Ukraine could grant special status to the Donbas, the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin stated in an interview with Austrian TV channel ORF.
Putin reminded the journalists that the same thing happened in Russia with Chechnya, which was granted the status that gave it a "great degree of independence within the Russian Federation".
According to Putin, the decision was "very difficult" but it had to be taken because Al‑Qaeda terrorists wanted "to tear off" Chechnya, creating an Islamic Caliphate from the Black Sea to the Caspian Sea.
"But the Chechen people made an entirely different decision during voting," the President noted. Putin stressed that Russia is "very happy" about the decision of the residents of Chechnya and remains committed to the achieved agreements with them.
According to Putin, Ukraine could end the armed conflict in the Donbas in the same way. "Why has this not been done yet?" he asked.
The USA, EU and other Western countries imposed sanctions against Russia because of the annexation of the Crimea and because Russia granted aid to separatists in Eastern Ukraine.
State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert has claimed that the most dangerous place for Russian-speaking people to live is in eastern Ukraine, where Russia is "protecting" them.
"Russia has claimed it wants to protect Russian speakers, but as our Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations, Kurt Volker has pointed out on numerous occasions, there’s nowhere in the world more dangerous for Russian speakers right now than in eastern Ukraine," she said.
On May 16, State Department spokesman for Ukraine Kurt Volker stated that all residents of the Donbas want the region to return to the control of the official Ukrainian government.