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This, just after the Israeli PM flew all the way to Russia - only to have Putin turn down his offer to negotiate peace in Ukraine!
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This, just after the Israeli PM flew all the way to Russia - only to have Putin turn down his offer to negotiate peace in Ukraine!
By TOI STAFF and AGENCIES Today, 4:03 am Updated at 7:40 am
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett shuttling between Russia and Germany on March 5, 2022 (PMO)
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett returned to Israel in the early hours of Sunday morning after a surprise whirlwind trip to Moscow and then Berlin to try to mediate a resolution to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
After a three-hour conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin, the Israeli leader headed to Germany, where he and Chancellor Olaf Scholz “discussed several issues, including the situation between Ukraine and Russia.”
Few details were provided on the content of either meeting.
Bennett’s trip was seen as an effort to further develop a potential role as mediator between the sides, as Israel has good relations with both Kyiv and Moscow.
Hebrew-language media reports said Bennett also spoke with Putin about the safety of Ukraine’s Jewish communities, and that the meeting touched on the state of nuclear talks with Iran as well.
Bennett spoke twice throughout the evening with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky following his meeting with Putin. He also conversed with French President Emmanuel Macron.
Zelensky tweeted that Bennett had called him and “we continue dialogue.”
However, the Ynet news site cited the Ukrainian president’s spokesman as saying it was not yet clear what, if anything, the meeting had achieved in efforts to negotiate an end to the fighting.
According to the website, Sergey Nikiforov said that in Bennett’s phone call with Zelensky, the Ukrainian leader did not hear anything particularly new.
“We cannot assess the results of Prime Minister Bennett’s mediation until we get a clear indication from Bennett or Putin on an agreement to a meeting [with Zelensky],” he said.
Kyiv had asked Israel to launch a dialogue with Moscow.
After Bennett’s meeting with Scholz, the two agreed their aim was to “end the war in Ukraine as soon as possible,” the German leader’s spokesman said in a statement early on Sunday.
There were conflicting reports on Washington’s attitude toward the meeting with Putin — Bennett’s first with a world leader since the invasion of Ukraine began.
An Israeli official diplomatic source said the meeting was coordinated with the United States, Germany, and France, “in continuous dialogue with Ukraine.”
Quoting an unnamed source, Axios reported that while the White House had not objected to the meeting, it also doubted Bennett’s chances to influence Putin’s position.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett arrives in Germany for a meeting with Chancellor Olaf Scholz, March 5, 2022 (PMO)
But Channel 12 news claimed the White House had actively supported and encouraged the effort.
Bennett has so far walked a cautious line on the Ukraine conflict, seeking to preserve delicate security cooperation with Russia, which has a large military presence in Israel’s northern neighbor, Syria. Israel regularly carries out strikes in Syria targeting Iran and its proxies.
Bennett has not joined Western leaders — notably key ally the United States — in forcefully condemning the invasion, instead stressing Israel’s strong relations with both Russia and Ukraine. Still, Israeli diplomats have condemned the invasion, and Jerusalem this week voted in favor of a UN General Assembly resolution against Russia’s actions.
Ahead of the trip, Bennett had spoken by telephone repeatedly with both Putin and Zelensky — who is Jewish, has family in Israel and has visited the country many times.
“Bennett’s action is bold but also risky. Much will depend on Putin’s state of mind,” Michael Oren, former Israeli ambassador to Washington, told AFP.
Oren noted that while Putin rebuffed heavyweight diplomatic outreaches before the invasion, “Russia is in a different position today and Putin may be looking for a way out of his predicament. Naftali Bennett just may supply the ladder.”
Bennett’s office said he left Israel for Moscow early Saturday, itself a highly unusual move for a religious Jew who does not conduct state business on the Jewish Sabbath, except in extraordinary circumstances.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Bennett and Putin discussed “the situation around Ukraine,” according to Russian news agencies.
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a flag-raising ceremony on the ferry Marshal Rokossovsky via a video link at the Novo-
An Israeli official diplomatic source said Bennett spoke with Putin about “the situation of Israelis and the Jewish communities as a result of the conflict” and the ongoing talks in Vienna to restore the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which Russia is a signatory to.
“The prime minister expressed the position of Israel, which is opposed to a return to the nuclear deal,” the source said.
Earlier Saturday, Russia said it would demand guarantees from the US before backing the Iran nuclear deal, citing the current wave of Western sanctions against Russia.
There was no immediate comment on any link between the new Russian position and Bennett’s visit.
