Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told the German newspaper Der Spiegel in an interview that he does not believe the results of the surveys which claim that most inhabitants of the self-proclaimed Donbas republics say they want to live in Russia.
“I know that there are those who support Ukraine. The are those who have gotten lost. And there are those who are in favor of Russia. The latter can leave,” said Ukraine’s head of state.
Zelensky said that each person can choose where he wants to live. However, he said that it is dishonest to say while in Ukrainian territory “I’m a citizen of Russia and this is my land.” “It shouldn’t be like that,” said the president.
As for those who have “gotten lost”, Zelensky is referring to people who have kept their Ukrainian passport but simultaneously obtained a Russian passport in order to receive social support from both sides. “I don’t have the moral right to reproach them for it. We need to fight to bring these people back. But I won’t fight for those who consider themselves exclusively Russian,” the Ukrainian president added.
According to a survey conducted in the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics in October, 42.9% of Donbas residents said that they have never considered obtaining Russian citizenship, another 34.2% said that they have thought about it, and 7.4% had already obtained a Russian passport. However, 57.8% of the polled residents of the DPR and LPR called themselves Ukrainian citizens.
Furthermore, 80.8% of the respondents had never considered leaving the Donbas, 11.1% would agree to move to Russia, another 5.2% to the rest of Ukraine.