Donetsk, Jun 8 - DAN. Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s bill on the Indigenous Peoples which excludes the Russians from the list of native peoples of Ukraine, is aimed to justify the ongoing war in Donbass, Russia’s State Duma said in a statement published on the parliament’s website on Tuesday.

In May, Zelensky said that the bill had been submitted to the Verkhovnaya Rada (parliament). According to the document, the status of indigenous people belongs to an autochthonic ethnic community, which took shape in Ukrainian territory, possesses a unique language and culture, has traditional, social, cultural and representative bodies, identifies itself as an indigenous people of Ukraine, constitutes an ethnic minority and has no state entity outside Ukraine.  This definition proposed by Zelensky means that Russians have no chance of being considered as indigenous people in Ukraine.  At the same time, the bill contains a separate definition of indigenous peoples of Crimea, such as Tatars, Karaims and Krymchaks.

"The State Duma views the very fact of the Ukrainian president’s legislative initiative as outrageous provocation, aimed at mounting tensions and conflicts both in Ukraine and beyond. It is ideological justification to continue the civil war under the slogan of driving out the “occupants”, i.e. the Russian and Russian-speaking population of Donbass,” the statement said.

Russian lawmakers believe that by making this decision, Kiev continues the course toward total ukranisation of the multi-ethnic state and follows the way of Latvia and Estonia which fixed, in laws and in practice, the title of “non-citizen” for their Russian population.

“The notion ‘indigenous people’invented by the Ukrainian president is not aimed at granting any rights or privileges to Karaims, Krymchaks or Crimean Tatars who are hardly found outside Crime, but at planting the awareness of second-ratedness in Russians, Belarussians, Moldovans, Hungarians, Rusyns and other ethnic groups who are Ukrainian citizens, of being an "alien element" in the Ukrainian land,” Russian lawmakers said.

"The State Duma views the bill submitted by the Ukrainian president as an insult to historical memory and a new attempt to drive a wedge between Russians, Ukrainians and other native peoples of Ukraine," the statement reads. The lawmakers urged the international community to condemn this move by the Ukrainian authorities.

“The lower chamber also appeals to the Inter-Parliamentarian Assembly of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), parliamentarian assemblies of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), OSCE and Council of Europe as well as parliaments of EU member states "with a call to castigate the attempt made in Ukraine to split its population into ‘native’ and ‘non-native’ which can have the most serious consequences for the very existence of Ukraine as a state."

Russians are the second largest ethnic group in Ukraine. In 2001, they made up 17.2 percent (8,334,000) of the population. Most of them live in the southeastern part of the country, Crimea, and the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics. It is the largest Russian community outside the Russian Federation.*jk