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Ukraine: Heading East

Donbass residents taking refuge in Russia

Southeastern Ukraine has been a war zone for the last eight years. Government forces have been shelling their people because of differences concerning language, political affiliations, and their country’s future. Not everyone was happy with this pro-Western sentiment. The southeastern part of Ukraine has always felt closer to Russia. Some of its residents are ethnically Russian or have relatives in Russia.

Most Ukrainians speak Russian, and it’s the predominant language in some regions. Attempts to ban it only adds fuel to the fire. Ukraine’s neo-Nazis took advantage of the situation and began to wipe out the Russian-speaking population. Crimea was the first Ukrainian region to express discontent and voted to return to Russia. Later, the people of Donbass also stood up to protect their land. However, the Ukrainian government was unable to cope with the situation. It continually shelled the country’s southeastern part for the next eight years while simultaneously seeking closer integration with the West.

In the late February of 2022, Russian forces and volunteers helped Donbass refugees to leave their destroyed homes and have a chance at a new life. Russia took in 2,500,000 people.