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Russia doesn’t plan to annex occupied Donbas, Peskov says

The Kremlin isn’t considering annexing the occupied territories of Donbas into the Russian Federation, Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists on March 17, as reported by Interfax news agency. “You know that various discussions are being held,” he said. “You know the attitude expressed numerous times by the representatives of Donbas. But there aren’t any written scripts on this matter.” At the same time, Russia will recognize the newly issued passports of the self-declared Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics and provide humanitarian aid, he said.


Zenon Zawada: The territories of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions (collectively known as “Donbas”) occupied by Russian forces are more valuable in their current undefined status rather than being annexed by Russia. The status quo is useful in the sense that (a) Putin manipulates the military conflict in his negotiations with Western leaders, (b) Putin can use the military conflict to get concessions on Crimea, (c) the occupied territories serve as a valuable instrument of political destabilization in Ukraine and (d) the occupied territories serve as a drain on the Ukrainian budget.

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