This analysis attempts to explain developments in the Donbas region of Eastern Ukraine, where a low-intensity armed conflict has been taking place since early 2014. The Kyiv authorities, on the one hand, and the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR), on the other, are the two major parties to the conflict. Meanwhile, Russia is perceived as the main supporter of the two unrecognized republics of Donetsk and Luhansk.
Since March, as a result of increased clashes and arms reinforcements, the developments in the region have attracted the attention of the international community. Both Ukraine and Russia intensified their military mobilization on the borderline. Moreover, the rhetoric of the leaders started to get harsher along with the tension specifically in the Donbas region. Whilst the reasons for such actions and discourse remain puzzling, this study argues that Russian steps were taken mainly in a coercive and preventive manner. The military posture was conducive to the eruption of a direct conflict, but not a full-scale war between the two countries.
This work aims to shed light on the Donbas crisis and the reasons behind the recent disquieting developments. In this regard, this essay starts with a brief background of the Donbas conflict. Following this, it elaborates on the failed diplomatic process of the crisis, which has two major tracks: the Minsk Agreements and the Steinmeier Formula. Finally, the paper scrutinizes the recent developments in the Donbas conflict while trying to yield the reasons behind them.