Speaking in an interview with BBC, Zakharchenko insisted the 'DPR' must be legally recognized as an independent territory.

"Ukraine has stopped paying welfare, pensions and other payments that are obligatory for a state to pay its citizens," he told BBC. "They don't do it, so they've de facto recognized us."

What is more, Zakharchenko claims that the borders of the republic he heads should be considerably extended in future by including much of the territory currently controlled by the Ukrainian troops.

At the same time, speaking at the request of BBC to comment Zakharchenko's words, the Ukrainian presidential administration said: "Ukraine fully implements the Minsk agreements. Donbas is an integral part of Ukraine."

As UNIAN reported earlier, on February 12, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President François Hollande held talks in Minsk to resolve the conflict in Donbas.

Following the talks, the parties approved a package of measures aimed at the implementation of the Minsk agreements of September 2014. In addition, the leaders of Ukraine, France, Germany and the Russian Federation adopted a declaration in support of these measures.

In addition to other provisions of the new agreements reached by the 'Normandy Four' leaders on February 12, the parties agreed on a ceasefire to be effective from 0001, February 15, as well as the withdrawal of all heavy weapons. The agreements also provide for the release and exchange of all prisoners of war and civil hostages.

Despite the fact that a ceasefire was supposed to come into force, the militants have continued to attack the positions of the Ukrainian armed forces throughout the territory of Donbas, Ukraine's military says.