MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Moscow does not plan to integrate the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics into Russia, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Thursday.
"The question itself is absurd. For many years now both President [Vladimir] Putin and Russian representatives at various levels have said that Moscow does not try to integrate the unrecognized republics of Donbass, the DPR and LPR, into Russia," Peskov told reporters.
"So such publications are naive and rather primitive news items," he said.
Bloomberg reported earlier Thursday citing three sources close to Russia's leadership that Putin’s "real strategy in Ukraine is to fully separate the two border areas known as the Donbass through incremental integration with Russia".
In February 2015, Kiev forces and Donbass independence supporters signed a peace agreement in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. The deal stipulates a full ceasefire, weapons withdrawal from the line of contact in Donbass, as well as constitutional reforms that would give a special status to the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics. Despite the agreement brokered by the Normandy Four states (Russia, France, Germany and Ukraine), the ceasefire regime is regularly violated, with both sides accusing each other of multiple breaches, undermining the terms of the accord.