Four regions in the process of being annexed by Russia

Four regions of Ukraine under almost total or partial control of Russian forces are voting until Tuesday in annexation referendums by Russia denounced by the international community. Some key facts about these areas.

• Read also: The Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline victim of a gas leak in the Baltic Sea

• Read also: Protests in Russia: Putin takes refuge in his secret house

• Read also: Putin grants Russian citizenship to whistleblower Edward Snowden

These two predominantly Russian-speaking regions constitute the Donbass, the industrial basin of Ukraine. Between 2014 and 2022, a conflict opposed separatists led by Moscow and Ukrainian forces.

But in February 2022, Vladimir Putin recognized the independence of the separatists and justified the February 24 invasion by the need to save Russian-speaking populations from an alleged genocide.

Before the war, the Luhansk region had some 2.1 million inhabitants. It borders on three sides with Russia and, according to Kyiv, around 98% of the territory has been under Moscow’s control since the Russian spring and early summer offensive.

Of the four regions voting in the so-called referendums, this is the one where Russian control is the most total, but it has come at the cost of heavy military losses.

Since the Ukrainian counter-offensive at the beginning of September which liberated a large part of the neighboring region of Kharkiv, the Ukrainian forces have also been nibbling away at Lugansk.

The neighboring region of Donetsk, where you also vote, had 4.1 million pre-war inhabitants and its eponymous capital is the third largest city in the country.

Read more:  Eastern Europe joins the closure due to a new wave of coronavirus

Before the Russian invasion, about half of the region was under separatist control. Today, around 67% of the territory is held by Moscow and its allies, including the port city of Mariupol, ravaged by siege and bombardment by Russian forces.

Deadly fighting continues there, and Ukraine made small advances there in September.

This region, bordered by the Black Sea, is home to the country’s largest nuclear power plant, on the Dnieper River, and had 1.63 million inhabitants before the war.

Proportionally, of the four regions voting in referendums, it is the one where Russian control is least with 63% of its area occupied by Moscow and its military administration.

Its largest city, also called Zaporizhia, is held by Ukrainian forces, but its largest port, Berdyansk, is in Russian hands.

The gigantic nuclear power station there was taken by the Russian army in March. Since then, the two camps have accused each other of bombing its surroundings at the risk of causing a nuclear accident. Calls to demilitarize have multiplied, without success so far.

Some 83% of this region, the westernmost of the area controlled by Moscow, and its eponymous capital came under Russian control in the early days of the war.

The region, very important for Ukrainian agriculture, is strategic for Moscow, as it borders the Crimean peninsula, annexed by Moscow in 2014.

Its seizure, associated with that of the coasts of Zaporijjia and Donetsk, therefore enables Russia to constitute a territorial continuity of all the regions it controls in Ukraine, Crimea included, and of Russian territory strictly speaking.

Read more:  The young man who was shot by a police officer dies during protests in Colombia | Colombia

Ukraine is leading a counter-offensive there and has claimed some successes in recent months. In particular, it damaged bridges spanning the Dnieper around the city of Kherson to break the supply lines of the Russian forces.

In addition, attacks targeting Russian and pro-Russian officials are increasing there and several of them have been killed.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.