Updated 10:54 a.m. Moscow Time
LUHANSK, September 16 (RIA Novosti) – The self-proclaimed Luhansk People's Republic (LPR) wants to switch from Ukrainian hryvna to Russian ruble as the local currency in the future, LPR leader Igor Plotnitsky said Tuesday.
"Of course, we want ruble [as currency], but a lot of issues still remain, including political ones. So far, we are using hryvna. But I don't think it will stay for long," Plotnitsky told reporters, adding that the country has yet to solve a number of economic and financial problems, including the establishment of a banking system.
On September 10, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said he had introduced "a bill about temporary self-administration in separate districts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions," intended "to ensure the peaceful return of these regions under the sovereignty of Ukraine."
He ruled out "any kind of federalization or secession" for the two regions.
Prime Minister of the Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) Alexander Zakharchenko said that the self-proclaimed republics will seek independence anyway, adding that the point of the Minsk talks protocol concerning the special status is not final.
LPR spokesman said the self-proclaimed people's republics of Donetsk and Luhansk have no interest in the presidential bill on their status within Ukraine.
DPR and LPR announced their independence in May, refusing to acknowledge the legitimacy of the newly-instated Ukrainian government that came to power after the February 22 coup.
On September 5, the Contact Group on Ukraine, comprising representatives from Ukraine, Russia and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), had a meeting in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. As a result of the meeting, the sides signed a 12-point protocol that among other things entails the adoption by Ukraine of a law on special status for the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in addition to holding early elections.
Moscow expects the negotiations regarding the status of the self-proclaimed republics to begin shortly.