Ponomarev claims Russia does not need the territory of Donbas, but it wants to exchange it for the lifting of sanctions, Apostrophe wrote.

Ponomarev also advises that Ukraine should outbid Donbas militant leaders to win them over.

Read alsoNumber of KIA's grows to two in last day amid 63 attacks in DonbasIn his view, Russia would not want them back because it would be unprofitable.

The Russian politician said that the strategic interest of the Russian Federation was the Crimean peninsula, but "it's a different story." In his opinion, Ukraine must first settle the Donbas crisis, and then retake Crimea after its positions are stronger.

As UNIAN reported earlier, Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov earlier announced the task for 2017 to return control over the internationally recognized state border of Ukraine in Donbas, and later win Crimea back.