The history of the Donbass conflict
It’s been almost seven years since a US-inspired coup divided Ukraine and war erupted in the country’s east. The Donetsk and Lugansk republics, next to Russia's border, are collectively known as Donbass, a coal-mining industrial centre. The two declared independence from Kiev in 2014, and civil war erupted.
There are mass graves scattered across Donbass, from which bodies of civilians are regularly exhumed. Yet, while the shelling and killings continued, Western media remained silent. According to UN estimates, over 13,000 people have been killed in the conflict.
The Donbass people call it a ‘genocide of the Russian-speaking population’. Kiev outlawed the Russian language from everyday life, endeavouring to limit its use, despite Russian being the native language in large areas of the country.
Donbass. Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow takes a look back at events that unfolded before the start of the crisis in 2014. Historians and journalists share their views on the conflict, players and motives, while ordinary citizens from the Donetsk and Lugansk regions describe the horrors of war.