The Luhansk Oblast is a mainly Russian-occupied oblast in Eastern Ukraine. Part of the oblast was previously governed as the Luhansk People's Republic, (LPR) (Russian: Луга́нская Наро́дная Респу́блика Luganskaya Narodnaya Respublika) a self-proclaimed state governed by by pro-Russian separatists until Russia annexed the LPR in 2022.
- 1 Luhansk – Former industrial heartland of Eastern Ukraine, now the capital of the LPR. The city and its surrounding areas have been one of the main sites of fighting in the Donbass War.
- 2 Alchevsk – one of the largest industrial centers in the Donbass
- 3 Krasnodon – a center of the coal mining industry of the Donbass region
- 4 Krasnyi Luch – one of the most important coal mining centres of the Donets Basin
- 5 Sievierodonetsk – home to some of Ukraine's largest factories and home to Europe's largest chemical power plant. It was also the former administrative centre of Luhansk Oblast after Luhansk city was taken, until it was itself was taken by the LPR.
- 6 Lysychansk – centre of Donbas State Technical University
As of September 2022 Russia controls most of Luhansk Oblast, but Ukraine has retaken some areas. All of the oblast is to be regarded as a war zone.
The Luhansk People's Republic (LPR) was declared in 2014 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 Donetsk People's Republic (DPR). Its independence was maintained through support from Russia.
The LPR extended to approximately half of Luhansk Oblast of Ukraine, including its densely populated areas, the regional capital Luhansk, and the major cities Alchevsk and Krasnodon.
Its population was estimated by the LPR to be 1.5 million in 2018, although the validity of this estimate is questioned by international observers. Of those who lived in the separatist controlled regions before the war, a third had left by 2022, half of them to Russia, the other half to other parts of Ukraine.
In January 2021 DPR and LPR stated in a "Russian Donbass doctrine" that they aimed to seize all of the territories of Donetsk Oblast 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 LPR was recognized by few countries, even by Russia only in 2022 as part of its invasion against Ukraine. During the invasion, Russia came to control all of Luhansk Oblast, but with the Ukrainian counter-attack in the autumn, the battlefront again crosses the oblast.
In September 2022, Russia arranged a highly questionable referendum under Russian military observation, in which the population of the LPR voted to join Russia. Russia then formally annexed all of the oblast, including areas not under its control.
In 2019, Ukraine enacted a law making Ukrainian the sole official language. In 2020, the LPR similarly abandoned its policy of Russian and Ukrainian bilingualism, and established Russian as the sole official language.
As per the 2001 census taken in Luhansk, 68.8% of people spoke Russian as primary language, while 30.0% spoke Ukrainian as such.
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 LPR from Russia is illegal under Ukrainian law, and will result on a lifetime ban on entering Ukraine.
As of March 2021, the Luhansk International Airport is not operating.
In the Russian-controlled part of the oblast, the Russian ruble is the principal currency used.
The conflict in the region is on-going 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. There is also general lawlessness, arbitrary arrests and Human Rights' violations.