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Kremlin Continues to Play Double Game on Donbas Issue

Kremlin Russia

The issue of Donbas joining the Russian Federation is neither directly nor indirectly on the agenda, Russian president’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov said while commenting on the words of Russian propagandist Margarita Simonyan about the need to “accede” Donbas to Russia.

“Margarita Simonyan is a media manager and journalist. She cannot declare the official position of the Russian Federation. Such an issue is not on the agenda… Russia takes a consistent and responsible position in protecting the interests of the Russian-speaking population in Donbas and will continue to defend ‘Russians’,” Peskov said.

At the same time, he once again used the narrative of Russian propaganda about the “internal crisis” in Ukraine that Russia is helping to resolve.

The day before, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation called the statement by the editor-in-chief of Rossiya Segodnya and Russia Today TV channels, Margarita Simonyan, about the “accession” of Donbas her personal opinion.

As a reminder, on 28 January, at the Russian Donbas forum that took place in the occupied Donetsk, Margarita Simonyan declared that residents of eastern Ukraine “want to live at home” and called on Russia to “accede” this Ukrainian region as it was made earlier with Crimea.

In addition to Simonyan, the forum was attended by her husband, TV host Tigran Keosayan, journalist and pro-Putin member of the Moscow City Duma Roman Babayan and another Russian MP Andrei Kozenko.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine stated that it would initiate a ban on the entry of Tigran Keosayan into Ukraine.

According to Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleh Nikolenko, Simonyan and Babayan have long been banned from entry. He also added that the arrival of Russian propagandists in Donetsk shows that “the staples of the ‘Russian world’ in the occupied Ukrainian territories are not so unshakable.”

Bohdan Marusyak

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