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5th July 2022 (8 Topics)

Putin declares victory in Donbas region of Luhansk

Context

Russian President Vladimir Putin recently declared victory in the eastern Ukrainian region of Luhansk, one day after Ukrainian forces withdrew from their last remaining bulwark of resistance in the province.

About

The area, its significance:

  • Donetsk and Luhansk are the two areas that together make up the Donbas region on the Ukraine-Russia border.
  • Donbas is a key industrial hub and important from a resource perspective having the largest coal reserves in Ukraine.
  • These two areas broke away from Ukrainian government’s control back in 2014 and proclaimed themselves independent “people’s republics”, but were not formally recognised by Russia until February 2022. 
  • In late February, Putin formally recognised the ‘Luhansk People’s Republic’ and ‘Donetsk People’s Republic’ and ordered Russian troops into these areas for “peacekeeping” which eventually escalated into a full-blown conflict.
  • As the border region between Ukraine and Russia, the area is an example of the disagreements and complexities in the relations between the countries.
  • Having a large Russian-speaking population and around 40 per cent ethnic Russian population, Donbas has always had a greater affinity for Russia.
  • Many sea ports in Russia are not navigable in winter due to extremely low temperatures. Access to the Black Sea and warm water ports in Crimea such as Sevasopol allows it to access important trade routes throughout the year.

Russia’s next move

  • After capturing the border region of Luhansk in eastern Ukraine and the city of Lysychansk, Russia will now aim to capture the neighbouring Donetsk region

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