Ukrainian military units are leaving Debaltsevo, Semyon Semenchenko, commander of the Ukrainian battalion Donbass and Ukrainian parliamentarian, said.
"The troops are being withdrawn from Debaltseve according to plan and in an organized way," he said on Facebook on Wednesday morning.
Semenchenko denied the reports stating that the populated area of Logvinovo near Debaltseve is held by the Ukrainian military and that they maintain control over the strategic road connecting Debaltsevo and Artemivsk.
"All the stories about control over Logvinovo turned out to be tall tales: no miracle has happened. We do not control the Debaltseve-Artemivsk road or Logvinovo," Semenchenko said.
At the same time, the other roads are controlled by the Ukrainian military, he said. "The other roads are firmly held by the National Guard, Donbass and the Ukrainian Armed Forces," he said.
The enemy is trying to cut these roads and prevent the group from leaving and the withdrawal of the Ukrainian troops is being covered by artillery. Our artillery has begun working. They are preventing the enemy from hitting, they are pressing their firing points, Semenchenko said.
Semenchenko said that "howitzers, Grad and Uragan systems, mortars, and tanks are working" to cover the Ukrainian troops who are leaving Debaltsevo. "Generally, it's hot there," he said.
According to the DPR defense ministry, some 1,000 Ukrainian troops have left Debaltsevo, having laid down their weapons. "The Ukrainian troops are retreating. Those who have given up their weapons are being let out through a corridor. There are about one thousand of them," the ministry official Vladyslav Bryh said on Kommersant-FM radio on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry said in a report posted on its website on Wednesday, that Ukrainian military continue the "combat operation" in the Debaltsevo area.
"The Ukrainian military continued resisting the enemy after regrouping. A combat operation now continues in Debaltsevo," the report says.
Kiev reiterated that the militia "began storming Debaltsevo after massive shelling, thus rudely violating the peace agreements" in the past 24 hours.
"In the past 24 hours, the terrorists delivered five strikes against the city of Debaltseve with Grad systems and artillery. The enemy's subversive and intelligence groups broke into the city on Tuesday afternoon […] Railways and several roads leading to the city were blown up and power lines were damaged," the report says.
Illegal armed groups have also intensified their activities on the Donetsk track, the report says.
According to the Ukrainian authorities, five populated areas, including Vodyanoye, Peski and Avdiyivka, came under fire from Grad systems and mortars in the past 24 hours. The village of Novotoshkovskoye in the Lugansk region came under fire from artillery and Grad systems.
On the Mariupol front, the militia have stormed the positions of the anti-terrorist operation forces near the village of Shirokino several times, the report says.
"The number of artillery attacks somewhat decreased in the early hours of February 18. The number of the enemy drones, which conduct air reconnaissance, has increased along the entire combat line. According to operative information, the enemy is regrouping its troops and is actively preparing for new combat actions," the report says.
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