Why Russia is trying to encircle Ukraine's east

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War in Ukraine


When President Putin talks of Donbas, he is referring to Ukraine's old coal and steel-producing area. But he really means the entirety of two big eastern regions, Luhansk and Donetsk, which run from outside Mariupol in the south all the way to the northern border. "The key is that it has been identified by the Kremlin as a Russian-speaking part of Ukraine that is more Russia than Ukraine," says Sam Cranny-Evans of the Royal United Services Institute.