The road to Debaltsevo
The situation in Debaltsevo, Donetsk, arguably prompted the Minsk talks. The UAF were getting absolutely hammered by the NAF during their January offensive and eventually ended up getting a huge number of their troops encircled in the city: at least 5000 men (with estimates up to 8000). While the Minsk talks were proceeding, Kiev launched a large but ultimately failed attempt to break into the area to free up a corridor for its troops. But there wasn't a word about Debaltsevo in the final Minsk agreement, leading to differing interpretations by both sides of the conflict.

Novorossiya interprets it this way: Since the town is encircled, and thus within territory under NAF control, the Ukrainian troops trapped inside have two options: break the ceasefire in order to fight their way out (and die in the process), or surrender their arms and make their way back to the front peacefully (and thus retain their lives if not their heavy weaponry). Sounds reasonable. However, Kiev has denied the troops are encircled. For them, it is an important strategic 'bridgehead' into Donetsk, and thus 'theirs'. Too bad for them, it isn't, and the rest of the world knows it. The troops there are encircled and have been since days before the Minsk talks. By denying this fact, Kiev has made a safe withdrawal next to impossible, in the hopes that they could break them out without admitting they were doing so. By failing to do so, they have consigned the troops there to death or surrender.

Now, some details about the truth of the situation are coming to light. The spokesperson for the Ukrainian General Staff, Vladislav Seleznev, confirmed earlier today that the chain of command has completely broken down in Debaltsevo and UAF headquarters has been destroyed. Mothers of Ukrainian soldiers (often the only reliable source for information on what's really going on) are saying troops have received orders to abandon positions and equipment, so they have been left to break out of the cauldron on their own. Poroshenko's adviser, Biryukov, is saying, We have to get used to the fact that we don't have the resources for large-scale offensive operations, but we need defensive lines in any event so we should dig them."

The deputy commander of the 25th Kievan Rus battalion called in to pro-Kiev TV news Channel 24 to say:
"There is street fighting in Debaltsevo. The enemy is using Russian Federation [sic] special operations units and Kadyrovites [sic] to storm Debaltsevo. They control 90% of it. Our forces are defending strongpoints. The sector HQ [i.e., the commander of the entire Debaltsevo grouping] and the sector commander have abandoned us, they do not control the situation, they don't know where are troops are," said "Gross."

He noted that his troops need immediate help. They tried to reach the General Staff several times, but there has been no reaction.

"Our troops are facing annihilation," said the deputy battalion commander.

"They are searching for the sector commander. Nobody knows where he is," he added.
Hundreds of Ukrainian troops have reportedly already surrendered. One unit of approximately 70 men surrendered to Lugansk. The wounded are receiving medical aid, the rest food and clothes.

DPR's foreign minister has reported 80% of Debaltsevo is now controlled by the NAF (see video above). The rest of the city will be probably be taken by the end of the day.
Also, the Saker is reporting that Zakharchenko received a light shrapnel would in the leg while in Debatlsevo. He is currently resting in the hospital in Lugansk, and he will be back at work in 3 days.

Even Ukrainian media is now commenting on the absurd sea of lies that is the same Ukrainian media. This came from the weekly magazine Ukrainian Week:
We don't have censorship or dungeons, but nevertheless one can drown in the flood of lies coming out of our media. It's not even the question of media bias, news being written to order, or other violations of professional ethics. Official press releases and speeches by the country's leaders are dripping with lies which the media are obligated to repeat. It's another matter than one has to read between the lines. Whenever some office general reports that the army began a de-blocking operation, you can expect battalion commanders to announce they are fully surrounded and they need help, but you'll hear that only on tactical radios. In general, whenever the government says that things are under control, expect something to blow, either on the front or in the rear areas.
As Fort Russ translator J. Hawk comments, considering recent legislation in Kiev, this is the kind of talk that can land a journalist in prison for a few years. After all, telling the truth about how dire the situation is for Ukrainian troops is clearly "giving aid and comfort to terrorists". So no, despite the bit of truth in the above quote, there is censorship in Ukraine. It's just getting started. And that bit about dungeons? Maybe the author just missed all those reports and testimony of civilian and militia captives been kept in holes in the ground, and tortured. But hey, it's easy to miss that kind of thing, especially when the media is "obligated to repeat" Kiev's official press releases.

As for real news, here are the latest updates from South Front: