The Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) must “immediately” hold a “referendum” on joining Russia, its civic chamber said on Monday. The call comes shortly after a similar move was made by the civic chamber of the Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR).
Addressing the head of the DPR, Denis Pushilin, the chamber said the time for “decisive actions” has come, urging him to hold the vote as soon as possible.
“All of us feel and know for a long time that Donbass is Russia, we have been fighting for this for eight long years. For this, we daily suffer strikes on our homes, streets, hospitals, schools and kindergartens,” the head of the chamber, Aleksander Kofman, said in a statement.
We want the border of the Russian Federation to lie between us and Ukraine! We want to become again a part of one big Motherland – Russia. The people of Donbass deserve it!
Earlier in the day, a similar call was made by the civic chamber of the LPR. It urged the head of the republic, Leonid Pasechnik, as well as the local legislature, to hold a referendum on joining Russia as soon as possible.
A similar stance has been set out by the authorities in the southern Ukrainian region of Kherson, which is currently controlled by Russian forces. The head of the so-called military-civilian administration, Kirill Stremousov, said the region’s residents “want guarantees that we will become a part of the Russian Federation.”
“Residents of Kherson Region call upon… and want to hold a referendum as soon as possible, because they are afraid that Russia might leave,” Stremousov told RIA Novosti.
Russia sent troops into Ukraine on February 24, citing Kiev’s failure to implement the Minsk agreements, designed to give the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk special status within the Ukrainian state. The protocols, brokered by Germany and France, were first signed in 2014. Former Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko has since admitted that Kiev’s main goal was to use the ceasefire to buy time and “create powerful armed forces.”
In February 2022, the Kremlin recognized the Donbass republics as independent states and demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join any Western military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked.