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Putin Instructs Experts to Determine if Kiev Forces Encircled in Debaltseve

© REUTERS / Gleb GaranichA Ukrainian serviceman is pictured at his position near Debaltseve, eastern Ukraine, February 8, 2015
A Ukrainian serviceman is pictured at his position near Debaltseve, eastern Ukraine, February 8, 2015 - Sputnik International
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Eastern Ukrainian pro-independence forces said they had encircled thousands of Kiev troops in the Debaltseve area, a claim that official Kiev denies.

Debaltsevo and Uglegorsk update - Sputnik International
Donbas Forces Ready to Cease Fire in Debaltseve Area Immediately
MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has instructed military experts to participate in the analysis of the situation in east Ukraine’s Debaltseve where thousands of Ukrainian troops have been encircled by eastern militias, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told RIA Novosti on Friday.

Eastern Ukrainian pro-independence forces said they had encircled thousands of Kiev troops in the Debaltseve area, a claim that official Kiev denies.

“All the instructions have been given,” Peskov said.

On Thursday after leaders of Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany concluded talks in Minsk on the Ukrainian crisis settlement, Putin raised the issue of the situation in Debaltseve and agreed with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to have Russian military experts examine the situation and determine if Kiev's troops are surrounded.

During Thursday's Minsk talks, the leaders of Kiev and the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Luhansk managed to sign a deal, stipulating a ceasefire from Saturday night, prisoner swaps, weaponry withdrawal and constitutional changes in Ukraine.

Donetsk militia announced its readiness to cease fire and allow surrounded Kiev soldiers to leave the Debaltseve area "on respectful conditions."

An earlier ceasefire agreement reached by the warring sides last September broke down, with clashes intensifying in recent weeks. Debaltseve, one of Ukraine's biggest railroad junctions, has become the site of intense fighting. According to reports, up to 10,000 Ukrainian troops remain surrounded after attempting to recapture the contested town.

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