Kuwait, Iran Discuss Maritime Border Demarcation

Kuwait’s Deputy Foreign Minister Mansour Al-Otaibi and his Iranian counterpart Dr. Ali Bagheri in Tehran on Monday (KUNA)
Kuwait’s Deputy Foreign Minister Mansour Al-Otaibi and his Iranian counterpart Dr. Ali Bagheri in Tehran on Monday (KUNA)
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Kuwait, Iran Discuss Maritime Border Demarcation

Kuwait’s Deputy Foreign Minister Mansour Al-Otaibi and his Iranian counterpart Dr. Ali Bagheri in Tehran on Monday (KUNA)
Kuwait’s Deputy Foreign Minister Mansour Al-Otaibi and his Iranian counterpart Dr. Ali Bagheri in Tehran on Monday (KUNA)

Kuwaiti and Iranian officials held joint talks early this week in the Iranian capital, Tehran, regarding the demarcation of their maritime borders.

The official Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) said the discussions came during a meeting of the legal committee of the two countries.

Moreover, Kuwait’s Deputy Foreign Minister Mansour Al-Otaibi, on an official visit to Tehran, held talks on Monday with his Iranian counterpart Dr. Ali Bagheri.

KUNA said the meeting tackled the friendly relations and ways to enhance cooperation between the two countries in various fields.

On Monday, the joint Kuwaiti-Iranian legal committee met in Tehran. Al-Otaib led the Kuwaiti side and Najafi led the Iranian side.

The meeting focused on the demarcation of the maritime boundaries between the two countries.

Both sides stressed the need to settle the matter in consistency with the rules of international law.



G7 Pledges Swift Aid for Ukraine, Seeks to Calm Middle East

 Foreign Ministers attend an Indo-Pacific meeting on the sidelines of the G7 Foreign Ministers meeting on Capri Island, Italy, Friday, April 19, 2024. (AP)
Foreign Ministers attend an Indo-Pacific meeting on the sidelines of the G7 Foreign Ministers meeting on Capri Island, Italy, Friday, April 19, 2024. (AP)
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G7 Pledges Swift Aid for Ukraine, Seeks to Calm Middle East

 Foreign Ministers attend an Indo-Pacific meeting on the sidelines of the G7 Foreign Ministers meeting on Capri Island, Italy, Friday, April 19, 2024. (AP)
Foreign Ministers attend an Indo-Pacific meeting on the sidelines of the G7 Foreign Ministers meeting on Capri Island, Italy, Friday, April 19, 2024. (AP)

Group of Seven (G7) major powers pledged on Friday to bolster Ukraine's air defenses to counter increasingly deadly Russian attacks and told China to stop supporting Moscow's military industry if it wanted good relations with the West.

Foreign ministers from the G7, comprising the United States, Italy, Canada, France, Germany, Japan and Britain, wrapped up three days of talks on the island of Capri that were dominated by wars in Ukraine and the Middle East.

They acknowledged they had to do more to help Ukraine, which is struggling to hold off stronger Russian forces, and urged de-escalation in the Middle East, where the deep enmity between Israel and Iran risks triggering a wider regional conflict.

But the ministers also said the multitude of global crises was pulling leading democracies closer together.

"We emerge from this meeting of the foreign ministers more united than ever," said US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Alarmed by growing Russian momentum on the battlefield, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro

Kuleba came to Capri in person to tell G7 allies that they needed to send more aid, saying wars in his home country and the Middle East were linked.

Iran supplies Russia with the same type of armed drones that were used last week as part of its large-scale attack on Israel.

"The narrative that the West has to choose between supporting Israel or Ukraine is wrong because these are two theaters of the same war," Kuleba told reporters.

The G7 said in a statement it would increase security assistance for Kyiv, specifically bolstering "Ukraine's air defense capabilities to save lives and protect critical infrastructure".

Two years after launching its invasion, Russia has been targeting key Ukrainian energy infrastructure, killing hundreds of civilians in its strikes. Russia says the energy system is a legitimate target and denies targeting civilians.

CHINA

Blinken said that, while North Korea and Iran were the main suppliers of weapons to Russia, China was the "primary contributor" to Moscow's defense industry.

"If China purports on the one hand to want good relations with Europe and other countries, it can't, on the other hand, be fueling what is the biggest threat to European security since the end of the Cold War," he said.

Echoing that sentiment, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock told reporters that Berlin could not tolerate seeing China forging closer ties with Russia.

"If China openly pursues an ever closer partnership with Russia, which is waging an illegal war against Ukraine, ... we cannot accept this," she said at the end of the Capri meeting.

