Putin Urges Ukraine Military to Cede Contested Town

Calls on Rebels to Release Soldiers Captured in Town

The Ukraine ceasefire is holding virtually nationwide, with the town of Debaltseve really the only holdout. The rebels had the town surrounded before the ceasefire, with the military holding the town itself.

The two sides keep trading fire around the town, and Russian President Vladimir Putin is urging the Ukrainian military to just give it up, pushing for a promise from the rebels that they’ll let the troops leave.

Some Ukrainian soldiers have already been captured in Debaltseve, with the rebels claiming large-scale surrenders. Putin is calling on them to release these troops back to their families. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is calling on the UN to back up Ukrainian claims to the town.

The ongoing skirmishes in Debaltseve seem to be posing the only serious threat to the ceasefire at this point, with both sides lashing the other for “aggression” there. The resolution of that town clash, one way or another, might actually stabilize the situation, though neither seems willing to give up control over the town, located along the highway between Donetsk and Luhansk.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.