Global Review – 14th May

Condemnation for Israeli police attack on Shireen’s funeral

There has been widespread international condemnation after Israeli police attacked a funeral procession for slain Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh on Friday, beating and kicking pallbearers and mourners alike with batons and causing them to almost drop the coffin. The EU said it was appalled while the White House called the scenes “deeply disturbing”. Thousands of mourners, some hoisting Palestinian flags and chanting “Palestine, Palestine”, attended the funeral for the Palestinian-American reporter, who witnesses say was shot and killed by Israeli forces on Wednesday while covering a military raid in the occupied West Bank. The mourners tried to march with the coffin on foot out of a hospital to a Catholic church in the nearby Old City. But police said the crowd at the hospital was chanting “nationalist incitement”, ignored calls to stop and threw stones at police. They said policemen “were forced to act”.

EU countries call on Israel to stop homes in West Bank

Fifteen European countries, including Italy, France and Germany, have asked Israel to reconsider its project to build more than 4,000 houses in the West Bank. They said in a joint statement they were deeply concerned by the Israeli decision and called on the authorities to reverse it.

Russia loses ‘entire batallion’ on blown-up bridge

As fighting raged along the banks of the Siverskyi Donets River in the Luhansk region, Ukraine blew up a Russian battalion attempting to cross a bridge, killing some 1,000 troops and destroying 50 tanks, according to Forbes. New satellite images from BlackSky intelligence firm show the parts that remain of a pontoon bridge built by Russian troops to access the Ukrainian territory. Images showed smoke rising from the bridge after it was hit by Ukrainian artillery on May 10, leaving Russian tanks and trucks protruding from the water. Britain’s defence intelligence said almost all of the Russian armoured vehicles were lost in the battle.

Ukraine says Russia has destroyed 27 fuel depots

Russia has destroyed 27 fuel depots and the Kremenchuk oil refinery in central Ukraine since it launched its invasion on February 24, First Deputy Prime Minister Yulia Svyrydenko said on Friday.According to Svyrydenko, Ukraine has signed contracts to import 300,000 tonnes of diesel and 120,000 tonnes of petrol to cover consumption in May. Becasuse of fuel shortage, many petrol stations are limiting the selling of petrol to 10 litres per consumer.

Scholz and Putin discuss situation in Ukraine in first call in weeks

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke on the phone on Friday for the first time in weeks to discuss stalled Ukraine peace talks, both governments confirmed. Putin reportedly told the German leader that peace talks on the conflict had been “essentially blocked” by the Ukrainian government, the Kremlin said in a statement. Putin also told Scholz Moscow was fighting “Nazi ideology” in Ukraine. In a Tweet, Scholz confirmed the call took place, saying he’d urged Putin for a rapid ceasefire in Ukraine. He also emphasised that the Russian leader’s claim that Nazis are in charge of the country is “false.” The German chancellor added, “I also reminded him about Russia’s responsibility for the global food situation.” In the 75-minute call, Scholz called on Putin to quickly “improve the humanitarian situation on the ground and [make] progress in the search for a diplomatic solution”.

Austin urged Shoygu for an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine

In their first conversation since Russia invaded Ukraine, US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin urged Russian Defence Minister Sergey Shoygu on Friday to move immediately to implement a ceasefire in Ukraine. According to a Pentagon statement, Austin also stressed the importance of maintaining lines of communication between Russia and USA. Pentagon maintains Russia is weeks behind goals set in its war plan.

EU to provide another €500 million in military aid

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has announced that the bloc was set to increase military aid to Ukraine by a further €500 million. Borrell made the announcement on the sidelines of a G7 foreign ministers meeting in Germany.  The latest aid package would increase the EU’s funds for Ukraine’s military support to a total of €2 billion, Borrell said, adding he was optimistic that an EU embargo on Russian oil imports could also be agreed in the coming days.

Erdogan opposed to Sweden, Finland in NATO

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he was against the entry of Sweden and Finland into NATO, calling it ‘a mistake’, akin to the entry of Greece. The move requires the unanimity of the member countries. The leaders of the two countries will discuss their membership of the Alliance with Turkey Saturday in Berlin, during the meeting of NATO foreign ministers.

Russia suspends electricity to Finland

In retaliation for Helsinki’s plans to join NATO, Russia has announced that electricity supplies to Finland will be suspended as of today. The operator of the Finnish electricity network has assured that it can do without the imports of energy from Russia, suspended for unpaid bills.

Surge in European gas prices

Gas prices in Europe have surged after Russia’s state-owned energy firm said it would cut shipments through a major supply route. Gazprom said it was turning the tap off to the Yamal pipeline, which runs to Germany via Poland, in response to fresh sanctions imposed against European gas companies.

210,000 Ukrainian children deported

The Ukrainian parliament’s commissioner for human rights, Lyudmyla Denisova, has said that more than 210,000 Ukrainian children have been deported against their will by the Russians. They were among the 1.2 million Ukrainians that Kiev claims were forcibly taken from their country. Speaking on national TV, Denisova said that “when our children are deported, national identity is destroyed and our country is deprived of the future”.

Kremlin denies Putin ‘sick with cancer’

President Putin, 69, allegedly has thyroid cancer, according to the independent Russian media ‘Proekt’ in a long investigation in which it reported the list of personal doctors who accompany the Russian president on his travels. According to the report, Putin was visited 35 times in Sochi by a specialist. The news of the disease was immediately denied by the Kremlin. Meanwhile, it was announced President Putin and members of the Russian Security Council yesterday discussed the military operation in Ukraine and the potential threats posed by the decision of Finland and Sweden to join NATO.

Alien conspiracy theories after doorway’ spotted on Mars

A cleanly cut ‘doorway’ which can be seen in a new photograph of Mars released by Nasa is sparking alien conspiracy theories online. Space fans and conspiracy theorists alike have been united in their eagerness to discuss exactly what the ‘door’ could lead to, or whether it’s just a natural part of the rock. The grainy image, which was taken by Nasa’s Curiosity rover on its Mast Camera on May 7, appears to show a doorway cut into the surface of the rock, which one social media user described as “a portal.” It is unclear if it goes deeper into the rock. So far, NASA has not given an official explanation.

Russian clubs appeal UEFA decision to bar them from competition

Four Russian Premier League clubs have filed an appeal against UEFA’s decision to bar Russian clubs from European competition next season. “Zenit Football Club are supported in this action by FC Dynamo Moscow, FC Sochi and PFC CSKA Moscow in appealing against the decision of UEFA, and respectfully request this appeal to CAS [the Court of Arbitration for Sport] be dealt with expeditiously,” Zenit said in a statement. Last week, UEFA announced that men’s and women’s teams in Russia would be excluded from European club competitions in the 2022/23 season as a result of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

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