and an attack on their rights. In addition to Donetsk and Lugansk, popular unrest spread to Kharkov, Zaporozhzhye and Odessa, with people everywhere demanding that Kiev take their interests into account. Demonstrators' banners read: "Donbass is Russia", "Russian is our mother tongue" and "Donbass needs a referendum". They hoped to assert their rights, at least in our region, but Kiev did not relent...

– The May 2014 independence referendums in the DPR and the LPR have not been recognised by any state. At the same time, the extremely high turnout and overwhelming majority of affirmative votes were deemed suspicious by observers... How can such unanimity be explained?

– The main factor underlying such unanimity is Kiev's aggressive policy towards Donbass, which dates back before 2014. It is important to understand that we have always considered ourselves Russians here. After the collapse of the USSR, the region never really became Ukrainian, although it was subjected to violent Ukrainisation for 23 years. All advertisements had to be in Ukrainian only, films screened in cinemas were dubbed in Ukrainian, and there were fewer and fewer schools with Russian as the language of instruction.

After the coup in February 2014, which did not bode well for us, the patience of the Donbass residents reached a breaking point. We proclaimed the Donetsk People's Republic on 7 April and set a referendum date. A few days later, Ukraine's Acting President Turchinov launched an "anti-terrorist operation" against us – which effectively meant that the army was sent to suppress the civilian population! This was a violation of all international standards and the Ukrainian Constitution. The basic law clearly states that the Ukrainian army can only be used against an external aggressor, but not against its own citizens. That is how the civil war broke out.

– The tragedy in Odessa seems to have had a profound impact on the mindset of the separation supporters....

– It certainly did, although it was not the only tragic event of that period. Let me briefly go over the developments: on 2 May in Odessa, pro-Maidan radicals massacred 48 coup opponents. Most of them were burned alive in the Trade Union House; 250 people suffered injuries. A week later, on Victory Day in the city of Mariupol, militants of the Right Sector [an organization banned in the DPR – Ed.] used tanks to attack civilians celebrating this holiday, which is very important to us, killing more than 20 people.

Such outrageous violence, unprecedented in the country's recent history, marked a point of no return for the people of Donbass. This explains the unequivocal result of the referendum. The majority of my fellow citizens did not want to live in such a country and share their Homeland with their tormentors.

– Who are the inhabitants of Donbass? Are we talking about ethnic Russians, Ukrainians who speak mostly Russian, or people with a singular national identity?

– Donbass developed into an industrial centre of the Russian Empire. The current year marks the 300th anniversary of this industrial revolution. It was in 1721 that Grigory Kapustin, a Russian mineralogist, explored coal deposits in the Voronezh Province (a province in the Russian Empire, which included part of today's Donbass – Ed.). It was from these mines that the industrial development of the region originated.

In the following decades, Donbass mines attracted many workers from all over the Russian Empire, and later the Soviet Union. The people who have settled here have a distinctive disposition: they are strong personalities with no fear of hard work in challenging conditions, who enjoy taking risks.

For example, let's consider my family. My father's ancestors came from the suburbs of Voronezh, my mother's – from Uzbekistan, which was then part of the Soviet Union. Donbass is multiethnic: people of very different backgrounds live here in peace; there has never been enmity or discord between the many ethnic groups that inhabit the region. Russian language and culture have been the cement holding us together. Many Greeks, Jews, and Tatars living in this region consider themselves Russians; we have all been born into that culture.

It is an industrial region which has always been proud of its successes. Before the conflict, 23.3% of Ukraine's exports came from Donbass, which contributed to Ukraine's GDP the most.

– In fact, since 2014 the hostilities have not ceased, but occasionally abate, only to erupt with full fury. What is your estimate of the number of people killed, injured and left homeless in the DPR?

– Since the outbreak of the armed conflict, the number of people killed in the DPR has made 4,994 casualties, including 91 children. A total of 9,348 people have been injured, including 2,153 children. In addition, more than 23,000 individual houses and around 5,000 apartment buildings have been destroyed. Ukrainian artillery deliberately targeted our infrastructure. In some hospitals, we replaced window glazing two or three times. In a number of schools and kindergartens, children came under fire; in some instances, students died from shrapnel wounds right inside the school building.

