Posted on Fort Russ
“The Debaltsevo Cauldron had closed. It’s a second Ilovaysk.”
By Yuliana Skibitskaya
Translated from Russian and Ukrainian by J.Hawk
We have collected the statements from combat participants and commentary from social networks concerning the events at Debaltsevo.
Dmitriy Gross, Deputy Commander, 25th “Kievan Russ” Battalion
“We are under fire from mortars, Grads, self-propelled howitzers, small arms, and lots of other stuff. There is close combat in the streets. 90% of the civilian population had left. Debaltsevo is not fully surrounded, but all roads leading into it are under militant [sic] fire. It is practically impossible to enter the city.
“Gusar,” an officer of the 128th Brigade (published on the Zerkalo Nedeli web site):
“We are facing the second Ilovaysk. It’s been five days since the cauldron had closed. When the Donetsk Airport was taken, they lied to people for five days that it’s under control. In reality it was the other way around. Debaltsevo is under de-facto encirclement since five days ago. There used to be a small path out, which they tried to use to break out. They lost vehicles but broke out. The enemy occupied the commanding heights along the road and has it covered with fire. People are telling us nice stories that there are still communication routs, some detours, dirt roads…There was a road like that, but as of yesterday the convoy of five vehicles that left Debaltsevo yesterday lost all five of them. Only seven guys made it out. We don’t know what happened to the rest.”
Viktor Baloga, Politician [Transcarpathia oligarch, governor] (comment on facebook).
“Mr. President. You and I both know well that we no longer control Debaltsevo. I’ll say more. Preventing the media from reporting the true state of affairs will not help anyone. Our own HQ is lying worse than the Russians. Moreover, the lies are obvious—there are so many people there that it’s impossible to conceal the truth. My local guys are there, lots of them. But since nobody is doing anything, they are losing faith.
You know what needs to be done, both in the military and diplomatic sense. In other words, either we cancel the ceasefire which had never existed for the entire region, switch on the artillery and send weapons and ammunition in. Or we decide to withdraw. The decision must be made NOW!”
Deputy Commander of the 25th “Kievan Rus” Battalion
“The situation in Debaltsevo is critical, very bad. 90% of Debaltsevo is under their control. It is in operational encirclement. All three roads to the city are mined and under dense enemy fire. Our higher command is gone. The Sector command and commander were here. But in reality he abandoned this position and caused senseless losses. The command is not in control of the situation here.”
Vitaliy Tilizhenko, volunteer (facebook)
“The Debaltsevo cauldron had closed! There is exfiltration by small groups. Somebody is covering the withdrawal and holding positions, gradually abandoning them and withdrawing. We have lost the police HQ and the rail station in the morning. We lost 1/3 of our equipment at Ilovaysk. We’ll lose 1/5th of all equipment, abandoning it because people are more valuable, and there will be nothing to fight with, as always. All withdrawing groups are falling into ambushes and are losing men and equipment. The ambushes are growing stronger and more fortified with every hour, and the percentage of people making it out of the cauldron is dropping. They won’t say this on TV. Everything is great there. Pete [Poroshenko] outplayed everyone, no need for martial law, Europe is concerned, etc.”
Debaltsevo Update, morning 2/17
“The separatists [sic] fired from all kinds of weapons, from mortars to SP howitzers and Uragan rocket launchers. Our guys held their positions to the last. We had no communications with them. They started to come out of the city at night, in a column of trucks and APCs. There were many wounded in the column. Our intelligence was able to find a relatively save path out. Our guys broke into groups. ‘McCloud’s’ group went second. Tolya was behind them. They fell into an ambush. Lost lots of equipment, but managed to break out. But that corridor is now closed.”