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#Official Commentary of Elena Melnick on establishment of Integration Committee “Russia – Donbass”

On March 17, a constituent meeting of the Integration Committee “Russia – Donbass” was held in the Crimea. We can say without exaggeration that it is a historic event.

The head of our state, Alexander Zakharchenko, said more than once that the interests of citizens were a priority and would be a defining vector in the development of the Republic. Donetsk made its choice three years ago in the referendum on self-determination of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics. We see our future in close cooperation with Russia. And the establishment of the Integration Committee “Russia-Donbass” is an important step in this direction. This committee will function as a permanent public structure whose main task is to strengthen the process of economic, humanitarian, social and cultural integration of Donbass with Russia.

The ongoing blockade of our republics by Ukraine has played a significant role in the establishment of this public organization. Within the framework of the Minsk agreements, the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics have met their commitments. The Ukrainian side is violating them constantly and the formal imposition of the blockade of Donbass has once again demonstrated its unwillingness to resolve the conflict. The establishment of the Integration Committee is a response in this sense.

The challenge before the authorities of the People’s Republics is to ensure the development of Donbass. We tried to establish economic ties with Ukraine under the Minsk agreements, but we got a blockade in return. Therefore, the development of Donbass is possible only through integration with Russia at the moment.

The first meeting of the Integration Committee discussed the prospects for cooperation and specific joint projects in the economic, cultural and educational fields. More meetings are scheduled to be held before the end of 2017, including meetings in Donbass itself.

Elena Melnick, the DPR People’s Council deputy, the Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Policy, International Relations, Information Policy and Information Technology

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