Ukrainian troops have withdrawn from the town of Debaltseve following fierce fighting with pro-Russian rebels, the country’s president has said.
Petro Poroshenko said: “This morning the Ukrainian armed forces together with the National Guard completed an operation for a planned and organised withdrawal from Debaltseve.
“As of now we can say that 80% of our units have left.”
Hundreds, if not thousands, of Ukrainian troops were believed to be trapped in the strategically important town, which links the two rebel-controlled regions in the east of Ukraine, Donetsk and Luhansk.
A pro-Russian rebel official cited by the separatist press service DAN earlier said hundreds of government troops were surrendering to separatist forces there.
The bodies of at least 13 Ukranian soldiers have been delivered to a morgue close to Debaltseve, a morgue official said… see more