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(1) "The Donbas region in eastern Ukraine has been a flashpoint in the escalating crisis between Russia and Ukraine, which hinges on land borders and strategic influence."

(2) "Moscow-backed separatists have controlled the southeastern Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, known collectively as Donbas, for almost eight years."

(3) "Just six months ago, Vladimir Putin opened a 7,000-word manifesto on the historical ties between Ukraine and Russia with the claim that Russians and Ukrainians were “one people”, part of “a single whole”."

(4) "Donbas should brace itself for a long time in the role of a Russian military protectorate like Transnistria or South Ossetia. Local elites will have to deal with Moscow’s efforts to optimize the region’s administration, while the people there will see the creeping integration of the republics with Russia."

(5) "Ukraine's president said his country was "not afraid of anything or anyone". In a late-night televised address to the nation, President Volodymyr Zelensky called for "clear and effective actions of support" from Ukraine's international allies. "It is very important to see now who our real friend and partner is, and who will continue to scare the Russian Federation with words only," he added."

(6) "The conflict in the separatist regions began in 2014, when rebels loyal to Russia seized government buildings in Donetsk and Luhansk, beginning a long trench war with Ukrainian forces. More than 13,000 people have died in fighting in the region since."

(7) "The word Donbass (or Donbas,) a portmanteau from Donets Basin, is an abbreviation of the phrase “Donets Coal Basin;” clearly its ore reserves have been the greatest draw for those who covet its riches. Its vast coal reserves have allowed for the growth of major steel production in the area."

(8) "The 2015 peace deal was a major diplomatic coup for the Kremlin, obliging Ukraine to grant special status to the separatist regions, allowing them to create their own police force and have a say in appointing local prosecutors and judges. It also envisaged that Ukraine could only regain control over the roughly 200-kilometer (125-mile) border with Russia in rebel regions after they get self-rule and hold OSCE-monitored local elections — balloting that would almost certainly keep pro-Moscow rebels in power there."

(9) "The separatists in Donbas have had substantial backing from Moscow. Russia has long maintained that it has no soldiers on the ground there, but US, NATO and Ukrainian officials say the Russian government supplies the separatists, provides them with advisory support and intelligence, and embeds its own officers in their ranks."

(10) "In Putin’s telling, that is a “culture and tradition” inherently Russian in nature, since he has repeatedly expressed skepticism toward the idea of a separate Ukrainian historical identity."


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