The leader of "LPR" Igor Plotnitsky does not deny the presence of "volunteers" from Russia in the territory controlled by the illegal grouping. American journalist Patrick Lancaster posted an interview with Plotnitsky on his YouTube Cannal.
Plotnitsky argues that there are no regular Russian troops in Donbas. The presence of armed Russians in Ukraine, he considers "the normal help to brotherly people."
“For us it is natural, Russia is indivisible for us, as well as Ukraine and Belarus to some extend. We are a single nation, and it’s the brothers who come to the rescue,” the self-proclaimed leader of the "LPR" said.
During his visit to Sweden, the Ukrainian Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak said that about six thousand Russian military are dislocated in Donbas. As a result of ceasefire violation by the Russians, 173 Ukrainian soldiers were killed in 2016.
In an interview with US television channel CNN in September, the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko, stated that more than 700 Russian tanks, 1250 artillery pieces, more than 1,000 armored vehicles and 300 multiple rocket launchers were deployed to the ATO zone.