DONETSK, July 15. /TASS/. The people of Donbass have historically perceived this region as a part of the Russian state and have been defending this position since 2014, including by armed resistance, Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) head Denis Pushilin said, opening the "Russia-Donbass: the unity of priorities" forum on Thursday.
"We are a part of the greater Russia. It does not end at the borders of Rostov, Voronezh, Belgorod, Kursk, and Bryansk regions. Kiev and Chernigov, Odessa and Nikolayev, Dnepropetrovsk and Zaporoshye, Kharkov and Kirovograd - those are Russian cities. Hundreds of thousands of Russian citizens currently live in Ukraine," Pushilin said, adding that their rights are currently violated by the Ukrainian authorities.
According to Pushilin, the choice made by the people in 2014 was neither spontaneous nor unexpected.
"Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin wrote about its historic premises in his recent article. He said there that, in early 1918, the Donets-Krivoy Rog Soviet Republic - the predecessor of the modern Donbass People’s Republics - contacted Moscow with a request of accession to Russia," Pushilin reminded.
He underscored that Donbass was tied to Russia by family, cultural, and economic ties.
"Donbass is a motherlode of patriots of Russia, it concentrates Russia’s most passionate sons and daughters," he said. "In 2014, we rose in defense of the Russian world, and we have remained at the line of defense ever since. This is our responsibility, which we carry in full".
About the forum
The "Russia-Donbass" forum takes place in Donetsk with support from Russia’s United Russia political party. Its participants include several senior Russian lawmakers, political and public figures, scientists, teachers, students, activists of Russia and the Donetsk republics.
The participants will discuss Russia’s achievements in key social spheres, exchange their opinions on the improvement of the international partnership and integrational processes between Russia and Donbass. Special attention will be paid to Moscow’s efforts on the protection of Russian-speakers beyond the Russian state.