Updated 8:13 p.m. Moscow time
DONETSK, October 10 (RIA Novosti) - The banking system in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) in eastern Ukraine will be fully integrated into the Russian banking system, DPR leader Alexander Zakharchenko said Friday.
"The measure will allow us to start paying pensiona and salaries, it will help us jump-start our economy," Zakharchenko said at a meeting with his Oplot movement activists.
Ukraine's National Bank has stopped banking operations in areas controlled by independence supporters in eastern Ukraine. DPR authorities are currently collecting taxes and paying salaries and pensions in cash.
Earlier on Friday, DPR Education Minister Igor Kostenok told RIA Novosti that Kiev has cut all funding to the regional educational system, also blocking its bank accounts. This forced local authorities to acquire Russian banking accounts to be used by the DPR Ministry of Education and Science as well as schools and higher educational institutions in the region.
The status of Ukraine's southeastern regions remains a matter of debate between Kiev authorities and independence supporters.
On September 16, the Ukrainian parliament approved a bill granting special status to the self-proclaimed Luhansk and Donetsk people's republics for the next three years.
The law also gave the Ukrainian Cabinet and other central executive bodies the power to sign agreements with local administrative bodies on social, economic, cultural and other issues.
The authorities of DPR and LPR (the self-proclaimed Luhansk People's Republic) claim they want full independence and will not agree to any status that regards them as parts of Ukraine.
In April, Ukraine's southeastern regions became the target of Kiev's military operation, launched in response to the local residents' refusal to recognize the new Ukrainian government which came to power as a result of the February coup.
The two sides signed a ceasefire agreement on September 5 in Minsk, which also envisaged the granting of special status to the Donetsk and Luhansk regions and ensuring early elections of DPR and LPR heads.