- Sep 2016
I believed this to be the case as well. What are your views on situation in that region in few years ?The fact was that Russia could annex only the Crimea and occupy half of the Donbass (about half of Donetsk and Lugansk regions) .
And it was a failure of this plan. At the same time, with Donbass Ukraine lost a key industrial region with the majority of coal mines. The annexation of Donbass by Russia would have caused the end of war with Russian forces in that region. Ukraine would not fight directly with a nuclear power - Russia. Of course, the annexation of Donbass by Russia would also cause a grand international scandal. I think - much more than with the Crimea. Therefore, Putin decided to voice - according to the old Russian habit, that in Ukraine there is a kind of "civil war" to which Russia has nothing to do.
When the initial plan for Ukraine collapsed, Putin was interested in the long-playing hybrid war, which was wasting the Ukrainian economy. And he started it. For that Russia began to create her expeditionary army in the Donbass, recruiting part of the local residents there and sending her volunteers from the former military, as well as officers and soldiers of the regular Russian army.
Economically, the Donbass was of little interest to Russia. Moreover, in a ruined and robbed form, in which it turned by the fall of 2014.
For Russia It was more interesting to create a chronic ulcer with a continuous war on the body of Ukraine in Donbass.