Lavrov on Donbass Referendums: DPR, LPR Want to Be 'Masters of Their Own Destiny'
11:36 GMT 20.09.2022 (Updated: 20:57 GMT 19.10.2022)
© Sputnik / Sergey AverinFlags of Russia, DPR and LPR
© Sputnik / Sergey Averin
The two Donbass republics announced their plans to hold referendums to join Russia on September 19, while the Kherson and Zaporozhye administrations informed of similar plans today.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has stated that the fact that the Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) and Lugansk People's Republic (LPR) decided to hold referendums to join Russia demonstrates that the Donbass republics want to be "masters of their own destiny".
"From the very beginning of the special military operation [in Ukraine] and in the days preceding it, we said that the peoples [of Donbass] should decide their fate. And the current situation confirms that they want to be masters of their own destiny," Lavrov said.
The DPR and LPR announced their plans to simultaneously hold referendums to join Russia following the respective requests from their Civil Councils. The bills ordering the holding of referendums were passed by the republics' parliaments the next day and voting is scheduled to be held between September 23 and 27.
The administrations of Kherson and Zaporozhye also announced on September 20 plans for holding similar referendums to join Russia in the near future. No dates for them have been announced yet.
The DPR and LPR declared their independence in 2014 amid fears in the two former regions of Ukraine that new nationalist politicians, who came to power via a West-backed coup, would infringe on their rights to freely use the Russian language. The Russian-speaking population is dominant in Lugansk and Donetsk.
New Kiev authorities launched a military operation against the Donbass republics, killing thousands of civilians over the past eight years. The attempts to resolve the conflict peacefully, promoted by Russia, fell apart as Ukrainian officials failed to implement the agreed-upon plan of reintegration of the DPR and LPR.
Russia launched the special military operation in Ukraine on February 24 in response to the DPR and LPR requests to protect them against Ukrainian attacks. Several days prior, Moscow recognized their statehood.