Opening the door to annexation of Ukraine’s Donbas, Vladimir Putin says Ukraine and other former Soviet republics control traditionally Russian lands

. “I have become increasingly convinced that Kyiv simply doesn’t need Donbas,” he writes in a 7,000-word essay posted Monday on the Kremlin website. Largely focused on Ukraine and Russia, Putin writes that Ukrainians and Russians are “one people,” that Ukrainian nationalism is a Western construct, and he concludes: “I am convinced that the true sovereignty of Ukraine is possible only in partnership with Russia.”