23:51 GMT +311 November 2019
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    Members of the Ukrainian armed forces and armoured personnel carriers are seen preparing to move as they pull back from Debaltseve region, near Artemivsk February 26, 2015

    Ukrainian Officers Complain to Poroshenko, Identify 'Biggest Enemy'

    © REUTERS / Gleb Garanich
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    After Minsk: Will Peace Come to Ukraine? (1049)
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    Ukrainian officers involved in the failure of the Debaltseve operation have written an open letter to President Petro Poroshenko, demanding that everyone in charge of the operation be fired and replaced by people like themselves.

    Ukrainian officers' councils of the 128th, 25th, 40th and 54th brigades of the Ukrainian army have written an open letter to the country's president, Petro Poroshenko, blaming the Ukrainian army's top command for the army's encirclement around Debaltseve and demanding that the entire command be replaced.

    "Four self-propelled guns, which were brought in as part of the loss restoration program, were only painted and not taken out of conservation, which led them to break down within three days."

    In the letter, the officers reveal that the operation's command used the most competent troops and best machinery to defend their own headquarters while the narrowest point of what was then the Debaltseve bulge was controlled by four soldiers in a broken-down reconnaissance vehicle.

    The officers continued their complaints, summing up the failure of the operation and the loss of what they estimate to be at least 2,000 soldiers, as the result of the failure of the headquarters, which they contrast with their own ability to command their troops to retreat:

    "After exhausting all possible resources to hold the Debaltseve bulge (the night after repelling an intense assault) with minimal possible loses, the completely surrounded (at the moment of retreat) Debaltseve Ukrainian Armed Forces group and National Guard and police units retreated."

    The officers concluded that all heads of the operation should be replaced with "enterprising people who have the positive experience of heading brigades and battalions, and have the trust and respect of their formations, units and subdivisions." Although they do not say who exactly should replace them, they do refer to themselves as "enterprising officers" in other parts of the letter.

    Topic:
    After Minsk: Will Peace Come to Ukraine? (1049)

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    open letter, Ukrainian Armed Forces, Petro Poroshenko, Debaltseve, Ukraine
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