The head of the self-declared Donetsk People's Republic (DPR), Denis Pushilin, has said that he plans to make Mariupol into a resort town.
"Russia is here forever, and you are finally home. Now this is the territory of the Donetsk People's Republic forever. No one will take it away from us," Pushilin said after attending events to mark Victory Day.
"We have strength, we have opportunities, we have the support of the biggest beautiful country — Russia," Pushilin told Mariupol residents according to the Russian state news agency TASS. "The task is to make Mariupol a resort city, which has not been possible to do before."
Pushilin said the Azovstal steel plant, where hundreds of Ukrainian soldiers remain, had "negatively affected the ecology of the city."
"If Azovstal is not restored, then we will make a resort town," Pushilin said, explaining it would create additional jobs and bring income to the city.
Pushilin said the DPR is "faced with the task of regaining control over its territories, and then the republic will decide on its future."
"As soon as we reach the constitutional borders of the Donetsk People's Republic, these are the borders of the former Donetsk region, we will make the decision ... Now the main task is to liberate all of our lands, to start rebuilding cities," he added.
On Feb. 21, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that Moscow recognized the sovereignty of the DPR and the Luhansk People's Republic.