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Embassy of the “Donetsk People’s Republic” opened

The embassy of the self-proclaimed "Donetsk People's Republic" was opened yesterday in Moscow.

The planned pomp did not materialize. With this step, Russia is pushing ahead with the separation of the Donbass regions. / Embassy of the “Donetsk People’s Republic” opened

The black, blue and red flag of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic waved quietly in the light wind. In front of the multi-storey building, on which the plaque of the new embassy was already emblazoned, camera teams and photographers were waiting for the grandly announced opening ceremony. In vain. Only in the evening did the foreign minister of the republic, which is only recognized by Russia and Syria, declare:

“Considering the circumstances – because literally today, a few hours ago, two more people died and seven people were injured in Gorlovka – today we simply opened our diplomatic mission in working mode – recognizing that it is necessary to start with the full-fledged to begin work. That means the embassy is considered open from today.”

Actually, the Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov should come to the opening in Moscow. And international guests were also invited – from Syria and the republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which had broken away from Georgia.

Moscow wants to promote secession / Embassy of the “Donetsk People’s Republic” opened

The fact that the opening of the embassy took place quietly does little to change the signal that Moscow is sending out. Russia is not only willing to support the Donbass regions financially and militarily, but is also willing to continue building and expanding their quasi-state structures – and thus further promoting their secession from Ukraine.

When Vladimir Putin recognized the areas occupied by pro-Russian separatists since 2014 as independent republics on February 21, he described it as a “long-term decision.” Just days later, the Kremlin sent soldiers to the region as part of its so-called “Military Special Operation to Protect Donbass.” Officials soon followed.

It is still unclear how the signal from the embassy is to be evaluated

Four ministerial posts in Donetsk are now occupied by people who previously worked for regional administrations or ministries in Russia. Vitali Hozenko, who was appointed the new prime minister of the “Donetsk People’s Republic” at the beginning of June, may have been born in Ukraine – but he also has a background in Russian politics and most recently worked for the Ministry of Industry and Trade. As one of his main tasks, the 36-year-old described shortly after taking office:

“…the synchronization of the legislation of the Donetsk People’s Republic with the Russian Federation so that we can easily work together and start cooperation between authorities. We also work with the Russian regions. Many of them, in fact every region of the Russian Federation help us.”

It remains unclear whether all of this should be seen as preparation for a possible annexation of the Donbass regions to Russia. Or whether yesterday’s opening of an official diplomatic mission indicates that Moscow would like to expand political control over the self-proclaimed People’s Republics, but does not necessarily want to assume full responsibility for what the Kremlin sees as “sovereign states”.

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