The leader of the self-declared Donetsk People's Republic, Denis Pushilin, has written to Russian President Vladimir Putin asking for the rapid accession of the republic to the Russian federation once a referendum is held.
Here's his letter to Putin, as released on his Telegram channel:
"Dear Vladimir Vladimirovich,
In the event of a positive decision following the referendum, which we have no doubts about, I ask you to consider the issue of the Donetsk People's Republic joining the Russian Federation as soon as possible. The long-suffering people of Donbas deserved to be part of the great country, which they always considered their Motherland.
This event will be the restoration of historical justice, the approach of which millions of Russian people crave."
US officials have warned that Moscow officials might use such strategies to "falsely claim that the Ukrainian people want to join Russia."
The self-declared republic has not been recognized by any governments, other than Russia and its close ally Syria.