Ukraine has said fighting has “escalated” in the east of the country as Russian President Vladimir Putin has criticized Kyiv’s deal with Kyiv as a failure.
Ukraine’s defense chief said Sunday that Russian and Ukrainian forces are fighting in at least three locations in the east.
Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said on Telegram that Russian forces have been attacking Kupiansk in the Kharkiv region for two consecutive days.
“We are on the defensive,” Maliar wrote. “There are terrible wars. The positions of both sides change several times a day. “
Maliar also said that the two armies are pushing each other around the destroyed city of Bakhmut, but the Ukrainian army is “slowly advancing” on its southern side.
He said that Kyiv troops are also defending against Russian attacks near Avdiivka and Marinka.
Al Jazeera’s Assed Baig, from Kostyantynivka, about 20km (12.4 miles) from Bakhmut, said Maliar’s description of the fierce fighting and changing roles was “worrying”.
“It’s honest from the deputy defense minister of Ukraine because what we often hear is that things are going well in Ukraine, but what we’re hearing from the Ukrainian people is that the Russians are coming back,” Baig said.
In an interview on Sunday, Putin said that the Ukrainian army has not made progress in its offensive, which aims to recapture territory that was seized and occupied by Russia, which is in its 17th month.
“All the enemies who are trying to destroy our security … have not succeeded since it started. The enemy is not doing well,” Putin said in a video broadcast by Rossiya TV reporter Pavel Zarubin.
Ukraine last month began defying expectations after stockpiling Western weapons and building up its own weapons of mass destruction.
However, it agreed to a difficult war and asked the United States and other organizations to provide long-range weapons and military equipment.
Putin also said Russia has “sufficient reserves” of cluster bombs and that Moscow had the right to use them if such weapons were to be used against Russian forces in Ukraine.
In his introduction to the dedication of group weapons in Ukraine from the US, Putin said that Russia has not used cluster bombs in its war in Ukraine so far. “Until now, we have not done this, we have not used it, and we have not had such a need,” he said.
However, in April 2022, Russia was accused of using chemical weapons in the armed forces Kramatorsk train attackwhich killed 63 civilians, nine of whom were children.
The millet contract expires
Putin has not announced whether Moscow will renew grain trade which allowed the resumption of Ukrainian trade through the Black Sea, was temporarily suspended when the invasion began in February 2022.
It could end late on Monday, the agreement was negotiated by the United Nations and Turkey and signed by Russia and Ukraine in July 2022 establishing a protected sea route through which Ukrainian agricultural goods can reach international markets.
Russia, however, says its export barriers remain, and has threatened to pull out of the Black Sea Grain Initiative.
On Saturday, the Kremlin said Russia still has concerns about the deal.
“Vladimir Putin emphasized that the responsibility…
“The main goal of the agreement, to provide grain to countries in need, including Africa, has not been achieved,” he said.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres supports the removal of obstacles to Russia’s export of its fertilizers and sent a letter to Putin on the matter on Tuesday.
By ensuring the safety of maritime transport vehicles in the Black Sea – along with monitoring the export of weapons – the agreement has allowed the export of about 33 million tons of wheat since it came into force on August 1, 2022. Most of the shipments were made of wheat and corn.
The agreement helped lower prices that had risen after the Russian invasion and prevented famine in countries that depended heavily on imports.