deepening the dispute between Russia and Israel over Nazi allegations; This is your best time, UK to tell Ukraine

Russia claims that Israel supports the “neo-Nazi” regime in Ukraine

The Russian Foreign Ministry has claimed that Israel supports what it called the “neo-Nazi regime” in Kyiv, in comments expected to escalate already escalating tensions between the two countries.

Tensions rose over the weekend after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov claimed Adolf Hitler was Jewish, sparking outrage in Israel.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attends a joint press conference with Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan in Moscow, Russia, April 8, 2022.

Alexander Zemlianchenko | Reuters

Lavrov made the remarks Sunday when asked on an Italian TV show how Russia could claim to be fighting for “de-Nazification” in Ukraine when President Volodymyr Zelensky is himself a Jew.

Lavrov reportedly replied: “I could be wrong, but Hitler had Jewish blood too. [That Zelensky is Jewish] It means absolutely nothing.”

The comments sparked an angry reaction from Israel, with Foreign Minister Yair Lapid describing Lavrov’s comments as an “unforgivable historical mistake, scandal and a terrible historical mistake.”

“The Jews did not kill themselves in the Holocaust,” Lapid said. “The lowest level of racism against Jews is to blame the Jews themselves for anti-Semitism.” Israel also summoned the Russian ambassador in the wake of the comments.

On Tuesday, the Russian Foreign Ministry responded to Lapid’s comments, claiming that what it called Lapid’s “anti-historical statements” “largely explain the course of the current Israeli government in supporting the neo-Nazi regime in Kyiv.”

Russia has repeatedly claimed that it wants to “de-Nazify” Ukraine, and has made false allegations against the government, despite Zelensky’s Jewish origins.

Six million Jews were murdered by Nazi Germany in the Holocaust during World War II.

Holly Eliat

Russia claims to have struck a center used to deliver Western weapons

The Russian Defense Ministry claims that its forces bombed a logistics center used to deliver Western-supplied weapons to Ukraine near the port city of Odessa.

CNBC has not been able to verify these claims.

“High-precision Onyx missiles … hit a logistics center at a military airport through which foreign weapons were delivered,” the ministry said in a statement on Telegram on Tuesday.

Hangars containing Bayraktar TB2 Unmanned Aerial Vehicles [drones]Rocket weapons and ammunition from American and European countries were also destroyed,” he said.

– Holly Eliat

Hopes for evacuees from Mariupol steel plant to reach safety

A Ukrainian official said there were hopes that civilians evacuated from the besieged Azovstal steel plant complex in the Russian-occupied city of Mariupol would arrive in the Ukrainian-controlled city of Zaporizhia later on Tuesday.

An evacuation center receives people fleeing within the Zaporizhzhya and Mariupol region. Cars and vans arrive with the displaced from several cities and villages, mostly from the Russian-occupied territories. A family with several children.

Andre Luis Alves | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Mariupol Mayor Vadim Boychenko reportedly said that more than 200 civilians remain at the Azovstal steel plant, the last stronghold of Ukrainian fighters in Mariupol, and that there are about 100,000 civilians in the city.

“The queue (of the evacuees) is heading towards Zaporizhzhya. The evacuation is continuing,” Boychenko told national television. “We are limiting the information and we hope that the evacuees from Azovstal will reach Ukraine,” he added.

Holly Eliat

The Russian army is now “significantly weaker” due to the invasion of Ukraine

A member of the Ukrainian Regional Defense Forces stands on a damaged Russian tank on the outskirts of the village of Nova Basan, Ukraine on April 1, 2022. The Russian invasion on February 24 coincided with what is known locally as the “muddy road season” or “Rasputitsa” in Russian.

Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

The Russian military is now “significantly weaker” both physically and conceptually, as a result of its invasion of Ukraine, according to the latest intelligence update from Britain’s Ministry of Defense.

“The Russian defense budget nearly doubled between 2005 and 2018, with investment in many advanced air, land and sea capabilities,” the ministry said on Twitter on Tuesday.

However, the ministry continued, “Modernization of its physical equipment did not enable Russia to dominate Ukraine,” noting that failures in strategic planning and operational implementation “left it unable to translate numerical strength into a decisive advantage.”

The United Kingdom has said that the weakened Russian military will struggle to recover due to international sanctions, and this will have a lasting impact on Russia’s ability to deploy conventional military power.

Holly Eliat

This is Ukraine’s ‘best hour’, UK’s Boris Johnson told lawmakers

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson walks, after delivering a video address to the Verkhovna Rada, in Downing Street, London, Britain, May 3, 2022.

