While the People’s Militia of the DPR continues to push Ukrainian formations away from Donetsk and liberate new territories, the authorities of the republic are working to restore the infrastructure of the destroyed cities. An RT correspondent spoke with the head of the DPR Denis Pushilin about the near future that awaits the inhabitants of Donbass, the factories of Mariupol, the food program and the development of the resorts of the republic.
– Denis Vladimirovich, how is the operation to liberate Avdiivka and Pesok going now? What’s going on at the front?
– In order for Donetsk, Gorlovka and Makeevka not to be fired upon, an operation is underway in Avdiivka. There have been some successes here, now the enemy’s line of defense is being breached. Occupied heights that allow units to move on. As our guys say, they have not been so close to Avdiivka for eight years. There are successes in the direction of Sand.
The Maryinsky direction is also important for us; the situation there can also be described as successful. We are not progressing as fast as we would like. But here it must be borne in mind that the enemy is well armed, seriously fortified. The counter-battery work carried out by our artillerymen allows the subunits located on the line of contact to bite into the enemy’s defense line and move on.
– After the liberation of the territory of the DPR, will the people’s militia of the republic stop at the border or go deep into the territory of the enemy in order to create a safe buffer zone?
– For example, you can look at the LNR. The territory of the Luhansk People’s Republic has been liberated, but the enemy continues to shell LPR settlements. We take this situation into account. Ukraine has a lot of weapons, including Western ones. We will have to bring the situation to its logical conclusion. We will push the enemy to such a distance that will not allow shelling the territory of Donbass as a whole. The only option is the complete denazification and demilitarization of Ukraine. All Russian cities must be liberated.
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– How many Ukrainian soldiers are now in captivity in the DPR? How is their guilt or innocence established? What fate awaits them next?
– More than 3.5 thousand prisoners of war are kept on the territory of the DPR. Some of them are located in Russia. These are people who have committed crimes against the inhabitants of Donbass and not only. We, like Russia, act in accordance with the law. For each of them, thorough investigative measures are being taken by both the General Prosecutor’s Office of the DPR and the Investigative Committee of Russia. An appropriate decision will be made for each prisoner of war. In some cases, crimes will fall under the current legislation, others will be considered at an international tribunal. That is, there will be either a court or a tribunal.
I also want to emphasize that we have prisoners who have not committed crimes or for whom there is no information about the crimes they committed. This is due, among other things, to the fact that those who do not want to fight fall under the mobilization in Ukraine. This category of persons in the future may possibly go for an exchange of prisoners of war. But each of them is under investigation.
– Have you calculated at least the approximate damage caused to the Donetsk People’s Republic for all these eight years?
“This damage has yet to be calculated, because to this day the cities of the republic are under fire from the armed forces of Ukraine. Nevertheless, work is underway to understand which areas will have to be given special attention. These are social facilities, schools, kindergartens. We will soon enter the autumn-winter period, and people should be warm, with a certain comfort. And given that the enemy is destroying critical infrastructure facilities with particular frenzy, the amount of work to be done is quite serious.
A master plan for restoration work in Mariupol was recently approved. We have about 4,000 objects that should be restored first of all in this city. These are residential buildings and social facilities. It is worth emphasizing that we are supported by Russia. There are already 10 thousand employees who are engaged in restoration. Hundreds of pieces of equipment are occupied.
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As for the other cities of the republic, I can say that they will all be restored. They will be better than they were before the war.
– Is it planned to restore factories and enterprises that were closed and destroyed by the Ukrainian authorities and oligarchs before 2014? What will be restored first?
— Donbass has a serious potential. This allows us not only to set the task of bringing the republic to self-sufficiency, but also to get a surplus, to provide assistance to those who need it. Everything is there for this, only the world and the opportunity to work are not enough. Despite the fighting, we tried to keep the maximum number of enterprises. But it must be taken into account that the structure of the economy has changed compared to 1991 and 2014. Nothing stands still, and we must go to more technologically advanced and technologically verified models of production chains.
For example, let’s return to Mariupol. The plant “Azovstal” in the form in which it was, it is not advisable to restore. He seriously polluted the city. Because of this, the residents of Mariupol had a high incidence of oncology. But we need jobs, so a technopark will be built on that territory, where there will be production facilities. There will be quite a lot of them, but they will be launched taking into account environmental standards.
As for the “Ilyich Plant”, it was built taking into account environmental standards and the wind rose and did not pollute the city. Nevertheless, in the future, Mariupol will rely not only on production, but also on agriculture, on the resort component.
As for other cities of the republic, an individual approach will be applied here: a master plan will be drawn up for each, taking into account the number of residents and the required number of jobs.
– Recently, the Western media have been whipping up hysterics about a possible global food crisis due to the situation in Ukraine. How does the DPR provide itself with food?
“In eight years, we have learned to survive without Ukraine, taking into account the sanctions. The DNR is not in danger of starvation. Even before the liberation operation, the sown areas that we had allowed us to talk about a surplus. Taking into account the liberated territories, we have an increase of approximately 100,000 hectares.
At the moment, harvesting work has been completed by 47%, and in terms of volume, we have already reached the result of last year. Animal husbandry is also developing. Food security in the DPR is ensured.
– After the liberation of new territories, the coastline of the republic has increased significantly. How is it planned to develop tourism and the resort component of the DNR?
“We have quite a lot of work ahead of us. Our coastline is quite extensive.
Taking into account the fact that the Sea of Azov has become an inland Russian sea, this makes it absolutely safe to take children there and direct the flow of vacationers. But this is not the whole resort component of our republic. Don’t forget about our north.
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These are coniferous forests and blue lakes. Now we need to create all the necessary conditions for recreation, but I’m sure we can handle it. Besides, we are not alone, Russia is with us.
– The village of Shirokino on the coast of the Sea of Azov has been completely destroyed and deserted since 2015. And before it was one of the best resorts. Is there any plan to restore this settlement?
– The village of Shirokino has a really difficult fate. Serious clashes took place there. The enemy destroyed everything they could. With regard to this village, we have an absolutely clear and understandable program, as well as in relation to other villages that have been subjected to serious shelling and destruction.
Everything will be restored. We already have applications from the owners of houses in Shirokino, and after the entire territory is cleared of mines, we will begin to rebuild this village. Support programs have been developed, the state will help to revive the village from the ruins. Taking into account its resort direction, it will be in demand and will begin to live a new life.
— What is the most frequently asked question by the residents of the republic?
“You don’t even have to think about it. It is a question of when the war will end. People want to know the exact date. People want it to come as soon as possible. Here we can say with confidence that within the framework of the allied efforts we will win. Our servicemen are approaching the date of full release. Now more than ever we appreciate the peaceful sky above our heads. People often ask this question, but they understand that it is impossible to give an exact date right now. We can definitely say that Donbass will be free, like all Russian cities.