Hero's welcome for Ukraine soldiers despite humiliating defeat

February 20, 2015 2:56 PM

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KIEV, Ukraine — The Ukrainian soldiers, thousands of them, were encircled for days by Russia-backed separatists who rained down death upon them. Mortars and missiles slammed into the troops’ redoubts atop a bluff near Debaltseve, a town with a population 25,000 before the war.

Months of fighting decimated the place, reducing entire blocks to rubble and killing scores of civilians, not to mention dozens of government troops.

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