More recently, in April 2021, a five-year-old boy who was playing in the backyard of his home was killed by a shell dropped by a Ukrainian drone. This came as a further shock to all of us.

– In 2014, President Poroshenko said in regard to Donbass: "We will have employment - they won't. We will have pensions - they won't. We will have support for residents, they won't. Our children will go to schools and kindergartens. Their children will be sitting in cellars because they do not know how to do anything. That is how we will win this war! Does this mean that Donbass has been on its own since 2014? How are schools, hospitals, courts, territorial authorities, transport, and mass media functioning?

– In the spring of 2014, all Ukrainian state institutions and utilities ceased to operate following the orders from Kiev. By summer, not a single bank or ATM was functional. People in the republics were left without without means of support, the elderly were deprived of their pensions, and socially vulnerable groups were left without benefits. There was an imminent threat of humanitarian collapse.

From May to July, despite extremely heavy hostilities, we promptly set up our own administration in Donetsk. A functioning government was established in record time, but there was nothing to replenish the treasury with as many businesses had ceased their activities due to the bombardments.

It was at this critical moment that dozens of white KamAZ trucks with food supplies arrived in Donbass from Russia, preventing the situation of hunger and starvation. They also brought us construction materials to rebuild destroyed buildings: winter was approaching and it was necessary to at least fix the heating system leaks. Russia has sent more than 100 humanitarian convoys during the years of conflict, and the people of Donbass are immensely grateful for this help.

In December 2014, the Republic established its own pension fund and payments of pensions and social benefits commenced, but they were very small at first. Some people also managed to obtain pensions in Ukraine. But this was not easy to do: the Ukrainian pension fund required that the retirees applying for their pensions reside in the Kiev-controlled territory. Moreover, they had to prove that they had lived there long enough. Only a few could meet these requirements, not to mention physically disabled citizens who could not leave home to register their place of residence elsewhere.

Kiev has deliberately made this process more complicated. All our proposals to arrange the process of transferring pensions to the DPR, including through international organisations, have been rejected. This is a gross violation of pensioners' rights, which has been repeatedly pointed out by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

– Russia has always denied the presence of its armed forces in the region. However, it is hard to believe that the DPR and the LPR can do without external assistance...

– Our soldiers bravely stood against the Ukrainian armed forces during the bloodiest periods of the war - in the summer and autumn of 2014 and in the winter of 2015. The defenders of Donbass managed not only to hold their ground, but also to prevail. Having got into pockets in Izvarino, Ilovaysk and Debaltsevo, Ukrainian units were defeated, and we seized a large number of enemy weapons. Kiev had to agree to sit down at the negotiating table.

The main factor behind our victories is the spirit of our fighters. We defend our land, our homes, our families. We are strong because we are confident in the justness of our cause.

Moreover, we are well aware of the dramatic consequences which could result from the takeover of our republics by Ukraine. The government in Kiev has still not passed an amnesty law, which is one of the requirements set out in the Minsk agreements. In addition, a draft law on the internment and forced relocation of Russian citizens and prisoners of war from Donbass to special camps has been submitted to the Ukrainian parliament.

As for the external support, it is true that many volunteers have arrived in Donbass since the first days of the Ukrainian aggression. Many came from Russia, as well as from other countries - Serbia, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, South Ossetia, Abkhazia and even the United States of America. We have even created an international brigade. All our commanders are ordinary fellows who had never had any connection to the professional army before the conflict.

Throughout the entire period, not a single international organisation has proved the presence of Russian military personnel in Donbass. OSCE representatives have stated this publicly more than once. Russia's assistance has been in the form of humanitarian and diplomatic support. As a guarantor of the Minsk agreements, Moscow has made and continues to make a significant contribution to the peaceful resolution of the conflict.

– On 17 July 2014, a Malaysian Airlines MH17 aircraft was brought down in the Donetsk People's Republic. According to the preliminary results of the international investigation, the plane was shot down by a Buk missile fired by the militia. The missile had been allegedly supplied by Russia. Are the DPR authorities cooperating with the investigation team? What is your account of events and what evidence have you got to prove it?

