According to one of the tweets published by the US Embassy in Ukraine, pro-Russian separatists fighting in the Debaltseve region are armed better (tanks, APC’s, heavy artillery, rockets), than some of the European or NATO Armed Forces.
Jeffrey Payette, who is acting as the US Ambassador in Ukraine, has presented satellite imagery, which depicts the Russian artillery units in the Debaltseve region. Payette claimed that the US Officials are certain that the forces in the Debaltseve area are Russian. They are not the separatists. US Officials have stated that it is the front-line situation that should be taken into account, not the words or declarations.
On the other hand, on 13th February, Jen Psaki, spokesperson of the US Department of State, stated that the United States are in possession of confirmed information, according to which Russian tanks and rocket systems have crossed the Ukrainian border within the period of the last couple of days. She also stressed the facts related to the rocket and artillery strikes along with continuous attacks on the anti-terrorist operation forces acting in the Debaltseve area.
As Psaki stressed: “Well, we are very concerned about continued fighting along and beyond the line of contact, including in heavily populated civilian areas, and reports of additional resupplies of tanks and missile systems coming across the border from Russia in the past few days, and I have a little more detail of that I just want to go into for a moment here. The Russian military has deployed a large amount of artillery and multiple rocket launcher systems around Debaltseve where it is shelling Ukrainian positions. We are confident these are Russian military, not separatist systems. The Russian military also has air defense systems deployed near Debaltseve. We are also confident these are Russian military, not separatist systems.” Psaki added that all of the information above comes from US sources, not the Ukrainian ones.
What is more, Psaki emphasized the fact that the “Russian units along the border with Ukraine are preparing a large shipment of supplies to pro-Russian forces fighting in eastern Ukraine. This is clearly not in the spirit of this week’s agreement. All parties must show complete restraint in the run-up to the Sunday ceasefire, including an immediate halt to the Russian and separatist assault on Debaltseve and other Ukrainian towns.”
Midnight last night was to be the moment, when the ceasefire was to enter force. However, Alexandr Zakharchenko, who is a self-proclaimed leader of the People’s Republic of Donetsk stated that “no-one heard anything about the Minsk memorandum in Debaltseve, which means that basically the Ukrainians have left 5 thousand people in that city”. Zakharchenko stated that he would act against any attempts of escaping the city.