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Russia strikes arsenal at military airfield near Odessa: Defense Ministry

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(Last Updated On: May 2, 2022)

The Russian Defense Ministry confirmed on Sunday that the Russian military struck a military airport near Odessa in Ukraine with high-precision missiles, destroying an arsenal that contained weapons and ammunition supplied by the U. S. and European countries, and damaging the airport runway.

The Ukrainian side said that Russian troops bombed the runway of Odessa airport on Saturday as they intensified their offensive in eastern Ukraine.

The Southern Ukrainian Combat Command said the sound of an explosion in Odessa came from a Russian drone shot down by Ukrainian anti-aircraft system. Ukraine said there are signs indicating that Russian forces are preparing to further intensify combat operations.

The governor of Russia’s western Kursk region said several shells were fired on Saturday at a checkpoint near its border from the direction of Ukraine.

Speaking in a video posted on his Telegram channel, governor Roman Starovoit said Russian border guards and troops quickly opened fire to suppress the fire from the Ukraine side and there were no casualties or damage.

The Ministry of Infrastructure of Ukraine has issued an order to close the ports of Berdiansk, Mariupol, Kherson and Skadovsk on Sunday until Ukraine’s control over them is regained.

As the current conflict between Russia and Ukraine rages on and the negotiations between the two sides are at an impasse, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres kicked off his mediation mission to end the Moscow-Kiev conflict on Tuesday. Just two days after the mediation visit of Guterres ending on Thursday, U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi arrived in Kiev.

Analysis said that the U.S. and some Western allies’ behavior of making inflammatory accusations will undoubtedly hinder the Russia-Ukraine negotiation process.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky posted on social platforms on Sunday that he had a meeting with U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi in Kiev. Pelosi is the latest U.S. senior official to visit Ukraine following U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. Before Pelosi’s unexpected visit, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Ukraine has been used by the United States and NATO as a tool to contain and stimulate Russia.

Sunday marks a full month after Russia’s ruble settlement order went into effect. At that time, the decree was jointly boycotted by multiple European countries. After one month, however, many European countries are facing gas shortages.

On April 27, Russia announced that it had suspended gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria, which are the first to be “suspended” after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the ruble settlement order on April 1. Since then, gas price hikes in the European market have hit as high as 20 percent. Analysis said that if Russia cuts the gas supply to more European countries, gas prices will rise further, which may even lead to natural gas rationing.

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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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