The information was confirmed by the army headquarters of the self-proclaimed People’s Republic of Donetsk. They clarified that the Ukrainian soldiers that are located in the city are surrendering en masse to rebels.
“Russian Spring” with reference to the chief of staff of the 4th Brigade of the LPR Defense Ministry with the call sign “Kamaz” reports that pro-Russian fighters are tightening the roundup of the Ukrainian troops in Debaltseve. According to him, there is continuous fighting using artillery, snipers and tanks.
The Chairman of Presidium of Supreme Soviet of the DPR, Denis Pushilin said in an interview with Reuters that pro-Russian rebels are not allowed to leave Debaltseve. According to him, they cannot withdraw heavy weapons until it is done by the Ukrainian military. “It’s a moral thing. This is an internal territory, “- said Pushilin.
Earlier, Tsaplienko reported that Ukrainian troops started to withdraw from Debaltseve on the night of February 17th. In small groups they tried to remove the wounded from the roundup using “Urals” and APCs, but one of the units was ambushed and lost a lot of equipment.
Debaltseve is considered a strategically important location for the Ukrainian military – the city is situated on the M04 highway, which connects Donetsk with Lugansk. In addition, according to pro-Russian rebels, a large group of Ukrainian troops is based in this town – anywhere from five to eight thousand soldiers.