Fighting continues for Ukraine town of Debaltseve as truce falters

The two sides have been battling for weeks for control of Debaltseve, and the truce, which exists on paper, faltered soon after it apparently went into effect Sunday.

Conflicting reports emerged Wednesday about the status of Ukrainian troops in the area, a day after the separatists claimed to control 80% of the town.

Russian state news agency Tass cited a separatist leader in Donetsk, Maxim Leshchenko, as saying Wednesday that Ukrainian law enforcement bodies in Debaltseve had surrendered their arms to the separatists en masse.

But the media office for the Ukrainian government’s operation against the separatists denied reports that government forces had pulled out. “The military operation in Debaltseve is under way,” it said in a statement.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which is tasked with monitoring the ceasefire and a supposed withdrawal of heavy weapons by both sides, has not been able to gain access to the town because of the continued conflict.

“The fighting is continuing now the way it did before,” Shiryayev told Pleitgen. “They continue to attack us, shell us; they use artillery, mortars.”

But it’s impossible to tell which side is responsible for breaking the ceasefire in Shyrokyno.

To some residents, it doesn’t matter.

“The fighting is very heavy. All the windows (of) our house are broken,” one woman said. “It is very terrifying. We saved all our lives to buy our house, and now we have nothing.”

CNN’s Emma Burrows and Diane Ruggiero, as well as journalist Victoria Butenko in Kiev, contributed to this report.