Live updates: Russia’s war in Ukraine

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Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that the goal of what he called The “special military operation” in Ukraine is to “end the war” in the eastern Donbas region, according to state news agency RIA Novosti.

Speaking at a meeting with World War II veterans and survivors of the Leningrad siege, Putin said: “Full-scale fighting in the Donbass has not stopped since 2014 — with the use of heavy equipment, artillery, tanks and aircraft.”

“Everything we do today including in military special operations is an attempt to end this war,” Putin said, according to RIA Novosti. “That is what our operation means. and to protect our people who live there in these lands.”

In late December, Putin use the word “war” to refer to the conflict in Ukraine for the first time he is known to distract the public from carefully fabricated descriptions of the invasion of Moscow as a “Special Military Operations”

More about Donbas: The industrial area Covering most of eastern Ukraine and having been at the forefront of the country’s conflict with Moscow since 2014, the Donbas’ long industrial pull has drawn people from across Eastern Europe over the past century. and has strong social and economic ties with neighboring Russia. Like the rest of Ukraine

Distance from capital city Kiev and other city centers created a large number of local movement groups And that was the backdrop as pro-Russian separatists tried to seize power after Moscow’s annexation of Crimea.

Putin’s annexation of Crimea and the occupation of parts of Donbas by Russian-backed rebels in 2014 brought to a halt a period of growing prosperity in the region.

The war broke out in 2014 after Russian-backed rebels seized government buildings in cities. throughout eastern Ukraine Intense fighting left the Luhansk and Donetsk areas in the hands of Russian-backed separatists.

CNN’s Rob Picheta contributed reporting to this post.

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