Russian-backed separatists Donetsk People’s Republic inaugurate ’embassy’ in Moscow

A police officer walks past the grounds of the embassy of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, the eastern Ukrainian breakaway region.

  • A group of separatists in Ukraine have unveiled an embassy in Moscow.
  • The Donetsk People’s Republic’s embassy is next to diplomatic missions of several countries.
  • Russia began an invasion of Ukraine in February.

Russian-backed separatists in Ukraine inaugurated their “embassy” in Moscow on Tuesday as the Kremlin presses ahead with its offensive in the pro-Western country.

President Vladimir Putin recognised the independence of Ukraine’s breakaway regions of Donetsk and Lugansk just days before he ordered the start of Moscow’s intervention on 24 February.

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On Tuesday, the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic unveiled its “embassy” in central Moscow, next to diplomatic missions of several Western countries.

Top Russian officials did not attend the ceremony amid a beefed-up police presence.

The head of the breakaway region’s foreign ministry, Natalya Nikanorova, said the situation on the ground had worsened in recent days so they opted for a modest ceremony.

Separatist officials have long said they want their regions to eventually join Russia, but Nikanorova said on Tuesday the main goal was “to liberate the republic.”

“After that there will be a referendum,” she told reporters during a joint appearance with the DNR “ambassador”, Olga Makeyeva.

In late June, Moscow ally Syria also recognised the independence of Ukraine’s two separatist regions, making it the first state other than Russia to do so.

Nikanorova said the breakaway region was now in talks with North Korea on possible recognition.

The unveiling of the separatists’ representative office took place on the 139th day of Russia’s offensive in Ukraine.

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