Amid Ukraine Ceasefire Struggles, Both Sides Refuse Artillery Pullout

Fighting Continues Around Debaltseve

The Ukrainian ceasefire is holding across most of the nation’s east, though intermittent clashes continue to be reported around the town of Debaltseve. Each side is blaming the other for the ceasefire violations there.

That most of the country remains calm seems to be forgotten in all of this, though the question of the two sides withdrawing heavy artillery from the front line may be the real stressor on the truce.

The Ukrainian military is refusing to withdraw its artillery, as mandated by the Minsk deal, citing the continued fighting in Minsk. Rebels in the area are similarly saying they don’t intend to withdraw artillery until the military does.

Everything now seems to hinge on Debaltseve, and the 8,000 Ukrainian troops therein, who were effectively surrounded before the ceasefire. The rebels are offering to let them withdraw from the town, but Ukraine doesn’t want to cede the strategically useful town to the rebels either. Whether the battle over the town spoils the ceasefire everywhere else remains to be seen.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.