At least 90 Ukrainian troops captured, 82 missing in Debaltseve

February 19, 2015 | By | Reply More

Feb 19, – The Ukrainian military on Thursday said that the casualties in Debaltseve were substantially worse than initially announced, with at least 13 soldiers killed, 157 wounded, more than 90 captured and at least 82 missing. Witnesses said the number of dead would likely grow considerably higher.

hromedia At least 90 Ukrainian troops captured, 82 missing in Debaltseve eu news3Late Wednesday, the office of President Petro O. Poroshenko had said that at least six soldiers had been killed and 100 wounded in the hurried retreat from Debaltseve, a strategically important junction in eastern Ukraine, now firmly in the hands of pro-Russian rebels. The town fell after several days of intense fighting that continued after a cease-fire was to have taken effect at midnight Saturday.

In a statement defending his decision to order the withdrawal, Mr. Poroshenko said that 2,475 soldiers were safely pulled out, along with 200 military vehicles. Late Wednesday, Mr. Poroshenko urged the deployment of a United Nations peacekeeping force — an idea swiftly rejected by Russia.

The Ukrainian military said it had appealed to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe for help in locating the missing soldiers.

With the accord they brokered last week to end the conflict seemingly in tatters, the leaders of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France spoke by telephone on Thursday in an effort to find a way to impose an elusive truce.

None of the provisions of the peace accord, forged during an overnight negotiating session in Minsk, Belarus, have yet been carried out in line with the terms and timetable.

There has been no halt in fighting, with reports of battles not just in Debaltseve but throughout the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk. A deadline on Tuesday for beginning the withdrawal of heavy weaponry came and went, with artillery still booming.

In the city of Artemivsk, where Ukrainian soldiers gathered after their retreat from Debaltseve, the harrowing human toll from the recent days of fighting was on vivid display.

Many soldiers were in a demoralized and drunken state. Shellshocked soldiers from the battle in Debaltseve wandered the streets through the day Wednesday, before beginning to drink heavily.

By Wednesday evening, gunshots were ringing out on the central square. One man stood, swaying, on the sidewalk mumbling to himself. Soldiers who had escaped from Debaltseve after weeks of shelling were commandeering taxi cabs without payment. It was not clear that all of them had been given places to sleep, and one group stood silently, shivering on a street outside the Hotel Ukraine.

And at Biblios, an upscale restaurant in Artemivsk, soldiers staggered about in the dining room, ordering brandy for which they had no money to pay, and then firing shots into the ceiling as other guests quietly fled the premises.

At a news conference in Kiev, the Ukrainian capital, Michael Bociurkiw, a spokesman for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s special monitoring mission in Ukraine, read a long list of violations of the cease-fire agreement throughout eastern Ukraine, most of them involving artillery fire.

Press journalist for HROmedia – Norberto Lluch reports.

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Category: European Crises

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