– There are many disturbing elements in this case. Some theories accusing us were given to the public immediately after the crash, which is strange enough already; and then the investigation was unduly prolonged. It is quite obvious to us that the plane was shot down by Ukraine. This horrendous provocation was fabricated in order to blame our soldiers and punish Russia. Western countries rushed to impose sanctions on Moscow without even waiting for the preliminary investigation results.

The militia could not hit the target at such an altitude. The Buk story is a complete fake: we did not have such equipment in service, but even if we did, we did not have professionals specialised in the necessary skills.

We bent every effort to return the bodies of the deceased and the plane wreckage. But the investigators would not show up for a very long time, despite our public invitations. Our side, having found the black boxes, immediately handed them over to a representative of Malaysia. This speaks a great deal about our transparency: we have nothing to hide, we are interested in a fair investigation for light to be shed on the facts.

The international community treats us with prejudice and seeks to whitewash Ukraine, while there are many unanswered questions on the subject, starting with the key one: why was the Boeing routed over the military operation area? Why didn't Ukraine restrict this airspace?

I am sure that the truth will become public someday. It is very important that the perpetrators of this cynical crime face the punishment they deserve.

– Why in your opinion are the peace agreements reached in 2015 not respected?

– The Minsk agreements halted the bloody phase of the war. The parties started withdrawing heavy weapons, the number of shelling and civilian casualties decreased significantly. Next, it was necessary to move on to resolving political issues, which primarily meant granting the DPR and the LPR a special status. Ukraine passed a relevant law, but it never came into force.

So as not to take the blame, Ukraine's representatives to the Contact Group chose the tactic of dragging out the process. Any of our initiatives had a stall. But even if a solution was reached through lengthy discussions, for example on another truce, the Ukrainian side violated the agreements. A total of 22 truces were concluded, all of which lasted from a few weeks to a few days: each time the Ukrainian army resumed shelling, causing casualties.

Each time there was a smallest advance in the negotiation process, the Ukrainian nationalists would threaten the authorities in Kiev. However, the latter always take heed of this aggressive nationalist movement, which presses the utmost intransigence on them.

We have many times suggested that the agreements should be put in writing after each meeting, so that the parties are held accountable for their failure to implement them. We have also suggested making the negotiations public so that the world can see how the conduct of the Ukrainian delegation.

Unfortunately, Kiev refuses to do this, which indicates that Ukraine has no will to implement the Minsk agreements.

I believe that the guarantors of the Minsk agreements should put pressure on the party that does not implement the Package of Measures. It should be held accountable for violating these agreements, which have been approved by the UN Security Council.

– Seven years after the conflict outbreak, how do the residents of Donbass feel about Ukraine and, vice versa, what do Ukrainians think about Donbass? Is it possible for the DPR and the LPR to return to Ukraine? Under what conditions?

– Kiev continues to aggravate the gap between us. Blood and tears do not create a solid basis for the establishment of neighbourly relations. And, of course, the ideological division is very deep. Ultimately, this is the essence of the confrontation, and over the past seven years the rift has become even more pronounced.

For example, Ukraine's authorities rename streets after war criminals and Nazi collaborators, while symbols of the Soviet era are banned and monuments are demolished. People can be arrested for wearing a St. George's ribbon, which for us is a symbol of victory in the Great Patriotic War. And at the same time, nothing is undertaken against those who perform Nazi salutes... Neo-Nazis organise torchlit processions across Ukrainian cities, flaunting Hitler's symbols without hindrance. We do not understand how the world can tolerate this revival of fascism in the very heart of Europe!

These contradictions between us and Ukraine in its present state are insurmountable. To accept such a vision of history would mean to betray ourselves, our ancestors, our roots. This is to say nothing of the violent Ukrainisation of the Russian-speaking population, which has become even harsher since 2014. With every day that passes, the developments in Ukraine reinforce our conviction that our choice to become independent had been entirely justified.

Moreover, more than half a million residents of the DPR and the LPR have already obtained Russian citizenship. The issuance of Russian Federation passports is a humanitarian action taken by Russia, for which we are grateful as it restores the rights of our citizens.

– The DPR and the LPR constitute merely a part of Ukraine's Donetsk and Lugansk regions. What do the people living in the territories still controlled by Kiev think about the self-proclaimed republics?

