Germany, France, Ukraine, and Russia can deny it, but the alleged ceasefire between Ukraine and Russia collapsed before it even began. The Russian soldiers and pro-Russian rebels in east Ukraine have broken it 250 times since it officially went into effect on February 15.
“The United States condemns continuing attacks by Russia-backed separatists in and around Debaltseve, Mariupol and other locations in eastern Ukraine which violate the ceasefire and flout the Minsk agreements,” said State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki.
Psaki once tweeted a picture of her holding a sign that said #UnitedForUkraine. However, the United States did not attend the Minsk agreement last week. On Monday, the European Union finally admitted Russian soldiers are in east Ukraine, despite a pile of evidence throughout 2014.
Even though the four countries pledged to make the Minsk agreement work on Thursday, Russia sent more tanks and troops into eastern Ukraine headed towards Novoazovsk on the southern coast. It is held by the rebels and only 25 miles from the port city of Mariupol.
“In recent days, despite the Minsk (ceasefire) agreement, military equipment and ammunition have been sighted crossing from Russia into Ukraine,” claimed military spokesman Andriy Lysenko.
Movement towards Novoazovsk is another huge blow to Ukraine. Russian soldiers and rebels drove out the army in Debaltseve, an important railway hub. The city of 27,000 people is mostly empty.
“These are ours now, and we’ll use them against them,” said one rebel as he took ammunition the Ukrainian army left behind. “We have to expand.”
Kiev also claimed the Russians and rebels attacked government troops “49 times in the past 24 hours, using rockets, artillery and armored vehicles.” The rebels claim the government staged those attacks, which killed one civilian woman in Donetsk.