Russia has never doubt Donbass being part of Ukraine, Alexey Pushkov, the head of the Russian State Duma international affairs committee told Govorit Moskva radio station on April 6.
“Russia’s stand is as follows: the eastern part of Ukraine is part of Ukraine, unlike Crimea, which was once incorporated into Ukraine because of a historic confusion,” Pushkov said. He said “no one doubts that it is a Ukrainian territory,” it is clear to everyone that Russia does not claim it.
Pushkov said Russia sees it as its task "to ensure the interests of Russian population in that region." In particular, he pointed at a special status of the territory and the unconditional right of the local population to use the Russian language. "And if they tell us that this is a different country, we will say — look at how the French insisted that the French-speaking population in Quebec had maximum possible rights and the Canadians were reluctant to reckon with that," he said.
Pushkov is skeptical about the opinion in Ukraine suggesting that “Donbass is additional burden, which must be cut off and left in the past.” “I do not believe that the incumbent authorities in Kiev can make such a politically motivated decision,” Pushkov said.