Bennett’s office said the premier was accompanied by Housing Minister Ze’ev Elkin, acting as a translator and adviser. Elkin, a Russian speaker and native of Ukraine, served a similar role under former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
National Security Adviser Eyal Hulata, senior policy adviser Shimrit Meir, and Bennett’s spokesman Matan Sidi also traveled with the prime minister, his office said.
The trips to Moscow and Berlin came after Bennett held two back-to-back phone calls with Putin and Zelensky in recent days, as Moscow pressed on with the invasion of its neighbor.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky gestures as he speaks during a press conference in Kyiv on March 3, 2022 (Sergei SUPINSKY / AFP)
On Tuesday, Bennett said that Israel was seeking to “help quietly” while maintaining its own strategic interests. Israel has expressed its support for the Ukrainian people and has sent a shipment of 100 tons of humanitarian aid. Foreign Minister Yair Lapid condemned the invasion as a “breach of the international order.”
But Bennett has avoided calling out Putin by name, refused Ukrainian requests for military equipment, and vowed to stake out a cautious policy.
Russia and Ukraine are expected to hold a third round of talks to end hostilities on Monday. The first two rounds of talks on resolving the Russia-Ukraine war produced no breakthrough, though the two sides agreed to meet again.
The findings were based on the Pandora Papers, a trove of millions of documents from 14 offshore service providers leaked to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and its partners, including Slidstvo.info.
The story detailed how Zelenskyy and his partners launched a network of offshore companies in the British Virgin Islands, Belize and Cyprus.
The companies date back to at least 2012, the year District 95 went big in Ukraine with regular shows on a television channel owned by Ihor Kolomoisky, a Ukrainian oligarch sanctioned in the US and the European Union for alleged multibillion fraud, the report claimed.
According to the report, the words of Vladimir Zelensky in Munich about the nuclear status of Ukraine were not accidental, it could become a reality in the very near future.
“Zelensky’s statement at the Munich Security Conference in February about the possibility of acquiring a nuclear status for Ukraine was not accidental. Immediately after joining the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons as a non-nuclear state in 1994, Ukraine began to carry out R&D in order to form a technological basis for the possible creation of their own nuclear weapons,” RIA Novosti quoted the source.
According to the source, these works got a clearly expressed practical orientation and growing activity in 2014 on the order of Petro Poroshenko, who then served as Ukrainian President.
“Thus, the data available in the SVR [Foreign Intelligence Service] testify that R&D on the creation of a nuclear explosive device, which could later be used in the design of nuclear warheads, was carried out both in uranium and plutonium areas. The scientific community of Ukraine has sufficient competencies to create a device both “implosive” and “cannon” type,” the source said.
The source noted that Ukraine could also covertly acquire technology from the West for centrifuge enrichment of uranium and laser isotope separation.
Plutonium of the required quality was reportedly obtained from foreign states.
“According to available information, the United States has already transferred this material to its partners. There is reason to believe that in the “Ukrainian case” it was not without the participation of Washington,” the source said.
According to the source, the key role in the creation of a nuclear explosive device was assigned to the National Scientific Center “Kharkov Institute of Physics and Technology”. Assistance to scientists in the development of methods for the separation of isotopes of nuclear materials was provided by specialized structures of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, in particular, the Institute for Nuclear Research and the Institute of Organic Chemistry located in Kyiv.
Russian forces involved in the advance near Kyiv:
The Institute for Nuclear Safety Problems in Chernobyl, the State Scientific and Technical Center for Nuclear and Radiation Safety in Kyiv and the Institute for Condensed System Physics in Lviv also participated in the work.
As a site for the development of nuclear weapons, Kyiv used the zone of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.
“It was there, judging by the available information, that work was underway both on the manufacture of a “dirty” bomb and on the separation of plutonium,” RIA Novosti quotes the source.
The increased radiation background natural for the Chernobyl zone was used to cover this work.
On top of these in recent years, Kyiv has been actively interested in the topic of uranium enrichment and development of means to deliver nuclear weapons (i.e. missiles).
According to the source, Kyiv “covers” most of these developments by implementing joint projects with other countries. For example, in December 2013, Ukraine reached an agreement on cooperation in the rocket sphere with Turkey.
“The Ukrainian rocket and space enterprises Yuzhmashzavod and Yuzhnoye Design Bureau, which previously participated in the creation of the Soviet nuclear missile arsenal, had to play the main role in it,” the source said.
According to the source, the main goal of this cooperation was the creation of a mobile complex equipped with a solid-propellant ballistic missile with a range of up to 1,500 km.
