The long-awaited Minsk talks fail as Russian terrorists enter Ukrainian town Debaltseve in the Donetsk Oblast on 17 February and cast “what’s next?” shadow on the situation.
Minsk agreements signed on 12 February after long and sleepless night appeared to be nothing more but a sheet of paper. Moreover, they now seem more like yet another Putin’s trick – Russian president has used the ceasefire to accumulate more weaponry and Russian soldiers in eastern Ukraine to attack an important railway hub – Debaltseve.
Although Minsk agreements among other things envisage territorial integrity of Ukraine, Russian terrorists say they cannot “morally” stop fighting to capture a town in eastern Ukraine controlled by Ukrainian army. But Russia’s perverted perception of moral surprises no more. Moreover, Russian terrorists claim their next goal is Kharkiv.
The situation near Debaltseve escalated on 17 February, when Russian troops attacked the town capturing around 50% of its territory. That was actually done in parallel with negotiations, involving Ukrainian and Russian parties and OSCE. OSCE SMM to Ukraine had been trying to talk into Russia to stop shelling Debaltseve for OSCE experts to get into the town to make a report on the observation of ceasefire there. Yes, OSCE asked for suspension of fire to make a report on whether the ceasefire had been violated or not in Debaltseve. Ironic, isn’t it?
When the group of Ukrainian soldiers was captured yesterday on the way to Debaltseve, Russian Lieutenant-General Aleksandr Lentsov himself was spotted on one of terrorists’ video overseeing the process. However, during his visit to Hungary, Putin affords himself to joke on the situation in Ukraine saying losing is always painful, especially losing to militia of “miners and truck drivers”. And Russian representative in the United Nation Security council Churkin calls Ukraine to nobly abandon Debaltseve to “rebels”. Russia’s rhetoric has been the same for almost a year now with the world knowing Russia lies. But this rhetoric still allows Kremlin to win more and more Ukrainian territories.
By the end of 17 February, thousands of Ukrainian soldiers and citizens found themselves trapped in Debaltseve, since the main road connecting Debaltseve and Artemivsk – the nearest city under Ukrainian control – is mined and shelled by enemy, with the snipers occupying more or less high-rise buildings.
The withdrawal of Ukrainian troops from Debaltseve has started today at 6:00, as reported by hromadske.tv. The servicemen are leaving the town mainly on foot by sideways, quite often they have to break out with fighting. Civilians remain in the town so far.
On 14 February, during his speech right before the ceasefire was announced at 00:00, President Petro Poroshenko promised Ukraine wouldn’t turn another cheek, if Russia violated Minsk agreements. The parties involved in negotiations, in their turn, threatened Russia with new sanctions and even with supply of arms to Ukraine. Russia has obviously violated the agreement. What’s next? Will that nice Minsk talks veil be withdrawn?