“Whatever happens in Minsk, DPR is an independent state and will never be a part of Ukraine,” Zakharchenko said during a meeting with residents of the town of Oktyabrsky, which repeatedly has been subject to shelling by Kiev-led forces.
The region proclaimed independence from Ukraine in April 2014 amid a standoff with authorities in Kiev. Following the start of the military operation against southeast’s militias the same month, the Donetsk region held a referendum in May and finalized its secession, creating a people’s republic with its own government in Donetsk. The vote has not been internationally acknowledged.
The recent escalation of tensions in the region has so far hindered the progress in talks between the warring parties.