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Debaltseve Taken by Russian Soldiers?

Ilya Barbanov, who is a journalist of the Russian “Kommiersant” newspaper, stated on Friday that the Debaltseve has been entered not by “local militia” but by the “Russian soldiers”, which is a confirmation of the Ukrainian reports and statements made by the soldiers who are fighting in the “boiler”.

In his article, Barbanov writes about 4 Russian soldiers who have been contracted to serve in a motorized riflemen brigade. These riflemen have been currently assigned to fight side-by-side with so called “separatists”. Barbanov states: “This is a permanent mission for them, and their commanders have shown no objection – they even reacted positively to the soldiers’ will to go to Donbass and to protect their motherland in that particular moment”. 

He adds that not only did the Russian soldiers get consents to be involved in fights in the Ukrainian territory, but also that the Russian Military has conducted an active recruitment initiative: “Should further militia attacks happen, commands of the Russian military units from the whole Russian territory will start to discuss the importance of providing support for Donbass, which is fighting for freedom, in its struggle against the Western attack. It is not compulsory – it is voluntary”.

It is also worth noting that on Wednesday, 18th February, the UNIAN press agency has stated that Russian General-Lieutenant Alexandr Lentsov has been spotted among so called “separatists”, stationed in Debaltseve. He is currently acting as a deputy commander of the Russian land forces. The video clip, in which one may spot Lentsov, features him as a “commander of an element of the Militia of People’s Republic of Donetsk” .