Russian TV station Channel 1 has filmed the flag of New Russia, the term that pro-Russian forces in Ukraine use to describe the breakaway regions of the country, flying over the railway town of Debaltseve a day after rebels claimed to have captured the town.
Here’s the video:
The battle for Debaltseve was seen as of both strategic and symbolic importance with government forces holding a town deep within otherwise rebel-held territory. However, government troops in the town found themselves besieged by separatist forces and, despite a ceasefire agreement coming into effect on Saturday evening, the town now seems to have been lost.
On Wednesday there were numerous reports of government troops leaving the town. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said that 80% of troops had left the town by Wednesday morning, although he denied that the town had ever been encircled claiming that the “troops and formations have left in an organised and planned manner”, according to the Associated Press.
Despite the rhetoric, the withdrawal from the town will be viewed as a humiliating defeat for the government in Kiev and underlines how precarious the situation remains in the east of the country.
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