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Pro-Kyiv Ukrainian forces pulling out of rebel-held Debaltseve

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By Euronews  with Reuters, BBC
Pro-Kyiv Ukrainian forces pulling out of rebel-held Debaltseve

Ukraine’s President Poroshenko has confirmed that pro-government Ukrainian are pulling out of the rebel-held city of Debaltseve.

Semen Semenchenko, a commander of one of the pro-Kyiv volunteer battalions, said on Facebook that the withdrawal is taking place in a planned and organised manner.

But both sides are telling a different story with rebel sources claiming the government troops surrendered while the Ukrainian army says they were captured after running out of ammunition.

Debaltseve spans a railway line linking two rebel strongholds – Donetsk and Luhansk – and the separatists claim it’s not covered by the ceasefire agreement reached last week in Minsk.

That deal has all but unraveled, with both sides failing to pull back heavy guns after the rebels refused to halt their advance.

The destruction around Debaltseve is testament to the heavy fighting that has taken place here. Despite the ceasefire, reporters on the ground say that fighting never really stopped.