pro-Russian separatists claim major territorial gains

Donbass’ pro-Russian separatists on Thursday claimed control over large parts of the Lugansk and Donetsk regions.

The pro-Russian separatists of Ukraine’s Donbass on Thursday, March 31, claimed to control almost the entire region of Lugansk and more than half of that of Donetsk, as Moscow had made the conquest of these areas of eastern Ukraine its priority. These claims could not be independently verified.

As of the morning of March 31, 2022, more than 90% of the territory of the Lugansk People’s Republic has been liberatedsaid on Thursday on his Telegram channel the diplomacy of this area, whose independence was recognized by Russia just before its offensive against Ukraine. Denis Pushilin, leader of the separatists in Donetsk, assured on Wednesday that “about 55-60%of the territory of the Ukrainian region of the same name was under Russian control.

95% Mariupol under Russian control

Before the start of the Russian offensive on February 24, separatists, who have been at war with Ukrainian forces since 2014, controlled about a third of each of these regions, namely 8,900 km2 of Donetsk’s 26,500 km2 and 8,400 km2 out of 26,700. km2 of Donetsk from Lugansk. In the Donetsk region, Mariupol is the main city escaping Russian and pro-Russian forces, which has been brutally besieged for weeks.

The leader of the Russian Caucasian Republic of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, whose thousands of men are fighting in Mariupol, assured him that 90 to 95% of the strategic port city is now under Russian control. According to him, the last Ukrainian defenders are entrenched in the metallurgical plant Azovstal, located in the east of Mariupol. A ceasefire will go into effect in the city on the Russian side on Thursday to allow for the evacuation of tens of thousands of people still living there in catastrophic humanitarian conditions.

Russia has said it is focusing its military efforts on Ukraine’s Donbass and claims to have achieved its objectives in the rest of the country as well as showing a sign of good faith following Russian-Ukrainian talks in Istanbul this week by its attacks. in the direction of Kiev and Cherniguiv. These assurances have so far made Ukraine and Westerners skeptical and they believe that Moscow has had to rethink its objectives in the face of Ukrainian resistance.