US and EU leaders have accused Russia of violating the Minsk ceasefire agreement following the “organised withdrawal” of Ukrainian troops from the embattled town of Debaltseve in eastern Ukraine.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said that 80% of Ukraine’s troops left the town on Wednesday morning after what he described as a “cynical attack” by the Russia-backed rebels.
Fighting had continued in the key transport hub despite the ceasefire coming into effect last week, as rebels claimed that the deal did not apply to Debaltseve as they had the town surrounded.
Yesterday, Russian President Vladimir Putin urged the Ukrainian government to allow its troops to surrender to rebels in the town to end the fighting there.
Kiev has admitted that some Ukrainian soldiers had been captured in the town, but denies the rebels’ claim that they had surrendered.
The rebel take-over of the town will ask questions of what exactly the leaders agreed in Minsk, as the ceasefire deal appeared designed to avoid this exact situation.