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Russian President Putin recognizes Donetsk and Luhansk in Ukraine as independent states

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday recognized the Russian-occupied regions of Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine as independent states, signing documents declaring them no longer part of Ukraine.

Hours earlier, the separatist leaders of the regions made a video appeal for the independence declaration.

The Donetsk and Luhansk regions — collectively known as the Donbas — are in eastern Ukraine, near the border with Russia.

The region comprises both Kyiv-controlled parts as well as separatist-controlled areas.

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Its main industries are coal mining and steel production.

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