"According to our information, more than 5,000 Ukrainian servicemen have been blocked in Debaltseve," Eduard Basurin said. "Hundreds of armed soldiers have already surrendered to DPR units near Debaltseve."
DPR logistics units have deployed additional mobile kitchens to feed the captives, Basurin said, adding that the militia will start handing the servicemen over to family members "once the Ukrainian army stops shooting."
Earlier in the day, a Kiev official estimated the number of Ukrainian troops surrounded in Debaltseve to be around 2,000.
The town of Debaltseve, located between Ukraine's two breakaway regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, has, in recent weeks, become a hot spot for heavy fighting between Kiev-led troops and local militia. The hostilities in Debaltseve are continuing despite the ceasefire that came into force on February 15.
The ceasefire agreement was outlined when the leaders of Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany met in the Belarusian capital, Minsk, to discuss the settlement of the Ukrainian crisis.