Mountain Assault Battalion of the Armed Forces of Ukraine near Volnovakha:
Sparta destroyed Ukrainian battle tanks around Volnovakha:
Meanwhile, the Russian Defense Ministry released an update on the military operation in Ukraine:
Additionally, the evacuation of civilians from Mariupol city was resumed on March 6. A day ago, on March 5, Kiev forces already sabotaged the withdrawal of civilians from the area. Therefore, a new round of provocations is expected. Units of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and nationalist battalions blocked in Mariupol are not interested in evacuation of civilians because they use them as human shields.
- Forces of the Lugansk People’s Republic took control of the settlements of RUBTSY, KARPOVKA, MAKEEVKA, NOVOLOBOVKA, LIPOVOE, MIDDLE, GREEN DOLINA, ZAKABLUKHOVKA.
- Units of the Donetsk People’s Republic established control over the settlements of PEREDOVOE, KARIERNOE and RAVNOPOL.
- Forces of the Donetsk People’s Republic are conducting successful offensive operations on the western and northwestern outskirts of the city of MARIUPOL. The residential area ‘Stariy Krym’ was taken under control.
- Units of the Russian Armed Forces took control of the settlements of PRIYUTNOE, ZAVITNE-BAZHANNE, STAROMLYNOVKA, OCTOBER and NOVOMAYSKOE.
- On the evening of March 5, a massive strike was delivered targeting 61 objects of the military infrastructure of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. This included 22 units of weapons and military equipment in an underground shelter, a brigade command post, 9 ammunition depots and 3 radar posts.
- On the morning of March 6, a long-range high-precision strike hit the airfield of the Ukrainian Air Force in STAROKONSTANTYNOV. It was put out of action.
- Over the past day, fighter aircraft and air defense of the Russian Aerospace Forces shot down four Su-27 and one MiG-29 aircraft in Zhitomir area, Su-27 and Su-25 in Radomyshlya area, one Su-25 in NEZHIN area, two Mi-8 helicopters in Kyiv as well as six unmanned aerial vehicles, including Bayraktar TB-2.
- Bomber and assault aircraft hit 3 Buk M1 anti-aircraft missile systems and 3 radar stations of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
- A missile strike also destroyed a S-300 anti-aircraft missile system.
- As of now, a total of 2,203 military infrastructure facilities of Ukraine were targeted. Among them: 76 command posts and communication centers, 111 S-300, Buk M-1 and Osa anti-aircraft missile systems, as well as 71 radar stations.
- Russian forces destroyed: 69 aircraft on the ground and 24 aircraft in the air, 778 tanks and other armored combat vehicles, 77 multiple launch rocket systems, 279 field artillery pieces and mortars, 553 units of special military vehicles, as well as 62 unmanned aerial vehicles.
DPR forces captured rocket launchers and destroyed a group of Kiev forces near Mariupol:
06.03.2022Ukraine was secretly developing nuclear weapons and it was close to obtaining them, Russian media reported on March 6 citing...southfront.org
Ukraine was secretly developing nuclear weapons and it was close to obtaining them, Russian media reported on March 6 citing a source with knowledge of the situation in Russian security structures.
6 March، 2022 Sana news
Zelensky is Not in Charge of Ukraine, Nazis Are - And They Believe They Are on a Mission From God to 'Derussify Ukraine in Holy War' -- Sott.netWhile Western media deploys Volodymyr Zelensky's Jewish heritage to refute accusations of Nazi influence in Ukraine, the president has ceded to neo-Nazi forces and now depends on them as front-line fighters. Back in October 2019, as the war in...www.sott.net
BEIRUT (Sputnik) - Discrimination that the West is now perpetuating against Russia is unprecedented in world history and infringes on the principles of international law, turning the world into "a jungle," Syrian President Bashar Assad said on Thursday.
"Western discrimination of Russia is unprecedented in world history... The West lies in every word in pursuit of world power and thievery... The West has proved that international law is worthless and has crossed out all the principles of the world agreements turning the world into a jungle," Assad told a meeting with teachers from all Syrian provinces, as quoted by Syrian news agency SANA.
The president noted that there are means of confronting the West, and called for a "dynamic thinking" and a strong will to find economic solutions amid unilateral sanctions.
The president said that the world turned into "a wild forest run by Western thieves in the absence of international law" after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
"The West is experiencing a historic reversal of its global role after the beginning of the conflict in Ukraine... The conflict in Ukraine has exposed the true face of Western powers to their people," Assad said.
Russia launched an operation in Ukraine on February 24 after the breakaway Donbas republics appealed for help in defending themselves against the Ukrainian military. In response, Western nations have rolled out a comprehensive sanctions campaign against Moscow.
