Ukrainian Military Pulling Out of Debaltseve / Sputnik International

http://sputniknews.com/europe/20150218/1018413743.html

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KIEV (Sputnik) – Ukrainian forces are pulling out of Debaltseve, Donbas battalion Commander and parliament member Semen Semenchenko said on his Facebook page Wednesday.

“The withdrawal of troops from Debaltsevo is underway as planned and organized,” Semenchenko wrote, adding: “All of the stories about the control over Logvinovo turned out to be fairy tales and the pumpkin didn’t turn into a carriage.”

Ukrainian military commanders have ditched the city of Debaltsevo, leaving regular Ukrainian troops demoralized, the head of the eastern Ukrainian self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic’s administration said Wednesday.

“Debaltsevo is currently being swept, the Ukrainian troops there are demoralized, the commanders have left, and there is practically no mobile phone service because the communications tower was destroyed,” Donetsk News Agency cited Maksim Leshchenko as saying.

Leshchenko also said that hundreds of Ukrainian military personnel are turning over their weapons in one of the last hot spots of Debaltsevo.

“A mass turnover of weapons by Ukrainian forces is underway in Debaltsevo. The numbers of people are in the hundreds,” Leshchenko told the news agency.

Earlier on Wednesday, Donbas battalion Commander and parliament member Semyon Semenchenko said on his Facebook page that Ukrainian forces are pulling out of Debaltsevo.

“The withdrawal of troops from Debaltsevo is underway as planned and organized,” Semenchenko wrote, adding: “All of the stories about the control over Logvinovo turned out to be fairy tales and the pumpkin didn’t turn into a carriage.”

However, a source in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic’s headquarters told RIA Novosti Wednesday that “Ukrainian forces are actively firing and shelling in the Debaltsevo region.”

At the same time, the source stressed that eastern Ukrainian military forces have not noted any shelling of their positions or any shelling of cities by Ukrainian forces.

Debaltsevo, a strategic transport hub in eastern Ukraine, still remains one of the hotspots for violence in Ukraine. It is the place where about 5,000 Ukrainian soldiers have been encircled by independence supporters.

On February 12, during the talks held by the leaders of Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany in the Belarusian capital Minsk, a ceasefire deal was agreed on to deescalate hostilities in the region. The agreement also stipulates the withdrawal of artillery and prisoner exchanges.

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