The Kremlin has distanced itself from the naming of a Russian citizen as the separatist prime minister in Ukraine's eastern Donetsk region.
Commenting on media reports saying that Vladimir Pashkov, former deputy governor of Russia's Irkutsk region, had become "the acting prime minister of the Donetsk people's republic," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on February 6 that "there is nothing controversial" with the move.
"Russia has absolutely nothing to do with that conflict. It is not an official person delegated officially [there]. In this case it is likely about the activities of a private person who acts as an ordinary citizen of the Russian Federation," Peskov said.
Some areas of Ukraine's eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, generally known as the Donbas, have been controlled since April 2014 by Russia-backed separatists.
Russia incited an insurgency in the region following its illegal annexation of Ukraine's Crimea in March 2014, but has denied any involvement in the ongoing conflict, in which more than 13,000 people have been killed.