Calling on the U.S. to set up military bases in the territory of Ukraine, Zelensky’s team is seeking to blackmail and press Moscow, Head of the Donetsk People’s Republic Denis Pushilin stated in an interview with the PolitNavigator news agency. He also spoke about the reasons why the DPR parliament had made it legal to transfer the property of Ukrainian banks to the Republican ownership, and the prospects for Donbass residents to participate in this year’s Duma elections.

– Shortly before the May holidays, the DPR parliament passed a decision to have Ukrainian banks’ property nationalised. What will be the consequences of this decision and why was it taken?

– The resolution of the issue had been long overdue. The Donetsk People’s Republic has now been in existence for seven years. There was enough time to re-register their property, to appoint managers to oversee the property; to settle all the issues in accordance with the legal norms. But no owners have shown up, no taxes have been paid, and the property was simply falling into disrepair because there was nobody to look after it.

According to this law, the property of Ukrainian banks will now be transferred to the ownership of the Donetsk People’s Republic. This will enable the effective use of existing resources for the benefit of the state and its citizens.

Further on, the Government of the Republic will deal with the identification and use of these facilities.

– What are the prospects for the Donbass residents to participate in the State Duma elections? What would this change, because, as we know, even in the current convocation a number of Duma deputies regularly visit the DPR and the LPR – in other words, there seem to be enough lobbyists without residents’ participation in the elections already? What signals did Andrey Turchak deliver during his recent visit to Donetsk?

– There are already more than half a million eligible citizens of the Russian Federation living in the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics. They are entitled to the same rights as the Russian citizens living in Russia. And one of their constitutional rights is the opportunity to participate in elections.

Last year, DPR residents were already enabled to exercise their right to vote for amendments to the Russian Constitution.

The residents of Donbass want to be involved in shaping Russia’s future and are approaching this issue with the utmost responsibility. I am certain that this year they will also be able to vote in the State Duma elections.

The question of how the voting process will work for our residents who have been granted Russian citizenship is under consideration. There are two possible ways of having this done: either by travelling to the territory of the Russian Federation or through e-voting.

Russia has been providing humanitarian assistance of all kinds to the Donbass residents for seven years, and therefore we are always happy to welcome friends of the Donetsk People’s Republic on a visit. And I consider Andrey Anatolievich’s visit to the celebrations to be yet another proof that Russia supports its citizens.

– Against the backdrop of Russia’s recent military exercises near its western borders, Kiev politicians have called for the deployment of “U.S. battalions and air defence units throughout south Ukraine.” In fact, this is the first time we have witnessed public agitation for the deployment of U.S. bases. Do you think this is in line with the case recently mentioned by President Putin, when generous gifts from Russia are exploited by the limitrophs to the detriment of the Russian Federation?

– Such calls were made by the head of Zelensky’s office, Andrey Yermak, a representative of the already new government, which had come to power under the slogan of peace in Donbass, but in practice has proved to be incapable of resolving the conflict peacefully.

In flirting with the U.S. administration, Kiev officials are ready to plunge the country into military adventures. By creating the illusion of possible aggression on the part of Russia, it distracts attention from the further deterioration of the social and economic situation in Ukraine.

This is not the first and, I believe, not the last attempt of the Ukrainian authorities to beg for military assistance from their Western handlers. In 2018, for example, Zelensky’s predecessors appealed to the U.S. to set up a military base in its territory.

For what purpose is Kiev planning to establish such military facilities? Certainly to blackmail and press Moscow. Thus, attempts are being made to harm Russia itself from the territories which have historically been Russia’s geopolitical space. Vladimir Putin has warned about the inadmissibility of precisely such a scenario.