Military aid to Kyiv has slowed in recent months, with European partners apparently running low on ammunition and vital US funding blocked by Republicans in Congress.

The US House of Representatives might, however, finally get to vote on a $61 billion package for Kyiv this weekend.

Another key funding issue under review is how to use profits from some $300 billion of sovereign Russian assets held in the West to help Ukraine, as EU member states hesitate over concerns about the legality of such a move.

Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani said there was a legal basis for using the interest from the funds, but experts were now looking to see if the capital itself could be used.

A decision is expected to be taken at a summit of G7 leaders in the Italian region of Puglia in June.

DE-ESCALATION

The foreign ministers' summit ended shortly after what sources described as an Israeli attack on Iran in retaliation for a recent Iranian drone and missile assault on Israel.

The G7 ministers said they would work to prevent conflict between Israel and Iran spiraling out of control, while simultaneously seeking to end the war in Gaza.

"The political objective of the G7 is de-escalation. We have worked and continue to work to be active players in securing de-escalation throughout the Middle East," Tajani said.

Italy has seen a number of pro-Palestinian protests in recent months, some of which have turned violent.

By holding the foreign minister's meeting on a tiny Mediterranean island, Italian authorities were able to prevent any protesters from disturbing the discussions.

However, skirmishes broke out on Friday between police and demonstrators in the southern city of Naples, which lies across the bay from Capri, with crowds chanting "Free Gaza" and holding up a banner that read: "Stop the Genocide".


NATO Allies Pledge Additional Air Defense Systems for Kyiv, Stoltenberg Says

 Secretary General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg speaks during a press conference at the end of a virtual meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Council (NUC) at the NATO headquarters in Brussels, on April 19, 2024. (AFP)
Secretary General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg speaks during a press conference at the end of a virtual meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Council (NUC) at the NATO headquarters in Brussels, on April 19, 2024. (AFP)
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NATO Allies Pledge Additional Air Defense Systems for Kyiv, Stoltenberg Says

 Secretary General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg speaks during a press conference at the end of a virtual meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Council (NUC) at the NATO headquarters in Brussels, on April 19, 2024. (AFP)
Secretary General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg speaks during a press conference at the end of a virtual meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Council (NUC) at the NATO headquarters in Brussels, on April 19, 2024. (AFP)

NATO allies on Friday agreed to provide Kyiv with additional air defense systems, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said after a special meeting of allied defense ministers with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

"In addition to Patriots, there are other weapons that allies can provide, including (the French system) SAMP/T, and many others, who do not have available systems, have pledged to provide financial support to purchase them for Ukraine," Stoltenberg told reporters in Brussels.

Zelenskiy asked for the meeting, which was held online, as his country is facing a shortage of ammunition, with vital funding from the US blocked by Republicans in Congress for months and the EU failing to deliver munitions on time.

Stoltenberg didn't go into detail how many new air defense systems Ukraine will receive, but said he expected fresh announcements in the coming days.

"Help is on its way. And I expect more help and support to be announced in the very near future," he told reporters.

Last week, Germany pledged to supply Kyiv with a third Patriot battery out of its military stocks.

The United States has the highest number of Patriot systems in its inventories. In Europe, nations such as Spain and Greece own Patriot batteries.


Ukraine, Israel Aid Back on Track as House Pushes toward Weekend Votes

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-LA) walks towards the House Chamber on Capitol Hill on April 19, 2024 in Washington, DC. (Getty Images via AFP)
Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-LA) walks towards the House Chamber on Capitol Hill on April 19, 2024 in Washington, DC. (Getty Images via AFP)
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Ukraine, Israel Aid Back on Track as House Pushes toward Weekend Votes

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-LA) walks towards the House Chamber on Capitol Hill on April 19, 2024 in Washington, DC. (Getty Images via AFP)
Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-LA) walks towards the House Chamber on Capitol Hill on April 19, 2024 in Washington, DC. (Getty Images via AFP)

With rare bipartisan momentum, the House pushed ahead Friday on a foreign aid package of $95 billion for Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan and humanitarian support as a coalition of lawmakers helped it clear a procedural hurdle to reach final votes this weekend. Friday’s vote produced a seldom-seen outcome in the typically hyper-partisan House, with Democrats helping Republican Speaker Mike Johnson’s plan advance 316-94. Final House approval could come this weekend, when the package would be sent to the Senate.

