Speaker of the Parliament of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) Denis Pushilin was appounted an acting head of the republic under decision of the DPR Parliament on September 7. A majority of the members of parliament supported the decision. Additionally, the DPR Parliament designated November 11 as the date for the election of a head of the DPR to replace Pushilin.
From the assasination of DPR Head Alexander Zakharchenko on August 31 to September 6, Dmitry Trapeznikov served as DPR Acting Head.
The appointment of Pushilin comes amid the growing military tensions in eastern Ukraine. After Zakharchenko’s killing, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the attack was “a Ukrainian provocation…obviously aimed at derailing the implementation of the Minsk agreements.”
Meanwhile, according to the DPR military, the Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF) are actively concentrating troops and military equipment along the contact line with the DPR and the Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR). One of the main areas of the UAF deployment is the countryside of Mariupol. The DPR military says that chances that the UAF will carry out an attack on the republics in the near future [in middle September] are growing.
Another factor contributing to the possible escalation is the ucpoming presidential election in Ukraine [scheduled on March 31, 2019]. The current Ukrainian president, Petr Poroshenko, and his government have suffered multiple political and economic setbacks since the previous election, which took place on May 25, 2014. According to exprts, the only thing allowing Poroshenko to remain in the power is smoldering conflict in the eastern part of the country and the Western financial support to Ukraine received under this pretext. So, it can be expected that the Poroshenko regime will make an attempt to escalate situation to remain in the power.