The Donbass conflict erupted in April 2014 as a local counter-reaction to the US and EU-sponsored Maidan coup in Kiev that toppled the country's democratically-elected President Viktor Yanukovych in February.
Kiev has since been conducting a military operation, encountering stiff local resistance.
In February 2015, Kiev forces and Donbass independence supporters signed a peace agreement in the Belarusian capital of Minsk.
The deal stipulates a full ceasefire, a withdrawal of weapons from an established line of contact in Donbass, as well as constitutional reforms that would give a special status to the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics.
Despite the agreement, the ceasefire regime is regularly violated, with both sides accusing each other of multiple breaches, undermining the terms of the accord.
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