News ID: 109980
Publish Date : 10 December 2022 - 21:44

Russia Grinds on in Eastern Ukraine, Belarus Agrees to Transit of Grain

KYIV, Ukraine (AP/Al Jazeera) – Russian forces have “destroyed” the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said, while Ukraine’s military on Saturday reported missile, rocket and air strikes in multiple parts of the country that Moscow is trying to conquer after months of resistance.
The latest battles of Russia’s 9 1/2 month war in Ukraine have centered on four provinces that Russian President Vladimir Putin triumphantly claimed to have annexed in late September. The fighting indicates Russia’s struggle to establish control of those regions and Ukraine’s persistence to reclaim them.
Zelenskyy said the situation “remains very difficult” in several frontline cities in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk provinces. Together, the provinces make up the Donbas, an expansive industrial region bordering Russia that Putin identified as a focus from the war’s outset and where Moscow-backed separatists have fought since 2014.
Zelenskyy didn’t specify what he meant by “destroyed” — and some buildings remain standing and residents still mill about in city streets.
The development came as Belarus told the United Nations that it would allow, without conditions, the transit of grain from Ukraine through its territory, for export from Lithuanian ports, a UN spokesman said.
Belarusian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Yury Ambrazevich met with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in New York on Friday to tell him there are no preconditions to the transit of Ukraine grain, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.
Ambrazevich also “reiterated the requests from his government to be able to export its own fertilizer products, which are currently subject to sanctions”, Dujarric said in a statement after the meeting.
Belarus, a big global potash producer, has been hit by harsh European Union sanctions since 2020 – which disrupted its exports of the fertilizer via the Baltic Sea ports. At that time, Minsk required Russian help in quashing the wave of pro-democracy protests.
A Russian ally and part of the staging ground for Moscow’s war on Ukraine, Belarus said in June that it would let Ukrainian grain shipments to transit to Baltic Sea ports if Belarus was allowed to ship its goods from those ports as well.
Ukraine did not agree to the proposal.