Video: Ukrainian soldiers dig in to defend strategic rail hub

Fighting intensified in eastern Ukraine on Tuesday as rebels pushed on with an assault to cut off an army-held rail junction in Debaltseve. Watch FRANCE 24’s video report from a Ukrainian military position near this strategic rail hub.

Another salvo of Grad missiles rips through the sky towards rebel positions as Ukrainian government forces desperately try to keep the one remaining supply route open to their soldiers inside the besieged town of Debaltseve.

FRANCE 24’s special correspondents in eastern Ukraine said the battle of Debaltseve was about to turn into another bloody defeat for Kiev. Reporting from a Ukrainian military position 20 kilometres north of the strategic rail hub, they said government troops were on the back foot.

"Putin is trying to create a 'comfort zone' in eastern Ukraine"

“In Debaltsev there are a lot of victims on our side, lots of dead and wounded, but we are still standing”, Nikolai, an Ukrainian soldier, told FRANCE 24.

Despite their fighting spirit, Ukrainian soldiers are increasingly outgunned by Moscow-backed separatists. Fighting intensified across eastern Ukraine as both government forces and pro-Russian rebels tried to make gains ahead of expected peace talks on Wednesday in Minsk.

“There were negotiations in August, and the night after, the Russians sent in the tanks. There have been negotiations in the past, and nothing good came from it. We don't think this will change anything", Yuri, another Ukrainian soldier, told FRANCE 24.

More than 5,400 people have died since the conflict began last April.

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