Ukraine Ceasefire in Peril – Both Sides Refusing to Withdraw Artillery, Tanks

This article originally appeared at Colonel Cassad. It was translated at Colonel Cassad in English

The Ukrainian security personnel announced that they are not ready to withdraw heavy weapons from the front line, explaining this by enduring attacks by the militia fighters.

The DPR representatives refused to start withdrawing the artillery earlier on Monday. The special operation’s representative Andrey Lysenko said that the sites for pulling back heavy weapons in accordance to the Minsk agreements were prepared, but now the Ukrainian side cannot do it due to the militia fighters not observing the point about the cease-fire.

“A condition for withdrawing heavy weapons away from the line of contact is the fulfillment of the first point of the Minsk agreements — this is the cease-fire. 112 attacks — this is not an indicator of a cease-fire, so for now we are not ready to withdraw heavy weapons, although we did prepare the corresponding sites and the corresponding work on transferring heavy weapons and vehicles away from the line of contact was done. That is, we are prepared for this, but first there should be a cease-fire,” — said Lysenko.

Earlier on Monday the representative of the Ministry of Defense of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) Eduard Basurin, who was included into the extended sanction list of the EU several hours ago, said that the militia fighters also are not ready to start withdrawing heavy weapons, that is to implement one of the principal demands of the last Minsk agreements.

No Truce at Debaltsevo

The Debalcevo case continues to actively undermine the Minsk agreements. The fire couldn’t be fully stopped, and near Debalcevo the military action actually continued quite routinely (which is the consequence of the fact that in Minsk they couldn’t figure out what to do with Debalcevo in the end), so on the background of the continued shelling and firefights (although their intensity has indeed reduced), the sides are not just unready to withdraw heavy weapons in order to not leave the fighting forces without cover, but also engage in regrouping their forces in the case of increasing the intensity of military action.

Due to the concentration of the junta military under Donetsk and due to the provocative shelling of the Donetsk airport, the DPR command clearly doesn’t intend to play at give-away with the junta and so it is not going to withdraw its forces in response to shelling.

Overall, for now the implementation of even the most obvious points of the Minsk agreements is doubtful, the more complicated agreements about various constitutional reforms, borders, and statuses are now altogether beyond science fiction.

The surrender of the Debalcevo cauldron and straightening the front line near Svetlodarsk would make achieving the truce much easier (e.g., the sides negotiate that the NAF [‘Novorossiya armed forces’] let the personnel with light firearms out and the territory and other materiel is left for the NAF), but due to political reasons surrendering Debalcevo is not yet acceptable for the junta.

No Supply for Encircled Ukraine Troops

Regarding the encirclement: the road to Debalcevo is still firmly held by the NAF and all attempts by the junta to unblock it were unsuccessful.

There is a dubious possibility for separate vehicles to break through the fields and the country roads to the north of the highway, but it is impossible to set up decent supplying there. All key high points that are necessary for the fire control over the communications of the encircled group are held by the NAF.

The poor Logvinovo, as it was said on the first day after forming the cauldron, was leveled by the junta artillery. Also the junta sources confirm that inside the Debalcevo cauldron another mini-encirclement continues to exist in which the 40-th battalion of territorial defense is surrounded.

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