MOSCOW, May 12. /TASS/. Sooner or later the Ukrainian side will have to sit down at the negotiating table with the leaders of the self-proclaimed republics in Donetsk and Lugansk (DPR and LPR) as they were elected by Donbass residents and enjoy their support, a Russian political analyst said on Wednesday.
"In the process of peace settlement, the Ukrainian side will have to speak with [DPR leader Alexander] Zakharchenko and [LPR leader Igor] Plotnitsky. They were elected in direct general polls. They put their signatures under the Minsk agreements. According to sociologists, they enjoy support from the majority of residents," Alexey Chesnakov, director of the Political Situation Center.
Over the two years of the republics’ existence, the DPR and LPR leaders have established themselves as real leaders of their republics whose "political positions are only enhancing," he said.
"And finally, both Zakharchenko and Plotnitsky have been recognized by Russia as legitimate representatives of Donbass. Russian president’s aide Vladislav Surkov told this unequivocally at a recent meeting with experts. He said Zakharchenko and Plotnitsky ‘are sure to continue working until their offices expire in 2018’ and may run for the second term," Chesnakov noted.
According to the expert, reports about possible resignation of the Donbass republics’ leaders "are nothing but allegations of the Ukrainian authorities which are suffering from an acute feeling of defeat in the face of a dialogue with uncomfortable and strong opponents who have managed to defend their independence with weapons in their hands."