“We have already withdrawn 80 percent of the troops. We expect two more convoys, “- said Poroshenko. According to him, the soldiers are leaving with all their weapons, “demonstrating to the world and to Russia that there is no kettle in Debaltseve”. This statement was made by the President of Ukraine before flying to the zone of the antiterrorist operation (ATO). He said that the planned withdrawal of troops from Debaltseve began on Wednesday morning, February 18.
On Wednesday morning, rebel fighters reported on the continued ceasefire in the Donbass area. At the same time, the military headquarters of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) stated that the situation in the region remains tense and that in “Debaltseve direction the Ukrainian forces were actively using small arms and heavy machine guns.”
The truce was announced at midnight on February 15. Despite this, the fighting continued in the Debaltseve area. This town is considered a strategically important location for the Ukrainian forces – it is located on the M04 highway, which connects Donetsk with Lugansk.
On February 12, during the meeting of the “Normand four”, the French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Russian President Vladimir Putin and President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko adopted a document on a set of measures to implement the Minsk Agreements, providing, in particular, the cease-fire in the Donbas area as of February 15, withdrawal of heavy weapons and the establishment of the safety zone.