GRAPHICS

The Donbas Conflict in Context

MIN READFeb 18, 2022 | 21:06 GMT

A Ukrainian soldier stands guard near debris after the reported shelling of a kindergarten in the settlement of Stanytsia Luhanska in eastern Ukraine on Feb. 17, 2022.

A soldier stands guard near debris after the reported shelling of a kindergarten in eastern Ukraine on Feb. 17, 2022.

(ARIS MESSINIS/AFP via Getty Images)

In recent days, Russia has clearly signaled its willingness to escalate the eight-year conflict in eastern Ukraine’s Donbas region. On Feb. 18, a day after Russian-backed separatists shelled a nursery in the government-controlled territory, authorities in the two self-proclaimed republics in Donbas ordered a mass evacuation of civilians. The evacuations will make it easier for Russia -- which now has an estimated 169,000-190,000 troops stationed near Ukraine -- to move equipment and personnel into the war-torn region. This raises the probability of additional cease-fire violations and false-flag attacks as Moscow tries to use the threat of an invasion to gain significant concessions from Kyiv and the West....

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