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Russia accuses West of ramping up pressure with Ukraine arms supplies

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(Last Updated On: February 10, 2022)

A senior Russian official accused the West on Wednesday of ramping up political pressure on Moscow by supplying weapons and ammunition to support Ukraine during a standoff over a Russian military buildup.

Moscow has massed troops near Ukraine, and is set to stage military drills in close ally Belarus to Ukraine’s north, stirring fears that it could invade. Russia denies any plan to attack Ukraine.

Countries such as the United States and Britain have supplied military aid to Ukraine that has included anti-tank missiles and launchers to help it defend itself. Others, such as Germany, have sent helmets, shunning lethal aid, Reuters reported.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said the military supplies to Ukraine amounted to Western “blackmail and pressure”.

“Everything happening in terms of pumping Ukraine with equipment, ammunition, military hardware including lethal weapons is an attempt to put additional political pressure on us, as well as probably military technical pressure,” Ryabkov was quoted as saying by the RIA news agency.

Meanwhile, NATO’s military build-up on the territory of neighboring countries is creating a threat to Belarus and Russia and impacts security of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), CSTO Secretary General Stanislav Zas said at the Valdai International Discussion Club on Wednesday, TASS reported.

“NATO is substantially building up its forces on the western borders of the zone of the CSTO’s responsibility and developing military infrastructure on adjacent territories,” the CSTO chief said.

“Military activity is increasing and militarization of the whole region is actually underway. This creates threats not only to Belarus and Russia but adversely affects the provision of security of our entire organization, the CSTO,” Zas said.

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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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