oblast of Ukraine
(Redirected from Donetsk People's Republic)
Europe > Eastern Europe > Ukraine > Eastern Ukraine > Donetsk Oblast

Travel Warning WARNING: In February 2022 the Russo-Ukrainian War escalated following a full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, with the Donbas region being among the most hotly contested areas.
(Information last updated 08 Dec 2023)

The Donetsk Oblast is a region in Eastern Ukraine that is partially occupied by Russia, which claimed in 2022 to have annexed it.


Map of Donetsk Oblast
  • 1 Donetsk – primarily known for its plant for the production of sparkling wine bottles the classic way. Former industrial heartland of Eastern Ukraine, now annexed by Russia.
  • 2 Bakhmut – tour the Salt mine and taste the town's sparkling wine
  • 3 Horlivka   — the second largest city focused on coal mining and the chemical industry, with a statue of Vladimir Lenin still standing in the town square
  • 4 Makiivka — an important steel industry and coal mining centre that adjoins the capital.
  • 5 Mariupol – A major industrial center, climatic and mud resort. Part of the Pryazovia area
  • 6 Yenakiieve   — an important regional centre of coal mining, metallurgy, chemical production and manufacturing



From a traveller's point of view, the region is an active war zone between Ukraine and Russia. This is not a political endorsement of claims by any side in the dispute.

The eastern and southern parts of the Russian-majority oblast declared its independence from Ukraine in 2014 as Donetsk People's Republic (DPR), following the annexation of Crimea by Russia and the Euromaidan protests in which Ukraine's pro-Russian government was overthrown by pro-EU protesters. The situation in Eastern Ukraine was until 2022 considered to be a "frozen conflict", similar to other post-Soviet breakaway states such as Artsakh, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Transnistria, and its sister nation, the Luhansk People's Republic (LPR).

The DPR and the Ukrainian government estimated that around 1,870,000 people (2014) — over 50% of the total population of Donetsk Oblast — lived in DPR-held regions. Of those who lived in the separatist controlled regions before the war, a third had left before the full-scale invasion of 2022, half of them to Russia, the other half to other parts of Ukraine.

In January 2021, the DPR and LPR stated in a "Russian Donbass doctrine" that they aimed to seize all of the territories of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblast under control by the Ukrainian government "in the near future". The document did not indicate any intention of the republics to be annexed by Russia.

The Donetsk People's Republic was recognized by few countries during its existence, even by Russia only in 2022 as part of its invasion against Ukraine. In September 2022, heavily policed referendums were held, in which the population was said to have voted to be annexed by Russia. Immediately after the referendum, Russia formally annexed Donetsk Oblast, including areas not under its control.



In 2014, Ukraine enacted a law making Ukrainian the sole official language. In 2020, the DPR similarly abandoned its policy of Russian and Ukrainian bilingualism, and established Russian as the sole official language. The languages are more or less mutually intelligible and many are bilingual in them.

As per the 2001 census taken in Donetsk, 74.9% of people spoke Russian as primary language, while 24.1% spoke Ukrainian as such.

Get in


As the battlefront crosses the oblast, you should choose what side to visit and accordingly enter from Ukraine or Russia. Access to much of the oblast may be restricted.

Before the invasion of 2022 foreigners were allowed to cross checkpoints into/out of the temporary occupied territories of Ukraine in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions provided they meet certain requirements including having an insurance policy certificate issued by a Ukraine-registered insurance company, or a foreign insurance company with an office in Ukraine or a contractual partnership with one of the Ukraine-registered insurance companies. The policy must cover the costs of COVID-19 treatment, observation, and has to be valid for the period of intended stay in Ukraine. See Ukraine Ministry of Foreign Affairs for more information.

Entering DPR from Russia is illegal under Ukrainian law, and will result on a lifetime ban on entering Ukraine.

As of March 2021, the Donetsk International Airport is not operating.

Travel from Russia


Many Russian tourists and volunteers often visit the DPR and LPR, may it be for fighting in the War in Donbass or going on a vacation in Azov. You can go one a metro ride from Rostov-on-Don to a border village in Rostov Oblast and then visit the border, though Russian border guards usually deny the request. Before the invasion of 2022, access was granted for journalism on the conflict in Ukraine or to join the fight. From the border, you would have entered the Donetsk People's Republic.

Get around

  • Donetsk Botanical Garden
  • Forged Figures Park
  • Donetsk Regional Museum
  • Donetsk Opera House
  • Art Winery in Bakhmut — see sparkling wines produced in vast underground tunnels

The 1 Khomutovskaya Steppe Reserve, which is 35 km away from the Azov seashore near the village Khomutovka (about 150 km away from Donetsk city), has more than 500 varieties of steppe plants including rare and endemic plants, and mounds from the Mongol period.

The Ukrainian hryvnia (₴) is more commonly used than the Russian Ruble (₽) due to a lack of low-denomination Rubles, but this may simply depend on proximity to the border.

Stay safe


The conflict in the region is ongoing and violence may erupt at any time. See the article on war zone safety. Your government probably will not be able to provide any assistance if you run into trouble. Lawlessness, arbitrary arrests and human rights violations are widespread.

Go next


The other oblasts of Eastern Ukraine border the Donetsk territory, as does Russia. Beware of the battlefront, which may be shifting quickly.

This region travel guide to Donetsk Oblast is an outline and may need more content. It has a template, but there is not enough information present. If there are Cities and Other destinations listed, they may not all be at usable status or there may not be a valid regional structure and a "Get in" section describing all of the typical ways to get here. Please plunge forward and help it grow!