Sunday, 22 February 2015

Ukraine civil war update - 02/21/2015

Terrified Debaltsevo residents leave shelters after Kiev troops’ pullout

21 Febraury, 2015

As Kiev and anti-government forces in eastern Ukraine prepare for heavy artillery withdrawal and prisoner exchanges, the residents of Debaltsevo, the hotspot of the recent fighting, have plucked up courage to walk the streets of their town again.

After the Ukrainian military withdrew their forces “en mass” from war-torn Debaltsevo on Wednesday, the locals, terrified by weeks of shelling, began to crawl out of their bomb shelters, scavenging for what thousands of Kiev troops left behind – personal belongings, food or warm clothes.
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Urban completely controlled by anti-govt forces. Remaining units outside city.
Residents weren’t prepared to talk to journalists for a while, but when they did it was with long pent-up bitterness.

We would like to thank Ukraine that it made us homeless, destroyed our homes,” local women tell RT at the abandoned Ukrainian army’s military camp. “We’ve been living in basements since the summer.”

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Damage to simply horrendous. Terrified residents say panicked troops fired blindly
A hospital in Debaltsevo, that served as a barracks for the Ukrainian troops and was also damaged in the street battles, became a shelter for many civilians, who had no desire to leave Donbass in search for a safer life.

How can a person, who worked all her life, end up in a basement like a rat? I don’t understand how I could be here,” says a woman, who had been surviving in the hospital’s basement.

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Locals search for food in overrun military camp. It is massive, strewn with ammo and personal belongings

On Saturday, Kiev and anti-government forces in eastern Ukraine are planning to exchange prisoners in a continuing effort to implement the peace deal.

Over a month, the clashes around Debaltsevo claimed the lives of at least 179 Ukrainian soldiers, Yuriy Biryukov, presidential adviser and assistant to the defense minister, said on Friday. Hostages were made of 110 soldiers and 81 are missing, he wrote on his Facebook page. According to self-defense forces estimates, the Ukrainian soldiers’ death toll is nearly 3,000 people.

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hospital. Apparently used for months as barracks by troops. Damaged Ukrainian APC sits outside

Debaltsevo is a strategic railway hub, connecting the breakaway regions of Lugansk and Donetsk. It remained a battlefield where around 3,000 Ukrainian soldiers were surrounded by Donetsk People’s Republic forces, as the ceasefire failed to put an end to the ongoing violence.

The leaders of Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany agreed the peace deal in Minsk on February 12. To de-escalate the lingering conflict, that has taken at least 5,600 lives, according to the latest UN estimates, it introduced measures such as the ceasefire that started a week ago, a pullout of heavy weapons, and comprehensive constitutional reform by the end of the year.

A 75 year old woman picks up the scattered macaroni left after Ukrainian army in Debaltsevo. The whole war represented in one photo.

OSCE mission gets access to Debaltsevo in E. Ukraine, Kiev and militia swap prisoners

Vehicles of the Special Monitoring Mission of the Organization for Security and Cooperation (OSCE) to Ukraine near Debaltsevo, eastern Ukraine, February 20, 2015. (Reuters/Gleb Garanich)

21 Febraury, 2015

The OSCE monitoring mission in eastern Ukraine has finally arrived in the town of Debaltsevo, after a local militia provided guarantees of security. At the same time Kiev and rebels in Lugansk gave independent reports of prisoner swaps.

Representatives of the OSCE special monitoring mission (SMM) in eastern Ukraine arrived at the town of Debaltsevo in the Donetsk region, the mission's spokesperson Michael Bociurkiw announced on Saturday. Access to the area, which had reportedly been a sticking point at the Minsk peace talks, and which continued to be a scene of fighting between the anti-government forces and Kiev troops, was possible with the militia's guarantees of security, Bociurkiw told Ukraine's 112 tv channel.

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Newly arrived armoured vehicles at SMM HQ in Kyiv getting readied for deployment to E Ukraine
The observers arrived at Debaltsevo along with the International Committee of the Red Cross and several trucks, bringing food and medical supplies to the region, the OSCE spokesperson said, adding that its observers are working on a full report on the situation in the region. He also called for all sides to observe the cease fire agreement in all territories in eastern Ukraine and provide access for the mission to all its regions.

Kiev forces allegedly obstructed the OSCE mission's freedom of movement, after keeping the observers at one of the check points some 80 kilometers from Donetsk, RIA Novosti reported. Citing the mission's representatives, it was said that while at one of the check points the observers had to wait for a while to be let through, at the other security point they were denied entry by Ukrainian servicemen, due to lack of travel documents.

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HAPPENING NOW: Media briefing by Deputy Chief Monitor Alexander Hug - statement on withdrawal of heavy weapons

On Saturday, the OSCE SMM in Ukraine also asked both sides of the conflict to provide details of their heavy weapons in order to verify their withdrawal from the area. In its statement, the SMM asked for details of "inventories of their heavy weapons; the routes along which they intend to withdraw them; or where they will be concentrated."

OSCE SMMU - Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine
Organization · 3,457 Likes
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I am aware of several reports which indicate that the process of withdrawal of heavy weapons, on which the sides agreed in Minsk, is about to start. In order to verify the withdrawal – to testify to the truth that specific weapons have been and remain withdrawn – the OSCE SMM needs to know what heavy weapons the sides have, where ...
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In line with the truce, which was agreed by several world leaders in Minsk last week, the self-proclaimed republics in Ukraine and military officials from Kiev conducted a prisoner of war exchange on Saturday. At least 35 prisoners from each side of the conflict were freed on neutral territory near Lugansk, the self-proclaimed Donetsk people's republic spokesperson told Ria Novosti. The Lugansk militia also reportedly planned to conduct an exchange with the government. Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko announced the release of over a hundred of Ukrainian soldiers on his Twitter.

139 Ukrainian soldiers have been released from captivity.

Humanitarian aid from Russia was also delivered to the town of Debaltsevo on Saturday, Interfax reported, citing Russia's Foreign Ministry official. Supplies of food, medicine and everyday necessities were delivered to the region with the help of Russia's emergency services

Kiev and the Republic exchanged two hundred prisoners, one soldier of ATO refused to return to Ukraine

МОЛНИЯ: Киев и республики обменялись двумя сотнями пленных, 1 боец АТО отказался возвращаться на Украину

21 February, 2015

Ukrainian journalist Roman Hnatiuk reported the details of the exchange of prisoners, which took place on March 21.

"A long day. We are retruning wth the exchange of prisoners.

Held "in the fields" for the village Frunze Lugansk region.

According to the results: DPR gave 37 (1 refused); from Ukraine received 36. LPR gave up 103 from Ukraine, received 16 people. "


Украинский журналист Роман Гнатюк сообщил подробности обмена пленными, который состоялся 21 марта.

«Длинный день. Возвращаемся с обмена пленными.

Проходил „в полях” за поселком Фрунзе Луганской обл.

По итогам: ДНР 37 отдала (1 отказался), от Украины получили 36. ЛНР отдала 103, от Украины получили 16 человек».

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