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Slovakia says it has given S-300 air defence system to Ukraine | Russia-Ukraine war News

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Prime Minister Eduard Heger says donation does not mean the NATO member joined the war.

Prime Minister Eduard Heger says Slovakia has given its S-300 air defence system to Ukraine to help it defend against Russian attacks.

In a post on Facebook on Friday, Heger said the donation of the Soviet-made anti-aircraft batteries did not mean that the European Union and NATO member had joined the conflict with Russia, which invaded neighbouring Ukraine on February 24.

“I can confirm that the Slovak Republic has donated the S-300 air defence system to Ukraine, following Ukraine’s request for assistance,” Heger wrote.

“The donation of the system does not mean that the Slovak Republic has become a part of the armed conflict in Ukraine,” he added.

Ukraine has appealed to Western nations for military assistance, including air defence equipment, to help repel a Russian military onslaught.

On Friday, the United States said it would send new weapon systems to Ukraine after NATO foreign ministers meeting in Brussels agreed to accelerate arms deliveries in response to Russia’s invasion.

Urged by Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba to end bureaucracy-driven delays, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the US and 30 other countries were sending weapons to Ukraine and that that process would intensify.

Blinken added the US had already agreed to send Kyiv anti-aircraft systems, shoulder-held anti-tank weapons and armoured vehicles.

Last week, Pentagon officials said not all the weaponry President Joe Biden had promised to Ukraine in mid-March, including the S-300, had been delivered yet.

Celeste Wallander, assistant secretary of defence for international security affairs, told a congressional hearing: “We have focused on getting countries that hold Soviet legacy systems including S-300 systems, that have spare parts, missiles, different parts of that S-300 system, who are willing to send that to Ukraine.”

She added that the US was in discussions with Slovakia, which has sought to replace its S-300s with more modern US-made Patriot missile batteries.

In March, Slovakia said it would provide the defence system to Ukraine only on the condition that it receive a substitute to avoid a NATO security gap.

Heger said Slovakia was giving the S-300s “to Ukraine and its innocent citizens, believing that this system will help save the lives of as many innocent Ukrainians as possible.”



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Will Labor govt in Australia put climate change at the forefront? | Climate Crisis

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Video Duration 25 minutes 00 seconds

From: Inside Story

Australia’s conservative coalition has been voted out of office after nearly a decade in power.

Australia has seen unprecedented bushfires and flooding in recent years.

Extreme weather has brought climate change to the top of the agenda for voters.

And Greens and climate-focused independents made big gains in Saturday’s election, at the expense of the conservative coalition.

Australia is a major exporter of fossil fuels, and the outgoing government often objected to plans to reduce greenhouse emissions.

Neighbouring Pacific Islands say Australia is blocking climate action, even as their territories are under threat of sinking.

Uneasy ties with the island nations are spilling into security, as concerns mount in Australia and the United States about China’s recent deal with the Solomon Islands.

How will Australia’s new government tackle China’s growing influence in the Pacific?

Presenter: Hashem Ahelbarra

Guests:

Carlyle Thayer – Emeritus professor at the University of New South Wales and director of Thayer Consultancy

Anna Skarbek – CEO of Climateworks Centre

Gregory Melleuish – Professor of history and politics at the University of Wollongong



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Pakistan: Ousted PM Imran Khan calls for march on Islamabad | Politics News

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Khan says he will never accept the new government and calls on his supporters to rally peacefully on Wednesday.

Pakistan’s defiant former Prime Minister Imran Khan has called on his supporters to march peacefully on Islamabad on May 25th, to press for fresh elections.

Khan, who served as prime minister for more than three and a half years, was ousted in a no-confidence vote in parliament by an alliance of all major political parties.

Since his removal, Khan has addressed rallies in several cities as he mobilises for a grand show of strength in the capital on Wednesday.

“We will never accept [the new government] – no matter how long we have to remain in Islamabad, we will remain there,” Khan told reporters in the northwestern city of Peshawar on Sunday.

Khan’s call came after a marathon session of talks with leaders from his Tehreek-e-Insaf party in Peshawar. He describes the march as a move to protect the country’s sovereignty, as he alleges that the vote that removed him was a United States-organised plot.

In his speech, Khan urged authorities not to oppose the march, which will gain strength outside of Islamabad before heading to the city centre.

Once in the city, the former prime minister said, his supporters will remain until parliament is dissolved and new elections are called. Thousands have come to his rallies in the past.

Khan claims the US wanted him removed from office because of his foreign policy choices in favour of Russia and China, and because of a visit he made on February 24 to Moscow, where he held talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin – as Russian tanks rolled into Ukraine. He has also said the US dislikes his strident criticism of Washington’s “war on terror“.

The US Department of State has denied any involvement in Pakistan’s internal politics.

Khan came to power in 2018 promising to eradicate corruption and revive Pakistan’s economy, but he failed to deliver on most of his pledges.

He has nonetheless been able to draw huge crowds at rallies since his removal from office.



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Israel sentences Palestinian prison escapees to five more years | Prison News

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Six Palestinians escaped from a high-security prison last year by digging a tunnel, sparking a massive manhunt.

An Israeli court has sentenced six Palestinian prison escapees to five years in prison for tunneling out of their cell last year and escaping from a high-security facility in what became Israel’s biggest prison break in decades.

The daring jailbreak sparked a massive manhunt in Israel’s north and the occupied West Bank as Israeli forces tried to recapture the men, who were members of Palestinian armed groups.

The bold escape dominated newscasts, sparked heavy criticism of Israel’s prison service, and prompted the Israeli government to launch an inquiry.

The escapees were recaptured days later.

A judge ruled on Sunday that the sentencing of the six took into account the fact that the prison break had paralysed Israel for days, the financial costs involved in recapturing the escapees, and the harm to public security caused by prisoners, under life sentence and convicted of serious crimes, escaping.

The five-year sentences will be added to the prison terms the prisoners are already serving.

Five other inmates charged with assisting the men escape were sentenced to an additional four years in jail.

According to various reports, the escapees used kitchen utensils to dig a tunnel through the floor of their shared cell undetected over several months. They then managed to slip past a sleeping prison guard after emerging through a hole outside the prison facility.israpri

An artist works on a mural painting glorifying six Palestinian prisoners who escaped from Israel's Gilboa prison in September 2021 with the help of the humble spoon [Mahmud Hams/AFP]
An artist works on a mural painting glorifying six Palestinian prisoners who escaped from Israel’s Gilboa prison in September 2021 with the help of the humble spoon [Mahmud Hams/AFP]

Israel considers all six escapees to be “terrorists”. Palestinians consider many prisoners held by Israel to be heroes of their national cause, and many on social media celebrated their breakout and held demonstrations in support of the escaped prisoners.

Five of the escapees are from the Islamic Jihad armed group, with four of them serving life sentences. The sixth escapee, Zakaria Zubeidi, is a member of the secular Fatah group of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Zubeidi was a leader during the second Palestinian uprising in the early 2000s and well known in Israel both for his activities and his love for giving media interviews.



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