Separatists Violate Cease Fire in Ukraine, Official Says
By Claudette Roulo
DoD News, Defense Media Activity
WASHINGTON, Feb. 19, 2015 – Separatists in Ukraine have committed several violations of the cease-fire agreement signed last week in Minsk, Belarus, Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren said today.
"The most notable have been in the Debaltseve area," he said. "It's notable that violence is down in other areas, but violations around the Debaltseve area have been fairly significant."
Meanwhile, Russian actions in Ukraine serve to destabilize the region, Warren said.
"We've seen continued Russian meddling inside of Ukraine [and] we have seen an uptick in Russian air activity throughout the region," he said.
According to media reports, Ukrainian troops were ordered to withdraw yesterday after Russian-backed separatists surrounded the Ukrainian town of Debaltseve, which is located along a strategically significant highway between the towns of Donetsk and Luhansk.
The movement of Russian equipment into Ukraine has not slowed, Warren said.
"All of this Russian equipment that moves into Ukraine contributes to destabilization," he said. "We continue to call on the Russians and the Russian-backed separatists to honor the cease fire -- the very cease fire that was signed only days ago."
The separatists "need to withdraw their heavy weapons and they need to allow the [Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe] the access to begin monitoring the cease fire," Warren said, noting that OSCE monitors are being threatened by Russian-backed separatists as they attempt to monitor the cease fire.
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