Russian President Vladimir Putin has officially annexed the four Ukrainian regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia after signing a treaty formalising their inclusion into the Russian Federation. 

Speaking from the Kremlin in Moscow, Putin said that residents of the areas were now citizens of Russia “forever”. He went on to say that while Russia was willing to negotiate with Ukraine, the four recently annexed region were off the table. 

Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia together make up 15% of Ukraine’s territories. With the annexation of these four regions, Russia now has a land bridge to the Crimea region, which it annexed in 2014. 

Here’s all you need to know about these four regions. 

Also Read | Russian President Vladimir Putin officially signs annexation of 4 Ukraine regions

Donetsk and Luhansk

The two regions declared themselves as the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Luhansk People’s Republic and have been at odds with the Ukraine government since 2014. Together they are known as the Donbas region and had a population of over 6 million before the war in Ukraine broke out in February this year. The two regions have been known to be predominantly Russian-speaking and were the centre of coal mining and heavy industry. 


The region is home to the biggest nuclear power plant in Europe. Following fighting in the region, power supply to the power plant was disrupted, raising fears of radiation leaks. Roughly 70% of the region was controlled by Russia but not the regional capital. 


The focus of Ukraine’s counter-offensive, the region had a population of under a million before the war. Russia controls most of the region although Ukraine’s counterattacks have cut off supply lines to Russian forces by bombing bridges on the Dnipro River. 

However, when Russia captured the regional capital, civilians began protesting with some of the Pro-Russian officials becoming the target of bomb attacks.