Toby Melville | Reuters

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to announce a new package of 300 million pounds ($375 million) in defense military aid to Ukraine on Tuesday, which includes electronic warfare equipment, a counter-battery radar system, GPS jamming equipment and thousands of night vision devices.

Britain is sending more More than a dozen new specialized Toyota Land Cruisers to help protect civilian officials in eastern Ukraine and evacuate civilians from front-line areas, at the request of the Ukrainian government.

Johnson will address the Verkhovna Rada via video link and is expected to invoke the words of Winston Churchill, Britain’s leader during World War II, by telling Ukrainian lawmakers that these are the “best times” for their country and that the UK is proud “to be among the friends.”


Keystone | Holton Archive | Getty Images

“When my country faced the threat of invasion during the Second World War, our Parliament – like your Parliament – continued to meet throughout the conflict, and the British people showed such unity and determination that we remember that our time when it represented the greatest danger was our best,” he will say, according to previous statements I have published Government.

“This is Ukraine’s finest hour, an epic chapter in your national story that will be remembered and told for generations to come.”

Johnson is expected to add: “Your children and grandchildren will say that the Ukrainians taught the world that the brute force of an aggressor means nothing against the moral strength of a people bent on emancipation.”

The title also marks the reopening of the UK Embassy in Kyiv.

Holly Eliat

The Pentagon says Ukrainian forces are pushing Russian forces away from Kharkiv

A Ukrainian military vehicle heads to the front line during combat amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine, near Izyum, Kharkiv region, Ukraine, April 23, 2022.

Jorge Silva | Reuters

Ukrainian forces defending Kharkiv have pushed the Russians back from the city in the past 24 to 48 hours The US Department of Defense said late Monday.

A senior US defense official told a news briefing that Ukrainian forces “were able to drive the Russians out 40 km”. [25 miles] To the east of Kharkiv “the city is still under aerial bombardment.

Kharkiv has been under constant attack since late February, and most of its civilian population has fled the city.

The strategically important city is located in northeastern Ukraine, only about 32 kilometers (20 miles) from the Russian border.

The official told reporters that Russian forces in eastern Ukraine were making “poor” progress and were still suffering from low morale, weak command and control and poor logistics.

Turning to arms shipments, the Pentagon official said that more than 70 of the 90 M-777 howitzers the United States is sending to Ukraine have arrived there. So allocate about 140,000 shots to these guns, which is half the amount planned for delivery.

– Ted Kemp and Christina Wilkie

A US defense official said Russian forces are moving into parts of eastern Ukraine, declaring victory, and then leaving again

Tanks of pro-Russian forces march along a road during the Ukraine-Russia conflict in Ukraine April 17, 2022.

Alexander Armoshenko | Reuters

A senior US defense official told reporters that Russian forces in eastern Ukraine were making “weak” progress and continued to suffer from low morale, poor command and control and poor logistics.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the Kremlin has made small gains in the easternmost Luhansk region and outside the city of Izyum, but overall gains in the region are eroding.

Rather than seizing territory, Russian forces recently moved into an area, declaring victory and then left the area for Ukrainian forces to resume control, US intelligence suggests.

This creates the imagination of the Russian domestic public that the military has made significant gains in Ukraine, but does not actually require that Russian forces suppress the civilian population.

The Kremlin’s efforts to control the civilian population elsewhere in Ukraine resulted in thousands of deaths and dozens of possible war crimes committed against the Ukrainian population.

– Christina Wilkie

US intelligence indicates that Russia is planning to hold a sham referendum in mid-May to annex Donetsk and Luhansk

A militant from the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic appears on a platform, as evacuees board a train before leaving the separatist-controlled city of Donetsk, Ukraine on February 22, 2022.

Alexander Armoshenko | Reuters

Michael Carpenter, Washington’s ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, said US intelligence indicates that Russia is planning to hold two sham referendums in mid-May in an attempt to annex Donetsk and Luhansk, two regions of eastern Ukraine currently under Russian occupation.

“Russia has plans to hold a referendum on joining Russia sometime in mid-May,” he told a foreign ministry briefing. He added that Moscow was “considering a plan similar to Kherson”, a region in southern Ukraine on which a city of the same name is based.

This meant dismantling local governments, schools, and institutions and then declaring the occupied Kherson region an “independent people’s republic” before its subsequent annexation.

Russia recently announced plans to force people in Kherson to switch to the ruble as a currency. It has also cut off access to the internet and mobile phones across the region, which is home to more than a million people.

“Fake referendums and fabricated voting will not be considered legitimate, nor will any attempts to annex additional Ukrainian territory,” Carpenter said. But he acknowledged that the OSCE does not have the power to disrupt Russia’s plans.

– Christina Wilkie

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