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Musings From Abroad

Russia says soldiers illegal use of phones caused Makiivka missile explosion but experts disagree

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The defence ministry of Russia said illegal use of mobile phones by its soldiers caused a deadly Ukrainian missile strike that it said killed 89 servicemen.

The recent revelation raises the reported death toll of Russian soldiers in the accident significantly against the initial report that 63 soldiers died in the accident.

In a statement on early morning, the Russian defence ministry said four Ukrainian missiles hit a temporary Russian barracks in a vocational college in Makiivka, twin city of the Russian-occupied regional capital of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine.

Although an official probe has been launched, the main reason for the attack was clearly the illegal mass use of mobile phones by servicemen, the ministry said.

“This factor allowed the enemy to track and determine the coordinates of the soldiers’ location for a missile strike.”

The strike and the ministry’s explanation of has been caused reactions from commentators and veterans who are increasingly vocal about what they see as a half-hearted campaign in Ukraine.

One of the most vocal voices on the strike, Semyon Pegov, a prominent Russian war correspondent awarded the Order of Courage by Putin in late 2022, questioned the ministry’s reasoning.

Pegov said that Ukraine could have been able to locate the troops via drones and intelligence, not necessarily through mobile phones.

“The story of ‘mobiles’ is not very convincing,” Pegov said. “I rarely say this – but this is the case when it would probably be better to remain silent, at least until the end of the investigation. As such it looks like an outright attempt to smear the blame.”

In February, Russia invaded Ukraine in a major escalation of the Russo-Ukrainian War that began in 2014. The invasion caused Europe’s largest refugee crisis since World War II with around 7.3 million Ukrainians fleeing the country and a third of the population displaced. It has also caused global food shortages.

Musings From Abroad

Russia’s African influence grows as envoy claims 1,890 ‘instructors’ in Central African Republic

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The Russian ambassador to the Central African Republic, Alexander Bikantov has revealed that the country’s military presence in the insurgency-plagued African country.

Bikantov said in an interview published on Friday that 1,890 “Russian instructors” were present in the country. He mentioned that a focus of operations for the Kremlin-linked Wagner Group mercenary outfit.

“Today, there are 1,890 Russian instructors in the C.A.R.. The government is interested in increasing their number. Relatively recently, Bangui sent the relevant application to the UN Security Council”. Bikantov was quoted by the state-owned news agency RIA.

Russia’s influence among African countries battling insurgency has been on the rise lately, with solidified ties with West African country, Mali and much more recently its neighbours Burkina Faso. Both countries, which are under military dictators have reportedly engaged Russian mercenaries – the Wagner Group in the bid to overcome the uprising in their territories.

There are however reports of likely cases of crimes against humility by the government of Mali in its fight against terrorism in connection with its engagement with the Wagner group.

Although it is mineral-rich, the Central African Republic is one of the poorest countries in the world.

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Musings From Abroad

Israel, Sudan advance talks normalise relations

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Following a transfer of power from the military to a civilian government in Khartoum, Israel, and Sudan have finalized a deal to normalise relations.

The Israeli foreign ministry made the revelation on Thursday, noting that the deal was agreed upon during a visit by Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen to “move forward towards normalising relations between the two countries.”

The visit is the first by an Israeli official acknowledged by Sudanese authorities, though there had been a series of exchanges by officials in recent years.

According to a statement by the Israeli foreign ministry, “… the visit, which was made with the consent of the United States, the parties finalised the text of the agreement.”

“The signing ceremony is expected to take place after the transfer of power in Sudan to a civilian government that will be established as part of the ongoing transition process in the country,” it said.

“We definitely look forward to signing the agreement and then to having diplomatic representatives both in Israel and in Sudan,” Lior Haiat, spokesperson for the foreign ministry who took part in the delegation, Cohen told newsmen.

“We are (now) building a new reality with the Sudanese, in which the ‘Three No’s’ will become the ‘Three Yeses’,” he said. “Yes to negotiations between Israel and Sudan, yes to recognition of Israel, and yes to peace between the states and between the peoples.”

In January 2021 Sudan said its then-justice minister Nasredeen Abdulbari had signed the Abraham Accords during a visit by U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

A joint statement issued by the governments of Israel, Sudan, and the United States said that “The leaders agreed to the normalisation of relations between Sudan and Israel and to end the state of belligerence between their nations.”

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