- Sep 22, 2012
Retreating Soldiers Bring Echoes of War's Chaos to a Ukrainian Town
As violence continued to plague eastern Ukraine on Thursday, demoralized Ukrainian soldiers straggled into the town of Artemivsk, griping about incompetent leadership and recounting desperate conditions and gruesome killing as they beat a haphazard retreat from the strategic town of Debaltseve.
A spokesman for the Defense Ministry of the self-declared Donetsk People's Republic, Eduard Basurin, said that separatist fighters had counted 57 bodies of Ukrainian soldiers on the ground in Debaltseve.
At one point, a tank was driving in circles on the city commons, Artemivsk Square."It was noted that the measures approved by the contact group in Minsk helped allow a reduction in the intensity of fighting in Donbass and reduced the number of civilian casualties," the Kremlin said in a statement, using the shorthand term for Donetsk Basin, as the conflict zone in eastern Ukraine is commonly known.
The Kremlin said the leaders had agreed that the foreign ministers of the four countries would begin consultations "in the nearest future" about implementing the terms of the cease-fire — further indication of Russia's view that the peace agreement remained on track. Germany also issued a generally positive statement.
"The guys are unwinding," said one visibly drunk soldier, standing on a corner late at night, still in the muddy uniform he wore escaping from Debaltseve. "What do you expect after a battle?"