May 13 2021, Russian President Dmitry Peskov commented on the EU’s statement that Russia was trying to annex the Donbass region. He said Russia had no previous or future plans to annex.
Earlier, Bloomberg reported that the European Union believed Russia was trying to merge parts of eastern Ukraine through elections and passports issued to local residents.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country issued passports for a humanitarian reason. As of May 2021, 527,000 people in the Donbass region have obtained Russian passports, according to the Russian Ministry of internal affairs. In April, amid rising tensions along the Ukrainian border, Peskov said Russia would take steps to protect Russian citizens if war broke out in Donbass, threatening the local population.