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MOSCOW, April 6. /TASS/. Russia has never doubted Donbas being part of Ukraine, Alexey Pushkov, the chairman of the international committee of the Russian State Duma lower parliament house, said on Monday.
"Russia’s position is as follows: eastern regions of Ukraine are part of Ukraine, unlike Crimea, which was once incorporated into Ukraine as a result of a historic confusion. Today, no one casts any doubts that eastern regions are Ukrainian territory," he said, adding that it was absolutely clear that Russia had no claims on those territories.
Pushkov stressed that the Russian side saw it as its task "to ensure the interests of Russian population in that region," such as a special status of this territory and the unconditional right to use the Russian language. "And if they tell us this is another country, we will say — look at how the French insisted on ensuring maximally wide rights of the French-speaking population in Quebec and the Canadians had to reckon with that," he noted.
The Russian lawmaker also voiced skepticism of a popular idea in Ukraine that "Donbas is an additional burden" for the country, which is to be "cut off and left in the past." "I don’t believe that the current Kiev authorities will be able to make such decision due to political considerations," Pushkov underscored.