February 17, 2015
DPR intelligence reports: out of original 8,000 Ukrainian troops, about 5,000 remain.
NAF mission – to squeeze the ring of encirclement
Battles are intense and up-close
Debaltsevo is a large railroad hub, and the central train depot offers a lot of places to shelter
Lugansk and Donetsk armies connected in Debaltsevo. Lugansk troops are in charge of the Northern section, Donetsk – the Southern.
Zakharchenko: “I personally guarantee life of every Ukrainian soldier who lays down arms and surrenders”
“We are going to Logvinovo from Uglegorsk”
“It’s a gruesome picture, the entire road is covered with bodies of Ukrainian soldiers and destroyed vehicles.”
NAF soldier: “The ceasefire lasted for one minute, and was over after they [Ukrainians] opened fire”
“Militia is trying to withhold fire, but, as you can hear, UAF did not stop firing”
“We are under artillery fire, we need to get out of here as soon as possible”
“We are praying, because they are trailing us with fire!”
“These heights were liberated from fascists in the 1940’s by their grandfathers”
– We went today to Debaltsevo, the Eastern district. We can say NAF controls most of it. There were isolated resistance pockets, which were rapidly dissapearing.
NAF announced that they will not allow Ukrainian soldiers to exit the encirclement with their weapons.
Ukrainian troops continued attempts to break out. As a result, despite ceasefire, fighting continued. Debaltsevo is 80% controlled by DPR and LPR. I am reminding this is a joint operation of LPR and DPR.
Ukrainian artillery was trying to clear the way for their troops with artillery.
According to our information, at least 60 Ukrainian soldiers surrendered in front of our eyes today on the East of Debaltsevo. Not clear from which units. We were able to talk to some of them. Here is what they told us:
– Did you know you were surrounded?
– No, there was nothing we could do, we just found out
– Did you try to break out?
– Were should we break out? There is nowhere to go
Surrendered Ukrainian soldiers received medical aid, food, were guaranteed humane treatment by NAF commanders and told they will be exchanged for NAF POW’s.
“The stronghold of Ukrainian troops was surrounded from flanks. We asked them to surrender last night, which they refused, because they were told by their command that help will come. But today as a result of clashes, they had to accept defeat.”
This is a first coordinated operation by both DPR and LPR. Cossack detachments participated on the side of LPR.
The situation remains tense. Artillery intensity did not go down since the ceasefire.
Interfax reported, most of Debaltsevo is under the control of NAF.
DPR representative reported: “We announced earlier, that ceasefire is not applicable to Debaltsevo. Kiev broke the ceasefire by their shelling of Gorlovka and Donetsk airport”