Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard 18:42:48 20/01/2017 Mk.ru The leaders of the Donbass Republics who were in Crimea on the occasion of the 363rd anniversary of the Pereyaslav Rada, said that the events of 2014 in the Peninsula opened the way for the return to the bosom of the Russian world. “MK” learned from experts specifically they meant, and what hopes, given the hardline position of Russia, concerning the joining of the DPR and LPR as part of our country. Solemn events in honor of the 363rd anniversary of the joining of the territories of the Zaporizhia Cossack communities in the Russian Tsardom were held in Simferopol. The main celebrations started on Wednesday. On the morning of 18.01.17, the “Russian community of Crimea” held a solemn meeting dedicated to the historical date of the oath of allegiance of the Cossacks, led by Hetman Bogdan Khmelnytsky, to Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich. The heads of the Republics of Donbass, together with their delegations, took part in the festivities. Thursday was the final day of the official visit of Aleksandr Zakharchenko and Igor Plotnitsky to the Peninsula, and on this day a forum “With Russia forever” took place. The leader LPR Igor Plotnitsky said at a press conference that it is precisely the events on the Peninsula that opened the way to the Russian world. He is white with envy looking at Crimea, which has already passed this way, and hoped that Donbass will come to it too. However, the hopes of the leaders of Donbass for joining Russia contradict the Minsk agreements, and Russia also expressed opposition to this idea. “MK” learned from experts with what purpose, in their opinion, did the leaders of Lugansk and Donetsk arrive in Simferopol. Rostislav Ishchenko, President, Center for System Analysis and Forecasting: “If Zaharchenko with Plotnitsky for the first time expressed the desire to repeat the fate of Crimea, it would be a sensation, but they have been saying this for more than one year. The economy of the Republics is already directly tied to Russia, for objective reasons, the ruble has replaced the hryvnia from the market. Of course, it happened not without the guilt of Kiev. To travel from Donetsk to Mariupol now is harder than to reach Moscow. Zakharchenko and Plotnitsky represent the will of the residents of Donbass, who are not ready to return to Ukraine, they want to become a part of Russia. The joining of Donbass is a question of time, but not of principle. At the moment, it is impossible for technical reasons, but it’s just a delayed decision. Ukraine as a state exists only virtually. It is a country of zombies. There will no longer be a holistic unified Ukraine. All regions have their own plans – Lvov has its one, Odessa another. Donbass does not want to repeat the fate of Transnistria and Moldova, with such options all will lose, to coexist with Kiev will be problematic.” Oleg Tsarev, Ukrainian politician, former Deputy of the Verkhovna Rada: “Now the entire South-East of Ukraine looks with envy at Crimea. But I think that at first the heads of the Republics have to concentrate on solving domestic problems and to improve the lives of ordinary people. It is clear that in the period of hostilities it is difficult to do, but if the residents of Donbass will feel more secure and better than the citizens of the rest of Ukraine, then we will conquer Ukraine without war. Already now the standard of living in the Republics is higher than in Ukraine, but it is necessary that it becomes higher in multiples. So, I repeat, it is necessary to first improve the lives of ordinary people. To say that Donbass will never be part of Russia — I can’t. Now, in Eastern Ukraine the situation is such that anything can happen”. Copyright © 2017. All Rights Reserved.