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Unresolved Debaltsevo Situation Threatens Ukraine Ceasefire

The fate of the Debaltsevo pocket was not resolved militarily before the onset of the ceasefire, which could easily lead to fighting flaring up again

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

According to the junta, it was planned to do everything possible in order to recapture Logvinovo until midnight and beat a corridor to the encircled Debalcevo group, but as of 9pm the same situation was observed where the NAF managed to hold the encirclement ring but didn't have enough time to eliminate the group itself until February 15th.

Therefore, if the real cease-fire starts, then the peculiar collision is formed when a part of the encircled junta forces remains effectively encircled even after the truce, because the attempts to break out of the cauldron will be decisively stopped, according to Zakharchenko.

Because there is still time, the fighting doesn't stop there, but apparently after the front units of the junta got very close to Logvinovo and were pushed out of there, the peak of offensive activity of the junta appeared to pass and the question of Debalcevo will gradually migrate into the problem set of the "truce".

Keeping Logvinovo, Nizhnyaya Lozovaya, Kalinovka, and Sanzharovka allowed the NAF to maintain control over the communication lines of the Debalcevo and Svetlodarsk group of the enemy. Meanwhile it is worth noting that the enemy tried to transfer the majority of the weight of its offensive from Logvinovo to Nizhnyaya Lozovaya.

The fighting in the area of Debalcevo by the evening of February 14th also didn't deliver a decisive result and no breakage of the defense system of the junta is being observed yet.

The fact that both sides failed to achieve their goals here to full extent (the junta failed to unblock the cauldron until the 15, the NAF failed to destroy it) in essence led to the fact that the military situation added a very explosive factor of the Debalcevo cauldron to the diplomatic situation, which risks becoming the second "airport", the presence of which constantly led to the escalation of military action.

Shelling and firefights along the front line hasn't stopped yet, but serious changes in the front line may be expected only near Debalcevo. On other locations the line has long since stabilized in general, however in the area of Mariupol fighting continued today near Shirokino.

An episode of Donetsk shelling where mines fell not far away from Zakharchenko appears to be more of an accident than a planned attempt on his life, although the possibility of "fire on headquarters" cannot be fully excluded either.

It is very hard to believe that during the night they'll completely stop firing near Debalcevo. The published order by Zakharchenko and the announcements from the LPR of heavy weapons being withdrawn in a way pass the ball to the junta offering it to state its position, but for now according to the reports from the front the junta seems to be pulling forces towards the front rather than starting some kind of withdrawal.

Both sides already say that provocations are being prepared by each other and by other sides, which are interested in the immediate escalation.

Overall, it is not so much left to wait, in 4-5 hours it will become clear if there will be a reduction in the intensity of military action or if the Minsk agreements will be buried tonight using various provocations.

UPDATE: For now we can clearly see a significant reduction of the intensity of military action on the majority of the front locations, which suggests that overall the orders of Zakharchenko, Plotnitsky, and Poroshenko are fulfilled.

Nevertheless, there are also incoming announcement about firefights in the area of Peski and Logvinovo, which is to be expected, because few hoped that everything will stop right away. But overall the observers note that the front, which rumbled for more than a month, became unusually calm. Overall, it appears more likely that there will be a truce than that there won't be one. But we'll wait until the morning.

UPDATE 2: Near Debalcevo the cease-fire lasted the least.

At about 2am the AFU detachments opened artillery and mortar fire against the militia positions on the Debalcevo direction. The militia carry out precise counter-battery fire, the representative of the ministry of defense of the DPR Eduard Basurin told journalists in Donetsk.At 2am the remains of the encircled Ukrainian military opened fire. As a result, there are dead among civilians. The DPR detachments perform precision fire against them, – said Eduard Basurin.

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