“After the first drop of blood was spilled here, we can only speak about one thing: What kind of neighbors will we be? Good or bad?” Zakharchenko said during a briefing in the republic’s capital of Donetsk.
When Zakharchenko was earlier asked by students why they could not travel to Kiev, the Donetsk leader said they were allowed.
“You can go to Lviv or to Kiev, but as soon as we become independent and insist on recognizing us as a state, then we will go to the borders of our republic and decide what to do in the future with Ukraine,” Zakharchenko added.
Southeastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk refused to recognize the legitimacy of the new Kiev government that came to power following the February 2014 regime change in Ukraine. The regions held successful referendums on self-determination and soon after declared themselves independent Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics (DPR and LPR).
Kiev, refusing to recognize DPR and LPR as sovereign states, launched a military operation in April 2014 to suppress independence in the region.
A breakthrough ceasefire agreement was reached between the warring sides September 2014 but both parties have repeatedly accused each of violating the truce.
Clashes between Kiev forces and DPR militia have intensified sharply since the beginning of 2015.