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After living eight years in the conflict zone, the residents of Ukraine’s separatist-controlled parts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions have rejoiced at Russia’s recognition of their self-proclaimed republics’ independence, thinking it would bring peace and stability. The joy of the February 21 announcement lasted just three days as Russia’s President Vladimir Putin used the security of the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR) in eastern Ukraine as a pretext for a full-scale invasion of the country on February 24.

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