No other details were immediately provided. The country's defense ministry stated that there was a destruction, but it was not clear of which scale. No casualties were reported either. However, the number and type of attacking projectiles has remained unknown.
Israel carried out air strikes in the suburbs of Damascus on Thursday, Syria’s state news agency SANA reported.
According to the news agency's reporter, the explosions were heard in the sky in the western part of the city.
The outlet, citing sources in the military, said that the Israeli jets carried out "an air aggression" from the north of the occupied Golan Heights, and that the targets of the airstrike were situated the western suburbs of Damascus.
A video allegedly showing the execution of an air raid by Israeli fighters has surfaced on social media. According to the video's description, shortly before explosions were heard over Syria, the jets were spotted in the sky of northern Israel.
According to an Al-Arabiya report, the Israeli raid targeted Iranian air defense installations that had recently arrived in the region.
Later, on social media, unconfirmed reports said that at least one impact had been reported west of Damascus, with places like Ras Al-Ain and Al-Dimas being popular targets.
Moreover, a drone was reportedly seen in the area where the strike have been conducted, as it might have reportedly conducted reconnaissance or corrected the strike.
In early March, four Israeli F-16 fighter jets launched an attack on Syria with eight cruise missiles, seven of which were destroyed, according to the Russian military. The Syrian media reported back then that Israeli planes targeted multiple places near Damascus at about 5 am local time, while in Lebanese airspace. In total, two civilians were killed.
Israel targets Syria on a regular basis, claiming that its operations are geared at opposing the Iranian military presence in the Arab republic. Such strikes are considered infringement of Syrian national sovereignty by Damascus.
Air defenses respond to missile attack on Damascus
Syria accused Israel of launching missiles on an area south of Damascus on Monday evening, targeting the suburb of Saida Zaynab.
Air defenses were activated around 11:18 pm on Monday in response to “hostile missiles” detected approaching Damascus, the state news agency SANA reported. State TV described the attack as “Israeli aggression.”
The projectiles came from the direction of the occupied Golan Heights and “most” were intercepted by air defenses, SANA said, citing military sources. Eyewitnesses reported seeing several explosions in the night sky over the Syrian capital.
At least one missile got through, however, and caused property damage. There have been no reports of casualties as of yet.
Israel has repeatedly launched missiles into Syria over the past several years. On the rare occasion Tel Aviv has acknowledged the strikes, it claimed to target Iranian military presence in the neighboring country in preemptive self-defense. Tehran has sent military aid to Damascus in the fight against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) and other terrorist groups.
A May 20 missile strike targeting the vicinity of the Damascus international airport killed at least three people and caused a fire that resulted in flight delays. According to the Israeli outlet Ynet, its targets were pro-Iranian militias.
Strikes injured at least one civilian, the Syrian military told state media
Israeli warplanes have struck sites south of the Damascus, triggering the country’s air defenses for the second time since Monday evening, local media reported, noting that the alleged missile attack left one non-combatant wounded and inflicted “material losses.”
Israel “carried out an air aggression” over the outskirts of the Syrian capital around 4:20am local time on Friday, according to the Syrian Arab News Agency, which cited an unnamed military source.
“The aggression resulted in the injury of a civilian and the infliction of some material losses,” the official said, adding that the salvo was fired from the direction of the Israel-occupied Golan Heights and that most of the missiles were shot down.
The latest reports come just days after Syrian authorities claimed similar strikes targeted areas around the capital, also denouncing them as “Israeli aggression.” No casualties were reported following that incident, though one missile caused property damage.
Another alleged attack on May 13 reportedly killed five people, including a civilian, and left seven others wounded. A child was among those injured, the Syrian military said.
Israel has repeatedly bombed Syria throughout the country’s decade-long struggle against jihadist insurgents, and while it rarely confirms such operations, officials have frequently complained of the alleged threat posed by Iranian fighters deployed to assist Syrian forces. Former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, however, previously indicated his country had carried out “hundreds” of air raids on Syrian territory.
Speaking to RT for an interview last weekend, Syrian President Bashar Assad commented on the Israeli military action, suggesting it aimed to prop up terrorist groups that failed to topple the government in Damascus despite years of support from Western and regional powers.
“The Israeli interference at the beginning was linked directly to when the terrorists collapsed in Syria,” he said. “When the terrorists began to retreat and their morale collapsed, the Israeli intervention was necessary to raise their morale and to re-mobilize them. What Israel is doing now comes within this framework and nothing else.”