From 2014 to the present, Ukraine has been involved in a military conflict with its eastern oblasts of Donetsk and Luhansk, collectively referred to as the Donbas region. The two States, which have Russian-speaking majorities, declared independence from Ukraine in 2014 after the Russian annexation of Crimea. While Donetsk and Luhansk received no official international recognition, they were supported militarily by Russia.

Donetsk claims territory corresponding with the delineation of its Ukrainian-defined oblast. While multiple attempts to establish a ceasefire agreement between Ukraine and the separatist territories occurred in 2015, none were fully implemented. In 2019, Ukraine published a decree delimiting the line of control between the “temporarily occupied territories” with the Ukrainian military. At that time, both Donetsk and Luhansk controlled about a third of their claimed territory. 

On 21 February 2022, Russia publicized its official recognition of the independence of the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Luhansk People’s Republic. It then sent troops into separatist controlled territory in the Donbas region for “peacekeeping” purposes. Three days later, a full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine began on multiple fronts across the north, east, and south of the country.

Map showing the land boundary between Donetsk and Ukraine

In October 2022, Russia unilaterally annexed Donetsk; more information about this can be found in the Russia–Ukraine Boundary Brief.

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