Battles continue northwest of Lugansk, near Mariupol, and in other locations, in addition to the Debaltsevo cauldron.
The only reason for the ceasefire that I can see was for Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko to allow his troops to escape the Debaltsevo cauldron.
The separatist refused the ceasefire losing proposition because the intent of Kiev was known from the start. Kiev never intended to honor Minsk II, having denied upfront amnesty and constitutional agreements. (See Ceasefire or Not? Will Kiev Honor Agreement? Poroshenko Says “Prepare for Martial Law”).
Also note there never was agreement on the Ukrainian forces surrounded in the Debaltsevo cauldron.
Situation Hopeless for Ukraine
The Ukrainian situation is hopeless given the rebels have said that the ceasefire does not oblige them to lift the encirclement. And from Kiev’s perspective, there is no longer a reason for a ceasefire.
Translation Difficulties Continue
Colonel Cassad reports “Debaltseve Ours. We Do Not’re Gone“
More accurately, that is what Google translate says Cassad reports. I pinged Jacob Dreizin asking him what “Мы не уйдём” means.
It does not mean “We Do Not’re Gone“, but rather “We Won’t Leave“. In context it means “Debaltsevo is ours and if you think we’re leaving it, you’re crazy“.
My synopsis of the rest of the article follows.
An associate of Yushchenko Balogh [former minister of emergencies in Ukraine] made a suggestion ‘let’s not repeat the situation with the airport.’ But such statements are clearly not in the political mainstream in Ukraine. Propaganda hastily sculpts another myth about the ‘Ukrainian Stalingrad’ under Debaltseve. This will end as pointless and bloody as the airport ‘cyborgs’. People die for no reason. The Debaltseve truce is moribund.
Ceasefire in Tatters
The Guardian confirms the above in its report Ukraine Ceasefire in Tatters as Clashes Escalate in East.
Fighting has escalated in eastern Ukraine as government and pro-Russia forces struggle for control of the besieged town of Debaltseve, leaving the new ceasefire in tatters on its second day.
The Ukrainian military said on Monday that rebels had fired on its troops 112 times in the past 24 hours. At least five Ukrainian fighters have been killed and 25 wounded since the ceasefire began on Sunday, a military spokesman, Vladislav Seleznyov, told the Guardian.
Most of the fighting was concentrated around Debaltseve, where thousands of soldiers have been cut off from the main Ukrainian lines near Artemivsk by rebel artillery. Pro-Russia forces have been trying for weeks to take the town, which holds a rail junction connecting the main rebel centres of Donetsk and Luhansk.
The rebel leader, Alexander Zakharchenko, said this weekend his forces would observe the ceasefire everywhere except in Debaltseve. Kiev has repeatedly denied that Debaltseve is cut off, despite evidence to the contrary.
“These aggressive actions and statements by the Russia-backed separatists threaten the most recent ceasefire,” the US State Department said in a prepared statement. “We call on Russia and the separatists it backs to halt all attacks immediately.”
Donetsk negotiator Denis Pushilin said on Monday that pro-Russia forces would offer a “green corridor” through which the Ukrainian troops in Debaltseve could leave “without weapons and vehicles”. But the Ukrainian president, Petro Poroshenko, rejected similar proposals during bargaining last week in Minsk, the Russian newspaper Kommersant reported at the weekend.
US Nonsense and Ukrainian Stupidity
“These aggressive actions and statements by the Russia-backed separatists threaten the most recent ceasefire,” the US State Department said in a prepared statement.
Let me point out the obvious: There never was agreement on the Debaltseve cauldron, and it is Ukraine, not the separatists who have openly rejected terms of what was agreed upon.
This is not taking sides. Rather it’s a simple point-by-point assessment of the accord.
Poroshenko Rejects “Green Corridor”
The lunatic masquerading as president of Ukraine has committed his troops in the Debaltseve cauldron to their doom.
The Guardian reports “Debaltseve has been virtually cut off from the rest of the Ukrainian forces. A group of Ukrainian soldiers who broke out of Debaltseve on Sunday told the Guardian their column of seven trucks had come under heavy fire from rebel positions despite the ceasefire, and two of the vehicles were destroyed. They said that more than 60% of the city has been ruined by near-constant fires and shelling, and Kiev’s troops are trapped there with dwindling ammunition and supplies.”
The above Guardian quote is nearly the same as Cassad’s assessment “This will end as pointless and bloody as the airport ‘cyborgs’. People die for no reason. The Debaltseve truce is moribund.“
Mike “Mish” Shedlock