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DONETSK, February 18. /TASS/. The government forces encircled in the strategic town of Debaltsevo in eastern Ukraine are en masse laying down arms to militias, the head of administration of the self-proclaimed Donetsk republic's leader said on Wednesday.
"In Debaltsevo, troops of Ukraine’s Armed Forces are laying down arms en masse," Maxim Leschenko said. "The number of these people is estimated in hundreds," he added.
On Tuesday, February 17, DPR defense ministry spokesman Eduard Basurin told journalists that around 5,000 Ukrainian servicemen are encircled in Debaltsevo. Basurin added that the DPR authorities intend to hand those servicemen who surrendered to their families.
Leschenko noted that several buses set off for Ukraine’s Debaltsevo to evacuate civilians. DPR head Alexander Zakharchenko monitors the evacuation of civilians from Debaltsevo despite his injury, Leschenko added.
Donetsk is ready to accommodate 1,500 civilians from Deblatsevo, Leschenko said. The evacuation, initially scheduled for Tuesday, February 17, was postponed to Wednesday due to ongoing hostilities.