Donetsk and Lugansk .. What is their importance and impact on the Ukraine crisis?

In a speech to the Russian people, Putin stressed that Ukraine is an “inseparable part of Russia’s history,” and announced the decision to recognize the independence of Donetsk and Lugansk as independent republics from Ukraine, stressing that the decisions taken are to preserve Russian security.

starting point for war

Commenting on Putin’s speech, Italian political analyst Daniele Rufiniti said, “The separatist republics of Donbas have established themselves as a springboard for war in Ukraine since 2014, when the issue of Ukrainian sovereignty over their territory (along with Crimea, which Russia annexed 8 years ago) revolves. years) around them, and Kiev would like to defeat the separatists and regain control of the region, while the separatists want independence even though the Minsk agreements provide for partial autonomy for these lands; it is symbolic for Moscow, hence the choice of Putin.

“Putin chose to recognize its independence because this might allow him to accept requests for military assistance that arrived in Donetsk and Luhansk, and also to impose a hand on Kiev’s recognition of the rates of autonomy stipulated in the Minsk agreements,” Rufiniti added.

“Meanwhile, Putin continues to destabilize Ukraine and raise awareness among its citizens about an ethnic and vengeful narrative, such as was circulated during his address to the nation this evening.”

“The world is already facing a critical moment as Ukraine seeks to contact Putin, who is penetrating Kiev, the sacrificial victim of the Russian president’s will to rebuild spheres of influence and coexistence in Europe,” he said.

On the expected reactions, he said: “Brussels and Washington can decide on preventive sanctions, with diplomacy, with various forms of pressure, but the important thing is to understand the extent of their deterrent effect on Putin, who has mobilized 200,000 soldiers and attacking units on the Ukrainian border.”

geopolitical significance

Political analyst Amid Shoukry told Sky News Arabia that Putin is still facing problems with Ukraine’s independence in August 1991, about four months before the collapse of the Soviet Union, which was approved by a 90% referendum.

Shoukry, senior foreign policy and energy security adviser at the Washington-based Gulf States Analytics Center, added that contrary to Putin’s view that Russians and all Ukrainian citizens are one nation, Ukraine has been divided ethnically into two separate parts, with the majority of citizens in the west of the country. They are Ukrainians, while the majority of citizens in the east are Russians.

“The Russians in this part make up about 17 percent of Ukraine’s population of 41 million people. The people of the west of the country are loyal to the West and prefer to join the European Union and NATO, while the people of the east are more pro-Russian and reject membership in the European Union and NATO.”

He stressed that “these regions, where the majority of the population is Russian, have geopolitical importance and will increase Russia’s influence in the region, and by recognizing the independence of these regions, Ukraine can be divided into two or three states.”

He pointed out that “Moscow will not allow Ukraine to join NATO, as Putin has always shown that NATO’s expansion near the country’s borders is Russia’s red line, and that his country’s national security is directly related to the absence of NATO and its influence in neighboring countries, including Ukraine.”

He continued, “Europe and the United States can impose severe sanctions on Russia, including the government or transfer money through the financial system, and Europe can send more weapons to Ukraine, and send intelligence experts to protect Kiev from cyber attacks.”

Russian incursion into Ukraine

Professor of Political Sociology at the American University in Cairo, Said Sadiq, said that Donetsk and Lugansk are two regions inhabited by Russians separated from the Republic of Ukraine, and Russian recognition of them includes their desire to carve out additional lands under the control of the Ukrainian army.

Sadiq added, in statements to “Sky News Arabia”, that “this means a war between the two new republics, with Russia, against Ukraine if it refuses to give up additional lands to them. Russia’s recognition of the two separatist republics means their right to request the support of the Russian army to help them take Ukrainian lands.”

What is the story of Donetsk and Lugansk?

On May 12, 2014, Donetsk and Lugansk declared their independence after most of the residents of the two provinces, located in the eastern Donbass basin, voted in a referendum in favor of secession from Ukraine.

The events began when the Verkhovna Rada voted in favor of the dismissal of President Viktor Yanukovych (from Donetsk), who refused to resign from his post, describing the events in the capital, Kiev, as a “coup”.

The rift began to widen rapidly between Kiev on the one hand and Donetsk, Luhansk and a number of other regions in eastern Ukraine, on the other hand, after the overthrow of Yanukovych, and the refusal of the mostly Russian-speaking residents of the east and supporters of good relations with Russia, to recognize the new authority in Kiev, in which voices were raised Advocating a ban on the use of the Russian language.

A wave of protests against the Kiev authorities and demands for the establishment of a federal system in the country swept the southeastern regions of Ukraine, especially Donetsk and Luhansk, where in April protesters managed to take control of administrative headquarters and government institutions and announced the establishment of the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics, and the “Self-Defense Forces” were formed in the Donbass. To prevent the arrival of radical nationalist elements of supporters of the new authorities in Kiev in an attempt to quell the protests of the population of the region.

For their part, the new Ukrainian authorities considered them two terrorist organizations and announced the start of an “anti-terrorist operation” in the east of the country, and after months of battles that left more than 40,000 people dead and wounded, according to the United Nations, and widespread destruction, the two sides reached with the help of Russia, Germany and France by the beginning of the year. 2015 resulted in a package of settlement measures called the “Minsk Accords”, which led to the cessation of hostilities and the “freezing” of the conflict.

Prior to the Russian recognition, no country had recognized the independence of Donetsk and Luhansk, whose Minsk agreements stipulate that they remain within Ukraine while giving them a special legal status that protects their basic security and political interests. Recent years on Russian citizenship.

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