It appears that Porshenko lied about Ukrainian troops not being surrounded at Debaltseve during peace talks
Ukraine's President Is Trapped With His Troops - Bloomberg ViewTwo days after the belligerent parties in eastern Ukraine were supposed to suspend fighting, the truce is not holding. The agreement sealed last Thursday has hit the first of several predictable snags: Kiev refuses to recognize that a large number of its troops are encircled near the railroad junction of Debaltseve, and fighting rages on as these troops try to break out. Although both sides are guilty of violating the cease-fire, responsibility for preserving it is now in the hands of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.
There are plenty of authoritative Western press reports (here's one from The New York Times and one from The Wall Street Journal), as well as Ukrainian reports citing military sources in the area, confirming that a sizable Ukrainian contingent -- up to 8,000 troops -- has been encircled by separatist forces.
The matter came up during the cease-fire talks in Minsk, but Poroshenko adamantly denied the problem existed. Coming out of the marathon negotiations, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered military experts to figure out what was going on. Whatever they reported back, and whatever other orders Putin may have given, the Ukrainian troops clearly never ceased in their efforts to fight out of the "cauldron", and the rebels -- possibly aided by Russian soldiers -- remained similarly stubborn in keeping them sealed in.
Perhaps he did it to make it appear that the separatists were violating the ceasefire
Rout has Ukraine pleading for peacekeepers - The Washington PostRussian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the fighting was inevitable after Poroshenko’s insistence at last week’s peace negotiations that the troops were not surrounded.
Regardless, it appears that the situation left Ukrainian troops demoralized and perturbed at the Ukrainian leadership
Ukrainian battalionBut for many, the retreat was also a huge embarrassment — and the tipping point over frustrations with military commanders who the soldiers believe bungled the siege.
“The Russians are coming, and this is my Ukraine — Ukraine or die,” said Trukhan, a sniper with the Lviv battalion. “But our commanders abandoned us. And the Ukrainian media were repeating what they were saying in Kiev — that we had everything, that we weren’t surrounded. It was all lies.”
The collective frustrations of the more than 1,000 troops who flooded Artemivsk on Wednesday could have serious consequences for the Ukrainian military as the fight against pro-Russian separatists wears on — something almost all of them believe will happen.
So did Poroshenko deliberately lie about the situation in Debaltseve? Did he allow his troops to be killed and humiliated to try to embarrass the rebels? If so, that is troubling indeed.