Vladimir Putin officially annexed the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, known as Donbas, along with two other regions in eastern Ukraine, on 30 September 2022.

In other words, these regions are now part of Russia.

A former American soldier—now a journalist living in eastern Ukraine since 2014—Russell Bentley chatted with me about what daily life is like following the war that Russia effectively won.

Conversation summary

  • Russia annexed Donbas, an eastern Ukrainian area with a primarily Russian-speaking population, in September 2022.
  • The region’s population has always been mixed, with Ukrainians in rural areas and Russians dominating the industrial aspect.
  • After the Bolshevik Revolution, Donbas became part of Ukraine.
  • The 2014 Ukrainian revolution was sponsored by the United States to create a government that favoured Western interests.
  • Ukraine’s violations of the Minsk agreements triggered Russia’s invasion.
  • The Russian troops destroyed US-controlled biological laboratories in Ukraine.
  • Daily life in eastern Ukraine is safer and more free under Russian governance.

Western leaders have long misunderstood Vladimir Putin.

Clifford May, The Foundation for Defense of Democracies

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