In his eagerness to receive IMF $16 Billion loan package, Poroshenko forgot the welfare of his soldiers trapped in Devaltsevo cauldron. Instead, he denied that such situation existed and afforded himself the illusion that he was not negotiating from the position of weakness.
Now, some of those trapped 7,000 Kiev troops are laying down their arms en masse.
Kiev troops ‘surrender en masse’ in besieged Debalstevo
Published time: February 18, 2015 09:30
Edited time: February 18, 2015 10:30
Rebels walk near a building damaged during fighting in the village of Nikishine, south east of Debaltseve February 17, 2015 (Reuters / Baz Ratner)
Kiev troops surrounded in the city of Debalstevo have started to surrender en masse, Ukrainian rebels have said. Control over the city is the biggest stumbling block preventing a negotiated ceasefire in Ukraine from actually taking place.
The claim came on Wednesday from Maksim Leshchenko, a senior official in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, who told journalists that the Ukrainian troops are laying down their arms “in their hundreds.”
Earlier on Tuesday, Eduard Basurin, a military spokesperson for the rebels, confirmed taking some 300 soldiers prisoner.
Debaltsevo is Kiev’s stronghold deep inside the rebel-held territories in eastern Ukraine, a military asset portrayed in the media as a site of a heroic last stand of the Ukrainian military. The rebels say they have some 3,000 troops still encircled in a pocket and have been calling on them for days to lay down their arms and surrender. Kiev rejected the claims, insisting that Debalstevo supply lines are intact and that the city would remain under their control.
“We are currently monitoring Debaltsevo. Ukrainian troops stationed there are demoralized, their commanders have left,” Leshchenko said.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko confirmed in a video statement that he has given an order to withdraw troops from Debaltsevo.
He added that some 80 percent of the troops have already left the city.
Reuters cited a witness who saw the troops, some of them injured, arriving in Artemyevsk, a city northwest of Debaltsevo, through which a road leading to Kiev-controlled areas goes.
Earlier Semen Semenchenko, MP and commander of one of Kiev’s volunteer battalions, reported that the troops were being withdrawn from the contested city.
“The withdrawal of troops from Debaltsevo is going as planned in an organized manner… The enemy is trying to take over roads and prevent our forces from moving out,” he wrote on his Facebook page
He added that Kiev should now attack in other parts of the frontline, which had been weakened by the rebels to lay siege on Debaltsevo.
“They are empty and we have troops. One strike and the frontline would crumble,” he assured, adding that withdrawal is “beyond comprehension.”
The fate of Debaltsevo was arguably the biggest debating point at last week’s peace talks in Minsk, which resulted in a ceasefire agreement. The continued violence around the city contrasts the virtually uninterrupted truce in other parts of eastern Ukraine.
On Wednesday, anti-government forces started pulling back heavy weapons from the frontline in quiet areas of the conflict zone.
“Five 152mm self-propelled artillery pieces are being withdrawn from the village of Yelenovka to their permanent base,” Basurin told the media.
RIA Novosti confirmed the pullout, saying that its correspondent witnessed withdrawal of Grad multiple rocket launchers and tanks from the disengagement line.
On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin called on Kiev and the rebels to do whatever they can to resolve the issue without loss of life.
“I really hope that the decision-makers in the Ukrainian leadership won’t prevent the Ukrainian troops from laying down arms, if they cannot take such an important decision themselves and order it. Or at least they shouldn’t harass people who want to save their lives,” he said.
“On the other hand, I expect the militias not to detain those people and allow them to leave the conflict zone and go back to their families,” he added.
All my sources confirm that Debaltsevo is mostly in Novorussian hands and that the junta forces are in full retreat to the south of the pocket. All the top Novorussian brass was on hand today, including Kononov, Motorola, Givi, Mozgovoi and Zakharchenko as were many tens of Ukrainian prisoners. It appears that the junta forces were unable to provide the kind of resistance they showed in Peski, and that make sense because in Peski they were not surrounded and they had the fire support of Ukrainian forces just north and west of them. This time the cauldron is too deep and the “lid” too strong. See for yourself.
You can see that the cauldron “lid” has now closed on Debaltsevo from the north and that the junta forces are either surrendering of fleeing south where there is quite literally nothing for them to do then to wait until they run out of food and ammo. Bottom line: it’s over for the Ukie forces in the Debaltsevo cauldron.
Amazingly, the freaks in Kiev as still insisting that there is no cauldron but only a “bridgehead”. The good news is that apparently nobody buys that nonsense any more and the mothers and wifes of the men caught in the cauldron are trying everything they can to force the Ukie high command to accept the Novorussian offer of an evacuation corridor. The try to protest in front of the General Staff building in Kiev, then the blocked traffic. In a particularly poignant moment one of these women put a megaphone next to a cellphone to amplify the voice of her son/husband calling from the cauldron and announcing that they had for about 3 hours of supplies left.
All this is truly catastrophic news for the junta in Kiev. First, their policy of denying the issue made it impossible for their forces to get out while it was still possible. According to Russian military experts, about half of all the (comparatively) combat capable units of the Ukrainian military have been surrounded in this cauldron and that means that 50% of the Ukrainian army is now gone. Second, while Poroshenko and the junta freaks tried as hard as they could to completely deny the very existence of the cauldron, thanks to the Internet and the Russian TV channels most folks in junta-controlled Ukraine know that they are being lied to. That, in turns, means that the regime is loosing the very little credibility it might have had with the general public. Last and not least, now there will be a lot of very ugly recriminations from all sides of the political spectrum about who is guilty for that latest disaster. I would not be surprised one bit if the Ukrainian death-squads (aka Azov battalion & Co.) decided to storm Kiev for two reasons: a) to take out their rage on the regime and b) because it is safer to storm Kiev than Donetsk. Poroshenko better watch his back now. By the way, rumor (unconfirmed!) has it that he already evacuated his family to Germany.
Novorussian intel is reporting that the junta is trying to assemble three battalion tactical groups and numerous MLRS north of the cauldron to try to rescue the surrounded forces, but this will be too little too late. The Novorussians are used to Ukie artillery and they don’t fear their armor or, even less so, infantry. Besides, I bet you that now that they are inside Debaltsevo, the Novorussians will deeply dig in. When is the last time that the junta forces succeeded in an urban assault operation? Exactly.
Bottom line: yet another brilliant victory for the Novorussian forces and yet another humiliating defeat for the junta in Kiev.
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko offered to stop the fighting in Debaltseve and guarantee a safe exit for the surrounded Kiev troops from the area.
MINSK, February 18 (Sputnik) – The president of Belarus has offered a guarantee for a safe withdrawal of Ukrainian troops and weapons surrounded in the area of Debaltseve in eastern Ukraine.
“We are ready to not just be a mediator, but to actually stop this conflict in the area of Debaltseve and to bring all of Ukraine’s military servicemen out of there under our guarantee so that they never fight again,” Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said in Minsk.
Earlier in the day, deputy commander of the Donetsk independence militia Eduard Basurin told Russia’s Rossiya-24 televison channel that approximately 3,000 Ukrainian troops remain surrounded in Debaltsevo.
Read more: http://sputniknews.com/politics/20150218/1018416595.html#ixzz3S5yqguwA
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