Deadly attacks on Dagestan synagogues and churches

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Attacks have been reported in churches, synagogues and a police traffic stop in the cities of Derbent and Makhachkala, which are about 120km (75 miles) apart….reports Asian Lite News

As many as nine people have been killed and 25 sustained injuries in a coordinated attacks by gunmen in Dagestan, Russia’s southernmost province.The Investigative Directorate of the Investigative Committee of Russia for the Republic of Dagestan said it had initiated a “terror investigation” into the attacks under the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, CNN reported.

Attacks have been reported in churches, synagogues and a police traffic stop in the cities of Derbent and Makhachkala, which are about 120km (75 miles) apart.

In a statement, the investigation directorate said, “All the circumstances of the incident and the persons involved in the terrorist attacks are being established, and their actions will be given a legal assessment.”

Among the dead are seven law enforcement officers, a priest and a church security guard, according to local authorities. Four “militants” have also been killed, according to the Russian news agency TASS.

“According to the information I received, Father Nikolay was killed in the church in Derbent, they slit his throat. He was 66-years-old and very ill,” Dagestan Public Monitoring Commission Chairman Shamil Khadulaev said.

He also said a security guard at the church armed with only a pistol was shot.

One of the law enforcement officers killed was the head of the “Dagestan Lights” police department, Mavludin Khidirnabiev, according to the Dagestan Ministry of Internal Affairs telegram.

At a church in Makhachkala, 19 people locked themselves in for safety during a shootout that ended with at least one attacker being killed, TASS reported citing the Ministry of Internal Affairs for Dagestan.

Meanwhile, a synagogue in Derbent was set on fire with photos showing large flames and plumes of smoke billowing heavily out of a series of windows on at least one floor of the structure.

In what seems to be coordinated attacks that took place around the same time as those in Derbent, a synagogue and a police traffic post in Makhachkala also came under fire.

The head of the Dagestan Republic, Sergey Melikov, has released a statement on Telegram. In the statement, He said that “unknown persons made attempts to destabilize the social situation. Dagestan police officers stood in their way. According to preliminary information, there are victims among them.”

Melikov stated that the identities of the attackers are being established and an operational headquarters has been created and a plan for a counter-operation “Interception” is being carried out.

Calling on people to remain calm, Sergey Melikov said, “Panic and fear are what they were counting on in … They won’t get this from Dagestanis!”

The Israeli foreign ministry termed it “a combined attack” on the two synagogues. In the statement, the ministry said synagogues in Makhachkala and Derbent were attacked, the report said.

“The synagogue in Derbent was set on fire and burned to the ground. Local guards were killed. The synagogue in Makhachkala was attacked by gunfire, there are no further details,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.

The statement reads, “As far as is known, there were no worshipers in the synagogues at the time of the attack, and there are no known casualties from the Jewish community.” (ANI)

Lawmaker warns Moscow may change timing for use of N-weapons

Moscow may change the timing for use of its nuclear weapons if threats against Russia increase, the RIA state news agency cited Andrei Kartapolov, the head of the Russian lower house’s defence committee, as saying on Sunday.

The former general’s comments follow recent warnings by President Vladimir Putin that Moscow may change its nuclear doctrine, which lays out the conditions in which such weapons could be used.

“If we see that the challenges and threats increase, it means that we can correct something in (the doctrine) regarding the timing of the use of nuclear weapons and the decision to make this use,” the agency quoted Kartapolov as saying.

“But of course, it’s too early to talk about specifics now.”

Russia’s 2020 nuclear doctrine sets out when its president would consider using a nuclear weapon: broadly as a response to an attack using nuclear or other weapons of mass destruction, or conventional weapons “when the very existence of the state is put under threat”.

Putin has also said Russia could test a nuclear weapon, if necessary, though he saw no need to do so at the present time.

The heightened rhetoric on nuclear weapons comes as both Russian and U.S. diplomats say that Russia’s war in Ukraine, launched against its smaller neighbour in 2022, is in the most dangerous phase yet.

Servicemen march during the Victory Day military parade to mark the 77th anniversary of the victory in the Great Patriotic War on Red Square in Moscow, Russia, May 9, 2022. (Xinhua/Bai Xueqi/IANS)

Russia, Ukraine conduct overnight air strikes

Amid persistent tensions, Russia, and Ukraine carried out overnight air strikes, resulting in casualties on both sides, making the ongoing war more intense, reported Al Jazeera.

Russian missile assault on Kyiv overnight killed two people and damaged dozens of residential and other facilities, according to the head of the regional administration.

Ukraine’s air defence systems destroyed two of Russia’s three missiles over the Kyiv region, Ukrainian Air Force Commander Mykola Oleshchuk said on Telegram, according to Al Jazeera.

Ruslan Kravchenko, head of the Kyiv region’s administration, stated on Telegram that two people were injured by falling debris but did not require hospitalisation. He also stated that six multi-story residential buildings, more than 20 private houses, a gas station, and a pharmacy were damaged.

Meanwhile, the aerial drone facilities in Southern Russia’s Krasnodar were destroyed by Ukrainian forces. According to Al Jazeera, the satellite images confirmed the destruction of storage depots, and control points for drones in the region.

While on the other hand, Russia, too said that its people were killed in the Ukrainian attacks.

Three people, including two children, lost their lives in a Ukrainian missile attack on the Russian-controlled Sevastopol, Russian-installed officials said, adding that about 100 people suffered shrapnel wounds, as per Al Jazeera.

According to the Russian Defence Ministry, four of the five US-supplied ATACMS missiles used in the attack were shot down by air defence systems, while the ammo of a fifth detonated in mid-flight.

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