Putin urged Ukraine to permit troops to put down their weapons, as the conflicts in the Debaltseve region are just as intense and the rebels have the assumed 5,000 troops encircled.
The Russian leader said in a statement that:
“I hope that the responsible figures in the Ukrainian leadership will not hinder soldiers in the Ukrainian army from putting down their weapons.”
With only three days since the cease fire agreement came into effect, the treaty is already on the verge of collapse as pro-Russian rebels have no intention of giving up. On the contrary, they are advancing quickly. A Ukrainian army official reported that five troops were killed in the last 24 hours.
Rebel leader Eduard Basurin said that 80 percent of the town of Debaltseve, an important Ukrainian rail hub, is already under their control, and that they managed to capture “hundreds” of Ukrainian soldiers. He added that “a clean-up of the town is under way.”
The Ukrainian army officials are not affected by these statements, saying that soldiers will maintain their positions. They also consider that the number of prisoners taken by rebels was overestimated.
The United Stated had the intention of sending weapons to help Ukrainian forces in Debaltseve but according to Jen Psaki, State Department spokesperson, “getting into a proxy war with Russia is not anything that’s in the interest of Ukraine or in the interest of the international community”.
Western leaders are sending urgent requests for restrains as the deadline regarding the elimination of heavy weaponry from the front is alarmingly close. Angela Merkel, German Chancellor told Berlin reporters that there was never anything certain regarding the agreement ended in the Belarusian capital of Minsk and the path to a minimal state of peace will be long and difficult.
In the meantime, the European Union added 19 more Russian-linked persons and nine organizations to the sanctions list in an attempt to pressure the Russian government. Among the individuals newly added on the sanctions list are Russian singer and MP Iosif Kobzon and pro-Russian fighters in Ukraine.
The Russian Foreign Ministry expressed their astonishment in regards to the E.U.’s decision and is now accusing the organization of doing Ukraine’s “war bidding”.
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