“Donetsk People’s Republic” (DPR) and “Luhansk People’s Republic” (LPR) are located in the easternmost provinces of Ukraine, bordering on Russia.
The LPR holds more territory than DPR, although its population is about half the size of DPR (2.2 million people in LPR versus 4.4 million in DPR). LPR is poorer, more rural, and less industrialized. 50% of LPR's population are on pensions, primarily retirees.3
LPR was less politically prominent than Donetsk during the prior 20 years of Ukraine’s independence. Al-Jazeera tried to do a Vox-style explainer, about why the two break-away territories didn't do it together, as one, but came to the conclusion that "it was complicated".
In late 2013 and 2014, the LPR and DPR did make somewhat of an effort to break away together and form one entity, the “Union of the Peoples’ Republics of Novorossiya”. Their territories/the territories they occupy/their homes are adjacent. A unified entity of DPR and LPR was briefly considered as the nucleus of a far wider “Novorossiya” in Ukraine's east, possibly to include Crimea in the south. It didn't work out for a variety of reasons, one of which was that Putin wasn't eager to have them at that time.
Ossetia is even further south, and has been the only nation to recognize the DPR and LPR, other than the LPR and DPR, who recognize each other.
According to High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of @eu_commission Josep Borrell Fontelles via Twitter:
...if Putin recognized the non-government controlled areas of Donetsk
and Luhansk oblasts of Ukraine as independent entities. This
recognition would be a clear violation of the Minsk agreements.
Since I began writing this answer about a week ago, Josep Borell Fontelles's concerns have morphed into reality. Things are moving fast
(although external influences might be rushing them.)
If anything, the two regions seem to have grown closer to each other and to Russia since they broke away from Ukraine:
Both separatist regions have abandoned the Ukrainian hryvnia in favour
of the Russian rouble as their official currencies. Local schools now
follow the Russian national curriculum instead of that taught in