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Israel demands apology after Russia says Hitler had Jewish roots

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(Last Updated On: May 3, 2022)

Israel slammed Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Monday for claiming Adolf Hitler had Jewish origins, saying it was an “unforgivable” falsehood that debased the horrors of the Nazi Holocaust.

“Such lies are intended to accuse the Jews themselves of the most horrific crimes in history that were committed against them,” Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said in a statement, Reuters reported.

“The use of the Holocaust of the Jewish people for political purposes must stop immediately,” he added.

Lavrov made the assertion on Italian television on Sunday when he was asked why Russia said it needed to “denazify” Ukraine if the country’s own president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, was himself Jewish.

“When they say ‘What sort of nazification is this if we are Jews’, well I think that Hitler also had Jewish origins, so it means nothing,” Lavrov told Rete 4 channel, speaking through an Italian interpreter.

“For a long time now we’ve been hearing the wise Jewish people say that the biggest anti-Semites are the Jews themselves,” he added.

Leaders from several Western nations also denounced the foreign Lavrov’s comments. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy accused Russia of having forgotten the lessons of World War Two.

U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken weighed in later on the comments by his Russian counterpart saying it was “incumbent on the world to speak out against such vile, dangerous rhetoric.”

The German government’s anti-Semitism commissioner, Felix Klein, said Lavrov’s remarks mocked the victims of Nazism and “shamelessly confront not only Jews but the entire international public with open anti-Semitism.” 

Israel has expressed support for Ukraine following the Russian invasion in February. But wary of straining relations with Russia, a powerbroker in neighbouring Syria, it initially avoided direct criticism of Moscow and has not enforced formal sanctions on Russian oligarchs.

In a sign of sharply deteriorating relations with Moscow, the Israeli foreign ministry summoned the Russian ambassador and demanded an apology over Lavrov’s comments.

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NATO’s Stoltenberg says Russia’s Ukraine offensive not going to plan

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(Last Updated On: May 16, 2022)

Russia’s offensive in Ukraine is failing and its operation in the Donbass region has stalled, NATO’s secretary general said on Sunday, Reuters reported.

“Russia’s war in Ukraine is not going as Moscow had planned. They failed to take Kyiv,” Jens Stoltenberg told reporters by video link. “They are pulling back from Kharkiv and their major offensive in Donbass has stalled.”

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Churchgoers hog-tie gunman after shooting in California kills one

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(Last Updated On: May 16, 2022)

A gunman opened fire in a Southern California church during a lunch banquet on Sunday, killing one person and wounding five, before churchgoers detained the suspect and hog-tied his legs with an electrical cord, authorities said.

Police responded to the incident that unfolded at about 1:30 p.m. local time (2039 GMT) at the Geneva Presbyterian Church in Laguna Woods and arrested an unidentified suspect in his 60s, Orange County Undersheriff Jeff Hallock told a news conference.

“That group of churchgoers displayed … exceptional heroism and bravery in intervening to stop the suspect. They undoubtedly prevented additional injuries and fatalities,” he said.

One person died at the scene while four other victims were critically wounded. Another person suffered minor injuries, he said. All of the injured were taken to hospitals.

About 30 to 40 people were in the church when the shooting occurred, Hallock said.

“At this time, we do not know what the suspect’s motive may be or whether he had an intended target, or whether this is even a hate-related incident,” Hallock said, adding that authorities believe the suspect does not live in the area.

Two handguns were found at the scene.

“No one should have to fear going to their place of worship. Our thoughts are with the victims, community, and all those impacted by this tragic event,” Governor Gavin Newsom’s office said on Twitter.

It was at least the second mass shooting of the weekend in the United States, which has been plagued with gun violence in recent years. In Buffalo, New York, on Saturday, a white 18-year-old man opened fire at a supermarket in a mostly Black neighborhood, killing 10 and wounding three in what authorities described as a purely racist attack.

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Britain says Russia has lost a third of its forces in Ukraine

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(Last Updated On: May 15, 2022)

Russia has probably lost around a third of the ground forces it deployed to Ukraine and its offensive in the Donbas region “has lost momentum and fallen significantly behind schedule”, British military intelligence said on Sunday.

“Despite small-scale initial advances, Russia has failed to achieve substantial territorial gains over the past month whilst sustaining consistently high levels of attrition,” the British defence ministry said on Twitter.

“Russia has now likely suffered losses of one third of the ground combat force it committed in February.”

It said Russia was unlikely to dramatically accelerate its rate of advance over the next 30 days, Reuters reported.

Since Russia’s invasion on February 24, Ukraine’s military has forced Russia’s commanders to abandon an advance on the capital Kyiv, before making rapid gains in the northeast and driving them away from the second biggest city of Kharkiv.

A Ukrainian counteroffensive has been under way near the Russian-held town of Izium, though Ukraine’s military reported on Sunday that Russian forces were advancing elsewhere in the Donbas region, the main theatre of war over the past month.

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