The Ukrainian president says his forces are making an “organised” effort to withdrawal from the embattled town of Debaltseve. Petro Poroshenko said about 80% of Ukraine’s troops left on Wednesday morning, with more troops to follow. BBC has full report:
Fighting has raged over the transport hub, with pro-Russian rebels seizing control of most areas, despite a ceasefire deal.
Russia’s foreign minister said Ukrainian forces had been encircled and were forced to battle their way out.
“I’m reckoning that common sense will prevail,” said Sergei Lavrov as he urged the rebels to provide troops who surrendered with food and clothes.
Earlier, US Vice-President Joe Biden accused Russia of violating the accord, agreed in Minsk last week.
Mr Lavrov told reporters that the rebel attack in Debaltseve did not violate the ceasefire agreement, because the town was part of the rebel-held area at the time the peace deal was signed.