Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Short: Debalsteve Falls

It seems Putin is not happy with the ceasefire.

Debaltseve fell yesterday (take a look at the live map here) as rebels pushed ahead with completing their takeover of the town, using all the heavy equipment that was supposed to be pulling out days ago. Ukrainian government troops broke out of the encirclement rather than be captured--the retreating column was picked apart by tank and rocket fire.

Debaltseve is critical to an independent Luhansk and Donetsk because it's a major rail depot between the two capital cities. I think this is why Russia raced in heavy weapons to support the encirclement and capture of the town. There's some patchy evidence that Russia and the rebels may have doubled down around Debaltseve during the ceasefire, moving troops from other towns in the belief that Ukraine would not counter-attack.

In a way, well done.

Expect Mariupol to be next on the hit list.

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