Pitched battles raged between Ukraine regular troops and Russian backed militants for the strategically important railroad town in eastern Ukraine. The fighting raged on in spite of a ceasefire agreement in place which is holding fast in most of the eastern sector except the town of Debaltseve.
By noon the rebels informed a separatist news agency that it has captured Debaltseve. The Ukrainian Army has hotly contested this claim and said that it was repelling the attacks.
Ukraine’s military spokesman, Andriy Lysenko, said in Kiev, Ukraine’s capital, “An intense fight is underway now on the outskirts of Debaltseve. There are engagements near the train station. But our soldiers are holding their positions, and they have full authority to return fire.”
Regardless of the outcome of the fighting around Debaltseve, it is surely going to put into jeopardy the ceasefire agreement hammered out between Russia, France, Germany and Ukraine.
More than 8000 Ukrainian soldiers are holed up in the city, a strategic rail hub which connects the capital of two breakaway regions, Donetsk and Luhansk. Rebel soldiers are repeatedly sending text messages to the Ukrainian Regular Army asking them to surrender since they have been abandoned and should surrender.
Meanwhile the Ukrainian Government has contended that the town was surrounded after the signing of the ceasefire agreement and European monitors enforcing the ceasefire agreement must as the rebel forces to vacate the city.
The main rebel group, the Donetsk People’s Republic however negated this contention and said that Debaltseve was encircled before the ceasefire agreement came into existence. Debaltseve according to the rebels is an internal region in its enclave and hence not a front.
There is only one resupply road which goes into the besieged city, it is heavily mined and often held by pro Russian infantry. Earlier it was reported that 8 Ukrainian soldiers escaped on foot and again on Sunday a few soldiers made an escape in a truck.