Shelling of Debaltseve Has Not Stopped. The Separatists Threaten That They Will Attack Kharkiv.
Fights in the Debaltseve area are still going on. Starting from the point when the ceasefire was implemented, the pro-Russian separatists have conducted 112 strikes, in case of 88 of these Debaltseve was the main target and 19 of these strikes involved the Grad rocket launchers. The narrative of the separatists, which contradicts the facts, claims that the Minsk memorandums have no force in the Debaltseve area. The region is considered by the separatists to be their own territory.
On Monday the separatists made another step. Alexandr Zakharchenko, who is the self-proclaimed leader of so called People’s Republic of Donetsk, threatens that “should the Ukrainians not act in line with the Minsk Memorandum”, his units will “retake” the Mariupol Port, and then they will “conquer” Kharkiv.
“If the Kiev authorities do not act in line with the Minsk Agreement and do not withdraw their armament from our territories, do not release the prisoners and do not stop to shell our cities, we will not simply stand there and wait. First, we will destroy the Debaltseve boiler, along with the Ukrainian soldiers. The boiler is currently a place where presence of 6 to 8 thousand persons is reported. Then we will get back Mariupol, and then, we will gather all of our forces and conquer the city of Kharkiv” – as Zakharchenko has declared.
The leader also added that Kharkiv would be conquered, one way or another, and that such event is just a matter of time, due to the fact that this city is currently a place, where many people who would like to be “freed from occupation” are staying. According to the Pro-Russian rebels, the Minsk memorandum has no effect on the Debaltseve area.
As the “deputy leader of the People’s Republic of Donetsk Ministry of Defence’s corps”, Eduard Basurin claims: “It is obvious that we may start fights in Debaltseve, as it is our internal territory. Internal is internal. Along the [external] borders [which separate the Debaltseve area and the Ukrainian forces] no shootings happen”.
So called “Separatists” did not let the OSCE observers enter the area. Luhansk and Donetsk Oblasts are a theater for intensified fights. Members of the Ukrainian military claim, that the rebels have intensified their drone operations. Dmytro Tymchuk stated that “terrorist-Russian forces” are currently regrouping in the Gorlovka area, in the Donetsk Oblast. The 2nd Tactical Battalion has been reinforced (currently 900 troops, 25 tanks, 32 armoured vehicles and 20 other vehicles, 2 mortar batteries, 6 D-30 Howitzers and 6 MT-12 anti-tank guns). Semen Semchenko, who is the People’s Deputy of Ukraine and Commander of the “Donbas” battalion claims that the town of Shyrokine, near Mariupol, is a theatre for ongoing fights of the infantry, which is operating under mortar and artillery fire, and that more and more separatists reinforcements come into the area.
Ukrainian media recall the fact that the 14th humanitarian convoy, which has crossed the Russian-Ukrainian border on Sunday, 15th February in the Morning, consisted of 176 trucks, not 150 – as the Russians have initially claimed. As it happened earlier, the convoy has split, one set of vehicles went towards Donetsk and the other was headed towards Luhansk. According to the Ukrainian sources, most of the Convoy does not carry humanitarian aid, but support for the terrorists: e.g. 41 trucks are transporting fuel and greases, one of them is carrying printed materials, contents of which are unknown, while the remaining two are carrying rolls of printing paper. Representatives of the Red Cross or other organizations did not take part in checking, loading or verifying the transport operation.