Ukrainian soldiers begged for help online as Russian rebels surrounded them in the embattled town of Debaltseve.

The ultra-nationalist militia named 'Right Sector' posted their plea for help to the Ukraine government via its social network Vkontakte just hours before President Petro Poroshenko announced defeat to the separatists.

"The boys have asked for help 10 hours ago!" the message read. "Repost and help! Vladimir Shmatko [head of the Ukrainian Chortkiv region], friends, please take this to the President of Ukraine – most of our 128 brigade is fully surrounded by the Russians in Debaltseve... We can't get out! HELP!!!".

Their cry for help reported via news site Vocativ, has emerged as a sombre Poroshenko surrendered the town today to the self-proclaimed Donestk People's Republic – despite initially denying claims his troops were encircled by the pro-Russian rebels.

Forty-four people have been reportedly killed since fighting broke out in the strategic rail hub, which lies between the rebel-held cities of Donetsk and Lugansk and at least 70 have been wounded.

Russian president Vladimir Putin, said yesterday during a visit to Hungary: "I hope that the responsible figures in the Ukrainian leadership will not hinder soldiers in the Ukrainian army from putting down their weapons."

The retreat has been seen as a major setback to Kiev's forces and a blow to Poroshenko's authority.

On Wednesday, he pulled 80% of units along with two columns from the war zone.

Other grim reports and pictures have been posted via social media accounts of Ukrainian troops and pro-Russian separatists militias -- dismissing hopes of a ceasefire.

Вышли. С боями, через засады, под обстрелами. В больнице более 70 раненых, в морге - более 40 погибших. Вывод...

Posted by Константин Реуцкий on Wednesday, February 18, 2015