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The Donetsk People's Republic unilaterally declares its independence from Ukraine.

07/04/2014

The Donetsk People's Republic is a declared people's republic and proto-state in the Donetsk Oblast of Ukraine recognized only by the partially recognized South Ossetia and Luhansk People's Republic.

It receives humanitarian and military backing from Russia. Ukraine is at war with the DPR and Luhansk People's Republic (LPR) and has designated it as a terrorist group. It was part of the unrecognized Novorossiya confederation with the LPR until 20 May 2015, and since February 2015, has postured itself as the successor to the historic Donetsk–Krivoy Rog Soviet Republic. Along with the Luhansk People's Republic and the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, the Donetsk People's Republic is considered by Ukraine one of three temporarily occupied territories of as a result of Russian military intervention.

The DPR was nominally founded by the Donetsk Republic separatist organization, which was banned by Ukraine in 2007. On 7 April 2014, a group of rebel militants who were occupying the Donetsk RSA building and the City Hall buildings declared the creation of the DPR. Occupation of government buildings spread throughout Donetsk Oblast over the next week.

On 11 May 2014, status referendums were held in Donetsk and Luhansk, where separatist leaders claimed that a vast majority of participants voted in support of the establishment of the People's Republics. On 24 May, the two separatist republics signed an agreement confirming their merger into a confederation called Novorossiya. Between April and July 2014 some parts of Ukraine's Donetsk Oblast were brought under the control of the Donetsk People's Republic; however, the Armed Forces of Ukraine regained many of these areas in its early July 2014 post-ceasefire government offensive during the War in Donbass. This offensive led to the Donetsk People's Republic controlling only the areas near the city of Donetsk. In the pro-Russian forces August 2014 counter-offensive the Donetsk People's Republic, with the help of Russian troops and arms, gained territory again.

The DPR and the Ukrainian government estimate that over 50% of the total population of Donetsk Oblast, around 1,870,000 people, live in DPR-held regions. Although the rebels do not control most of Donetsk Oblast in terms of area, they hold major cities like Donetsk, the capital, and Horlivka.

Since February 2017, Russia has been recognizing identity documents, diplomas, birth and marriage certificates, and vehicle registration plates which have been issued by the DPR; and has said that it will continue to do so until a "political settlement of the situation" in separatist-controlled regions, based on the Minsk II agreement, is reached.

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Published in 15/05/2019

Updated in 19/02/2021

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