– These ordinary citizens are held hostage by the situation, many of them, especially in the Kiev-controlled part of the Donetsk region, support the DPR. From time to time, they even accuse us of not taking over the territories where they live and therefore abandoning them to the mercy of the Ukrainian authorities. To support them, four years ago we launched a Programme for the Donbass People Reunification, and 70,000 of them have already benefited from it. In particular, this has included providing material assistance to people in difficulty, allowing them to receive treatment in our hospitals and enabling their young people to study at our universities.

Mentally and ideologically, the people of south-east Ukraine are close to us; like us, they seek to become closer to Russia. Recently in Odessa, a group of brave citizens chanted in front of cameras: "Donbass, we stand with you!"

– What do you believe needs to be done to bring peace to Donbass? What will the future of the DPR be like in your opinion: as an autonomous region within Ukraine, an autonomous region within Russia or as a recognised independent state?

– First of all, I would like to stress how much we appreciate the engagement of Russia, France and Germany in the conflict settlement. For full seven years, the war in Donbass has been on the agenda of high-ranking officials in these countries: it means a great deal to us.

Our greatest wish is to live in peace. The time has come to definitively and irrevocably end this war. We hope that the Minsk agreements' guarantor countries will actively participate in this process. As for the future, I can only repeat what I have already said: the residents of Donbass, proceeding from the right of peoples to self-determination, wish to be able to choose their own fate. Let them be heard by all of progressive humanity...

Source

A powerful explosion occurred on a gas pipeline along Krasnooktyabrskaya street near the territory of high-voltage towers and the Mushketovo railway station in the Budyonnovsky district of Donetsk on July 16. Only a miracle helped to avoid casualties among the civilian population, but the damage to residential buildings and infrastructure was significant - 14 high-rise buildings and 112 houses of the private sector lost their gas supply, the railroad bed was damaged, DPR Foreign Minister Natalia Nikonorova stated.

"During a preliminary investigation of the incident area, equipment was found indicating that the explosion occurred as a result of a deliberate terrorist attack from Ukraine.

This crime directly violates all the agreements reached in Minsk, including the Measures to strengthen the ceasefire regime, which the Ukrainian side, as well as Republics, signed almost a year ago, on July 22, and from which it did not officially withdraw. Moreover, the terrorist and sabotage methods used by Ukraine are prohibited activities in accordance with 19 universal documents of ​​international law that regulates the prevention and suppression of terrorism.

Moreover, the Ukrainian leadership has enough cynicism at the negotiations of the Contact Group to call for demining, but in fact to carry out the opposite process - mining of infrastructure facilities of the Republic, and even in densely populated peaceful quarters near the capital center.

We invited the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to inspect the explosion area and draw up an appropriate report with recording all the circumstances. We also call on the guarantor countries of the Minsk agreements to use possible pressure on Ukraine so that a thorough investigation is carried out and that all those responsible for this crime are brought to justice.

This issue will also be raised at the next meeting of the Contact Group. DPR Representatives will make every effort to ensure that the international community is fully aware of the lawlessness and provocations that Kiev suits - with all the consequences for the Ukrainian authorities of disseminating truthful information about their criminal acts," Natalia Nikonorova emphasized.

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Denis Pushilin reports a terrorist attack by the Ukrainian armed forces

On July 16, a low-pressure gas pipeline exploded in the densely populated Budyonnovsky district of Donetsk.

"According to the preliminary investigation results, we have come to the conclusion there had been committed an act of terrorism! A deliberate sabotage by the Ukrainian armed formations caused an explosion of a gas pipeline, which cut off gas supply to over a thousand households. Civilians could have been killed in the explosion. Miraculously, this has been averted!

We request the guarantor countries – France, Germany, and Russia – to register the warfare methods banned not under the Minsk agreements alone, but also under other norms and conventions.

These are terrorist methods of war that the Ukrainian armed formations resirt to!", the Head of the Donetsk People's Republic said.

At 2:30 p.m. on July 16, a low-pressure gas pipeline exploded and burst into flames in the Budyonnovsky district of Donetsk. The fire was completely extinguished by the DPR Emergencies Ministry at 3:25 p.m.


