BENGHAZI, Libya – The Latest on developments in Libya, where armed groups are battling for control of the capital, Tripoli (all times local):
A top Russian diplomat has called on the self-styled Libyan National Army to cease fire and stop its advance on the Libyan capital, Tripoli.
Asked if Moscow is asking the LNA to stop the advance, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Vershinin told Russian news agencies on Wednesday that Moscow is asking it to cease fire and “restore a dialogue and political efforts” promoted by the United Nations.
Russia has maintained ties with the U.N.-recognized government in Tripoli and with Field Marshal Khalifa Hifter, who leads the LNA and is at war with rival militias loosely allied with the government. Recently, Russia has seemed to favor Hifter. A top official in Hifter’s administration was visiting Moscow on Wednesday.
The U.N. says the fighting in Libya’s capital has reached a detention center holding hundreds of detained migrants and refugees.
Stephane Dujarric, a spokesman for the U.N. secretary-general, said Tuesday that the U.N. aid agency has received reports that the Qasr Ben Ghashir detention center, holding some 890 refugees and migrants, was “breached by armed actors.” The facility is 20 kilometers (12.5 miles) south of central Tripoli.
The U.N. says some 3,600 refugees and migrants are held in facilities near the front lines of fighting between the self-styled Libyan National Army and other heavily-armed militias.
Libya became a major conduit for African migrants and refugees fleeing to Europe after the uprising that toppled and killed Moammar Gadhafi in 2011. Thousands have been detained by armed groups and smugglers.