Disinfo: Reconnecting Donbas with Ukraine is unrealistic


The people of Donbas has drawn a line against the regime in Kyiv. You cannot work with a country whose army shelled you. The people of Donbas has shown the will to live in the Russian world.

The war has made a comeback to Ukraine unlikely, no offence to the new President Zelenskyy.

The Russian army has never occupied Donbas. As Russia grants citizenship to the inhabitants of the region, it will now be populated by Russian citizens. What appears to be a provocation of the Kremlin for Western capitals will perhaps become a factor of pacification of the region.


Distributing Russian citizenship to the inhabitants of Donbas is a violation of the international law and such citizenship won't be recognised by the international community, as it was prior the case with the inhabitants of Georgia to whom Russia started "passportisation", or Crimea.

The EU condemns "passportisation" and estimates it as a step which aims to destabilise Ukraine further, as it was stated by the Spokesperson of the EU External Action:  "The signature by President Putin of a decree entitling, inter alia, people who permanently reside in certain areas of Ukraine's Donetsk and Luhansk regions to apply for Russian citizenship in a simplified manner, is another attack on Ukraine's sovereignty by Russia. The timing of such a decision immediately after Ukraine’s Presidential election, which demonstrated Ukraine's strong attachment to democracy and the rule of law, shows Russia’s intention to further destabilise Ukraine and to exacerbate the conflict. We expect Russia to refrain from actions that are against the Minsk agreements and impede the full reintegration of the non-Government controlled areas into Ukraine". Reed full statement here.

The United States condemned the decision by President Putin to provide expedited Russian citizenship to Ukrainians living in Russia-controlled eastern Ukraine. "Russia, through this highly provocative action, is intensifying its assault on Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. President Putin’s decision creates a serious obstacle to the implementation of the Minsk agreements and the reintegration of the Donbas region. The Minsk agreements, signed by Russia, call for the full restoration of Ukrainian government control over eastern Ukraine", one can read in the US government's statement.

The impossibility to reconnect the Russia-controlled regions to Ukraine because of anti-Ukrainian views of its population is speculation. By 2016, 1 870 000 people moved as refugees from Donetsk and Luhansk occupied regions, as well as from Crimea to the rest of Ukraine and about 800 000 to 1 million moved to Russia.

The residents of Donbas enroll in Ukrainian universities without exams and lacking Ukrainian documents, that are impossible to obtain in "Donetsk/ Luhansk people's republics". A measure introduced in order to avoid the necessity of multiple crossing of the front line, considered dangerous for the remaining residents of Donbas. In 2016-2018, thousands have been enrolled in Ukrainian universities.

Despite difficulties, occupied Donbas' residents also receive pensions from the Ukrainian side.

See previous debunks on "civil war in Ukraine".


  • Reported in: Issue157
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 28/06/2019
  • Language/target audience: French
  • Country: Russia, Ukraine
  • Keywords: Eastern Ukraine, Donbas


Cases in the EUvsDisinfo database focus on messages in the international information space that are identified as providing a partial, distorted, or false depiction of reality and spread key pro-Kremlin messages. This does not necessarily imply, however, that a given outlet is linked to the Kremlin or editorially pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. EUvsDisinfo publications do not represent an official EU position, as the information and opinions expressed are based on media reporting and analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force.

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