DONETSK, August 8 (RIA Novosti) — The Supreme Council of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) approved field commander Alexander Zakharchenko as the republic’s new prime minister, a RIA Novosti correspondent reported Friday.
Zakharchenko’s appointment, which followed the resignation of Alexander Borodai from the post, was approved by over 50 lawmakers, with six abstentions and one «no» vote.
Former Prime Minister Borodai, who tendered his resignation Thursday, will serve as first deputy prime minister and chief adviser to his successor.
A Moscow-native, Borodai said the leader of the DPR had to be a Donetsk-native, as Zakharchenko, who has also been an outspoken leader of a unit of independence supporters called Oplot.
The fighting in eastern Ukraine broke out in mid-April, when, following a February 22 coup, the newly-instated Ukrainian government launched a military operation to suppress independence supporters, who have refused to acknowledge the new authorities. According to the latest UN report, the conflict has claimed the lives of more than 1,100 civilians since then, with nearly 3,500 injured.
Moscow has repeatedly condemned Kiev’s «war against own people» and urged an immediate stop to the punitive operation, advocating a peaceful resolution to the crisis.