The Debaltseve encirclement

Debaltseve is a city in the Donetsk region with 25,000 inhabitants. It is also an important railway junction. In April 2014, the city became controlled by the separatists. On July 29th 2014, after fierce battles, the Ukrainian forces regained control over Debaltseve. The front line ran a few miles outside the city, which was regularly shelled by the artillery. Debaltseve and the Ukrainian positions around the city in January 2015. At the end of January 2017, the militants, assisted by the Russian troops (including tanks), started an operation against the Ukrainian unit located around Debaltseve. There was fierce fighting with the use of a large number of tanks and artillery. The Ukrainian troops ended up encircled. Fighting persisted in the city until February 17th 2017. A day later most Ukrainian soldiers managed to escape but between 159 to 206 soldiers perished. Many were also wounded or went into exile. February 18th 2015, the road between Debaltseve and Artyomovsk (now Bakhmut). The Ukrainian soldiers, who managed to escape the encirclement. February 18th, 2014 r, Artyomovsk, coffins of the Ukrainian soldiers who died in the battle of Debaltseve. Debaltseve is again controlled by the separatists and the front line is close to the city. Photo: December 2015, Debaltseve under the control of the separatists.