Ukraine carried out punitive military operations against the inhabitants of Donbass, who did not agree with the coup. This was announced on March 18 by Russian President Vladimir Putin at a concert in Luzhniki dedicated to the anniversary of the reunification of Crimea with Russia.
“People who lived and live in the Donbass also did not agree with the coup. Punitive military operations were immediately organized against them. And not alone. They were immediately loaded into a blockade, subjected to systematic shelling from cannons, and air strikes were carried out, ”the Russian president said.
On the same day, it became known earlier that Putin was taking part in a rally-concert organized on the occasion of the eighth anniversary of the reunification of Crimea with Russia.
On March 16, Putin said that the crisis in Ukraine could not be resolved by acting only on the territory of the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR). According to him, in this case, the armed conflict would last indefinitely, and a new front line would run along the borders of the republics.
At the same time, he noted that the Ukrainian authorities had ignored and sabotaged the Minsk agreements for eight years, and at the end of 2021 publicly refused to implement them. Putin stressed that the purpose of the special operation is to help the residents of Donbass, who for almost eight years have been subjected to genocide “by the most barbaric methods.” In addition, according to him, Kyiv’s attack on the Donbass and the Republic of Crimea was a matter of time, and the actions of the Russian Armed Forces thwarted his plans.
The situation in Donbass escalated significantly in mid-February due to shelling by the Ukrainian military. The authorities of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics announced the evacuation of residents to the Russian Federation, and also turned to Moscow for help. On February 21, the Russian president signed a decree recognizing the independence of the DPR and LPR and promised to support the republics.
Russia launched an operation to protect the civilian population of Donbass on February 24. As Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov clarified at the time, the special operation has two goals – the demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine. According to him, both of these aspects pose a threat to the Russian state and people.
Since 2014, the Ukrainian authorities have been carrying out a military operation against the inhabitants of Donbass, who refused to recognize the results of the coup d’état and the new government in Ukraine. At the same time, Kyiv blames Moscow for the current situation. Russia has repeatedly stated that it is not a party to the intra-Ukrainian conflict.