Armed Forces

Debaltseve On Fire – Yesterday, The Russian Offensive Was Still Going On

  • Ilustracja: TeamIndus

Pro-Russian rebels have been using the last hours before the ceasefire memorandum enters force, in order to expand the controlled territory. Cities of Debaltseve and Mariupol have been the main target here. Russian mechanized units and artillery have played an active part in that offensive operation.

The objective here was quite obvious – the separatists wanted to gain control over the key areas, before the provisions of the Minsk memorandum enter into force. The main goal was to conquer and gain total control over the Debaltseve city,  which is located deep in the territory controlled by the separatists. Secondly, the pro-Russian forces needed to gain control over the Mariupol city and port, in the south.

The “Azov” battalion, operating within the area, reported a high level of Russian activity in the area. Tanks and armoured vehicles were said to be coming into the area, in large quantities, from the Russian territory, e.g. through Novoazovsk. The Russian units were headed towards Mariupol, which was considered to be the main target for the rebels. “Azov” battalion informed that it had stopped the enemy in the area of the Shirokino village, by destroying several tanks. The volunteers also spotted Russian aeroplanes operating over the Azov Sea, however, so far no information regarding the potential  air-strikes have been released.

High level of activity of Russian helicopters and UAV’s has also been reported. According to the reports released by the Ukrainian command, numerous helicopters were spotted going over the Russian-Ukrainian border.  At least 14 Russian UAV’s were operating within the area of operations, used mostly for the purpose of coordinating the artillery units. US Embassy, on the basis of satellite imagery, informed that the Russian artillery attacked Debaltseve and all of the positions of the Ukrainian forces.

“The Rebels are destroying the city of Debaltseve. Endless artillery strikes (…) The city is on fire”

as it has been reported via facebook by the head of the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs for the Donetsk Oblast, Viacheslav Ambroskin.

Debaltseve, which is a key transport node, has so far been the key objective for the separatists and the Russian forces. The largest forces have been concentrated in the area, including Russian artillery and tanks. One of the leaders of the Donetsk-based separatists has stated that the fights will stop everywhere, but not in Donetsk, which is treated as an “internal territory”. In his opinion, Debaltseve is not a subject of the Minsk memorandum.

Nonetheless, according to various reports that emerged on the internet, the ceasefire seemed to be effective, starting from midnight, last night.