Destinations Magazine

The Fire That Did Not Cease

By Stizzard
The fire that did not cease Victory into defeat

THE latest peace plan never had much chance. Shortly after signing it in Minsk, rebel leaders declared that Debaltseve, where several thousand Ukrainian troops were located, fell outside its terms. After the “ceasefire” started on February 15th, they continued their assault. By February 18th the flag of Novorossiya, the rebels’ pseudo-state, had been raised over the city center. “It’s always tough to lose,” quipped Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin. Ukraine’s president, Petro Poroshenko, ordered a risky retreat and tried to paint the defeat as a victory, saying his troops’ swift escape had put Russia “to shame”.

Such spin fell on deaf ears inside Ukraine. Photos of muddied troops who had fled on foot belied claims of an “organised” operation. Soldiers told of a night-time journey across frozen fields, punctuated by ambushes and casualties. The Ukrainian government claims regular Russian troops backed the rebels. Douglas Lute, America’s ambassador to NATO, says that teams of specialised Russians, mostly Spetsnaz elite troops, are operating command-and-control systems and the most sophisticated…

The Economist: Europe

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