The Russia-Donbass: Unity of Priorities integration forum has been launched in Donetsk today, on July 15. According to a correspondent of the DPR Official Website, the forum is being attended by state, public and political figures of the Russian Federation, the DPR, the LPR, and the Republic of South Ossetia. The forum was organised by the Russian Centre under the aegis of All-Russia United Russia political party.

Denis Pushilin, Head of the Donetsk People's Republic, addressed the forum participants with a welcoming speech.

"Dear compatriots!

Donbass has always felt part of the Great Russia. The choice we made in 2014 was neither spontaneous nor surprising. Its historical preconditions are outlined in the recent article by Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin. He writes that in early 1918, the Donetsk-Krivoy Rog Republic – the predecessor of the People's Republics of Donbass – requested Moscow to become part of Russia.

But Donbass is linked to the Russian Federation not only historically. We share strong bonds of kinship, culture and economy. Today it is a civilizationally advanced state and one of the leading countries in terms of developing innovative approaches to science and economy.

Russia is a latter-day country. [This includes] modernisation of production processes, the Space Programme, powerful shipbuilding industry and scientific discoveries in the Arctic and Antarctic, research by physicists and mathematicians, information technology that is transforming the world right now, and advancement in microbiology and medicine, which has been proved by the creation of vaccines against the Ebola and Covid viruses.

All of this is backed by a strong educational base. The achievements of modern Russia in science have not come as the result of random geniuses' success. It is the result of systematic work which is gaining momentum before our eyes.

There is a plenty of road for young people in Russia, there are various educational and professional projects. Conditions are being created to support young families and families with children, including through a system of complementary benefits and various assistance measures.

"A well-functioning, stable family with children is the future of Russia," Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a recent United Russia party congress.

With us today are deputies representing the United Russia party. Your presence here means a lot to us. On behalf of all the people of Donbass, I would like to express our sincere appreciation of your comprehensive support. We understand that it is through Russia's help that Donbass is alive and well. And this is largely owing to you – genuine patriots, members of the United Russia party.

Dear friends!

In this hall we have brought together those who have proved their passion and loyalty to Russia. In the republics, there are millions of people who have been defending the Russian World and their right to be Russians since 2014.

We are all set to cast our vote in the elections to the State Duma in September. The Russian Federation citizens living in the Donbass republics will be able to vote in person at polling stations in the Rostov region. Along with that, those registered at the public services portal will be able to participate in remote e-voting.

Donbass is a heartland of Russian patriots, with its most concerned sons and daughters concentrated here.

More than half a million citizens of the Russian Federation live in the Donetsk and Lugansk people's republics. Many of them are at the front line. The Ukrainian army daily shoots at Russian citizens, destroys their homes and schools where their children study. I would like to emphasize: the Ukrainian army targets Russian citizens.

More than 1,500 residents received Russian passports in the frontline villages of Gorlovka alone: 139 in the long-suffering Zaitsevo, 324 in the village of Glubokaya Mine, and 297 in Nikitovka. 241 Russian citizens live in Golma, which underwent mortar fire just three days ago.

These people have not abandoned their land, enduring all the hardships of war and risking their lives. They are being defended by members of the People's Militia, who keep the enemy down with retaliatory fire. They are fulfilling their sacred constitutional duty and civic responsibility to defend Donbass, and therefore Russia.

In 2014 we rose to defend the Russian World and we have not withdrawn from the defense line so far. This is our responsibility, and we bear it in full.

But the citizens of the Russian Federation living in Donbass must also be granted all the rights which are guaranteed by their citizenship, to be fully engaged in the social and economic life of the Russian Federation. Integration into the Russian systems of social security, education, medicine and compulsory medical insurance, and subscription to public services – those are all things that all Russians are entitled to.

We are part of the Great Russia. But it goes beyonf the borders of the Rostov, Voronezh, Belgorod, Kursk, and Bryansk regions.

Kiev and Chernigov, Odessa and Nikolayev, Dnepropetrovsk and Zaporozhye, Kharkov and Kirovograd are Russian cities. Hundreds of thousands of Russian citizens now live in Ukraine. And they are subject to genocide, extermination.

