Statement By Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko On The Situation In Debaltseve
I can inform now that this morning the Armed Forces of Ukraine together with the National Guard completed the operation on the planned and organized withdrawal of a part of units from Debaltseve. We can say that 80% of troops have been already withdrawn. We are waiting for two more columns. Warriors of the 128th brigade, parts of units of the 30th brigade, the rest of the 25th and the 40th battalions, Special Forces, the National Guard and the police have already left the area.
We can assert that the Armed Forces of Ukraine have fulfilled their tasks completely. This position and success were urgently necessary for us in the course of the Minsk negotiations and after them. We managed to show to the whole world the true face of bandits-separatists backed by Russia, which acted as guarantor and direct participant of the Minsk negotiations.
We were asserting and proved: Debaltseve was under our control, there was no encirclement, and our troops left the area in a planned and organized manner with all the heavy weaponry: tanks, APCs, self-propelled artillery and vehicles.
Commanders are working with their personnel. We are waiting for one more column, one more company. Having withdrawn the combat patrol posts to the new defense line, we have preserved the bridgehead for the defense of the state.
It is a strong evidence of combat readiness of the Armed Forces and efficiency of the military command. I can say that despite tough artillery and MLRS shelling, according to the recent data, we have 30 wounded out of more than 2,000 warriors. The information is being collected and may be clarified.
I would like to say that Russia, which yesterday required the Ukrainian warriors to lay down arms, raise the white flag and surrender, was put to shame by the given actions. Ukrainian warriors honorably approved the high rank of the Ukrainian Defender of the Homeland. As I promised, they repelled those who tried to encircle them and left Debaltseve pursuant to my command, which I gave yesterday, when Russian servicemen forbade the OSCE representatives to come to Debaltseve to reaffirm our readiness to begin the withdrawal of heavy weaponry and demonstrate the absence of encirclement. They knew it was not true. We demonstrated and proved that with our operation.
We are holding the new defense lines. In the course of my negotiations with leaders of the United States and the EU, I demanded a firm reaction from the world to Russia’s brutal violation of the Minsk agreements, the ceasefire regime and the withdrawal of heavy weaponry. We will prepare organized and coordinated actions together.
I have convened the NSDC meeting for this evening. Now, I am departing to the front to meet those who left Debaltseve. I am honored to shake hands and thank Ukrainian heroes.
Today, my Decree on awarding the high title of Hero of Ukraine to commander of the 128th Mukacheve mining-infantry brigade Serhiy Shaptal will be proclaimed. Ukraine is proud of such heroes. Internal stability will not be undermined by the battalions “everything is lost” and “this is the end”, lies about a lot of soldiers murdered yesterday, encircled roadblocks and Ukrainian warriors without ammunition, food and water. It is not a Ukrainian scenario. I am confident that those who were spreading it expected a different result. Fortunately, we successfully completed the operation and will have an opportunity to further defend the state.
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