I would like to quote Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin one more time:

"It would not be an exaggeration to say that the path of forced assimilation, the formation of an ethnically pure Ukrainian state, aggressive towards Russia, is comparable in its consequences to the use of weapons of mass destruction against us."

I will continue with another quote. A woman from Mariupol, whose name I will not mention for obvious reasons, wrote to me. I will cite her message in full: "I would like to assure you and the whole of Russia that Mariupol will not fail, the people are in Russia with all their souls. We proved this at the referendum on 11 May 2014, when 100 per cent of the population voted for the DPR and Russia, and the sentiment has not changed in seven years, on the contrary it has become more acute. Get the word out to Russia that we are Russian people and that's the end of it."(End of quote.)

Russia extends as far as people speak Russia and live in Russian tradition according to the Russian moral law and in the truth. This truth is the strength of the Russian people," Denis Pushilin said.

Head of the Donetsk People's Republic Denis Pushilin took part in the Vremya Pokazhet show on the Channel One Russia and answered questions put by the anchor on air on Tuesday, July 13.

One of the burning discussion subjects was the article by Vladimir Putin ”On the Historical Unity of Russians and Ukrainians“, in which, among other things, there were raised issues related to Donbass.

"Apparently, and I am becoming more and more convinced of this: Kiev simply does not need Donbass. Why? Because, firstly, the inhabitants of these regions will never accept the order that they have tried and are trying to impose by force, blockade and threats. And secondly, the outcome of both Minsk‑1 and Minsk‑2 which give a real chance to peacefully restore the territorial integrity of Ukraine by coming to an agreement directly with the DPR and LPR with Russia, Germany and France as mediators, contradicts the entire logic of the anti-Russia project. And it can only be sustained by the constant cultivation of the image of an internal and external enemy. And I would add – under the protection and control of the Western powers," an extract from the article was quoted.

– Good evening, Denis Vladimirovich! You may have already seen the article by Vladimir Putin, and I believe you will find it hard to argue that Kiev does not need Donbass. But then why do they so frequently state their desire to return the allegedly "annexed" territories? – Ruslan Ostashko asked.

– They have to make such statements and will continue to do so because this is the only opportunity to present Russia as 'aggressor', to preserve sanctions and to have financial developments in which the current Ukraine has a vested interest. Therefore, that is nothing new. We are living in this paradigm – with the understanding that Ukraine has not needed Donbass for a long time. With the understanding that Ukraine definitely doesn't need the people of Donbass. Accordingly, we had to build our statehood during the period while Kiev was failing to implement the Minsk agreements. Technically, we continue doing this to this day, the Head of the DPR said.

– Denis Vladimirovich, what have you personally read and understood from this article? What have people of Donbass taken from it? Maybe there is a new hope, because the issue of reviewing the Ukrainian borders probably concerns the residents of Donbass in the first place, the next question was put.

– Revising Ukraine's borders is a topical issue, and we are extremely pleased that this issue is being raised in this kind of discussion, as a signal for now. But nevertheless, we can see that if the issue of protecting the rights of citizens has been resolved with the DPR and LNR – except for the contact line and shelling – then as for the Russians, Russian speakers living in other territories – I am talking about Kharkov, Odessa, and other regions – there is a big problem with that issue. And we are also puzzled because there live our friends, our relatives, who have no opportunity not only to speak their native language to the full extent, but are now excluded from the indigenous peoples list. Other decisions are also made, in the form of draft laws for now. But we can see the trend that Ukraine is following now, we can see that these discriminatory laws may well be introduced in the very near future. Accordingly, the rights of Russians and Russian speakers will continue to be infringed upon. Are we ready to put up with this? No, we are not. We are very pleased that Russia is still paying quite considerable attention to this, even at such a level – at the presidential level, Denis Pushilin stressed.

– Denis Vladimirovich, are the Republic residents ready to participate in the historical reclamation and to return Ukraine to the borders of 1922, which the President is talking about. To be more precise, to help return Ukraine back to the borders of 1922. Because this is the first time the issue has been raised at such a high level, and I think it may well be followed by certain actions. You are just the first to demonstrate that it is possible, the anchor said.

– In fact, we consider that this would be fair. Well, secondly, we have been demonstrating our intentions – and not just to talk, but to take actions – since 2014, the Head of State concluded.