It was a victory for the strategy Speaker Mike Johnson set in motion this week after he agonized for two months over the legislation. Still, Johnson has had to spend the past 24 hours making the rounds on conservative media working to salvage support for the wartime funding, particularly for Ukraine as it faces a critical moment battling Russia, but also for his own job as the restless right flank threatens to oust him over the effort.

"There's a lot of misinformation about what we're doing here and why," Johnson told the conservative host of The Mark Levin Show.

"Ukrainians desperately need lethal aid right now. ... We cannot allow Vladimir Putin to roll through another country and take it," he said about the Russian president's invasion of Ukraine. "These are very serious matters with global implications."

After months of delay, the House worked slowly but deliberately once Johnson made up his mind this week to plough ahead. President Joe Biden sent a swift endorsement of the speaker's plan and, in a rare moment, Donald Trump, the Republican presumed presidential nominee who opposes most overseas aid for Ukraine, has not derailed the speaker's work.

"The world is watching what the Congress does," the White House said in a statement. "Passing this legislation would send a powerful message about the strength of American leadership at a pivotal moment."

In an extremely rare step, the members of the House Rules Committee joined forces late Thursday in a near midnight vote, the four Democrats giving their support on a procedural step, to push past the Republican majority's three hardline holdouts to send the package to the House floor for debate on a 9-3 vote. It was a moment unseen in recent House memory.

Johnson will need to rely on Democrats again Friday to clear the next procedural vote and turn back amendments Republicans have offered that could kill the package. One from hardline Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene would reduce spending for Ukraine to zero.

Greene has filed the "motion to vacate" the speaker from office, and has drawn at least one other Republican, Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky as a co-sponsor. It could launch a bid to evict Johnson from the speaker's office, should she call it up for a vote, much the way Republicans booted Kevin McCarthy from the position last fall.

With one of the most narrow House majorities in modern times, Johnson can only afford to lose a single vote or two from his Republican ranks to pass any bill. That dynamic has thrust him into the arms of Democrats as he searches for votes to pass the package.

Without his Republican majority fully behind him, Johnson cannot shape the package as the ultra-conservatives demand lest he lose Democratic backing. It has forced him to leave behind tough security measures to clamp down on migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border and other priorities.

At best, Johnson has been able to carve up a Senate-passed version of the bill into separate parts, as is the preference among House Republicans, and the final votes will be on distinct measures — for Ukraine, Israel and Indo-Pacific allies.

The package would also include a fourth provision that includes many Republican priorities that Democrats endorse, or at least are willing to accept. Those include proposals that allow the US to seize frozen Russian central bank assets to rebuild Ukraine; impose sanctions on Iran, Russia, China and criminal organizations that traffic fentanyl, and potentially ban the video app TikTok if its China-based owner doesn’t sell its stake within a year.

Passing each bill, in votes expected Saturday, will require Johnson to form complicated bipartisan coalitions on each, with Democrats for example ensuring Ukraine aid is approved, but some left-leaning progressives refusing to back military aid for Israel over the destruction of Gaza.

The components would then be automatically stitched back together into a single package sent to the Senate where hardliners there are also planning procedural moves to stall final approval.


Israel Gave US Last-Minute Warning About Drone Attack on Iran, Italian FM Says at G7 

An Iranian woman walks past an anti-Israel banner with a picture of Iranian missiles on a street in Tehran, Iran April 19, 2024. Majid Asgaripour/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via Reuters
An Iranian woman walks past an anti-Israel banner with a picture of Iranian missiles on a street in Tehran, Iran April 19, 2024. Majid Asgaripour/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via Reuters
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Israel Gave US Last-Minute Warning About Drone Attack on Iran, Italian FM Says at G7 

An Iranian woman walks past an anti-Israel banner with a picture of Iranian missiles on a street in Tehran, Iran April 19, 2024. Majid Asgaripour/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via Reuters
An Iranian woman walks past an anti-Israel banner with a picture of Iranian missiles on a street in Tehran, Iran April 19, 2024. Majid Asgaripour/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via Reuters

The United States told the Group of Seven foreign ministers on Friday that it received “last minute” information from Israel about a drone action in Iran, Italy’s foreign minister said.

Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani, who chaired the meeting of ministers of industrialized countries, said the United States provided the information at a Friday morning session that was changed at the last minute to address the suspected attack.

Tajani said the US informed the G7 ministers that it had been “informed at the last minute” by Israel about the drones. “But there was no sharing of the attack by the US. It was a mere information.”

Early Friday, Iran fired air defenses at a major air base and a nuclear site near the central city of Isfahan after spotting drones. They were suspected to be part of an Israeli attack in retaliation for Tehran’s unprecedented drone-and-missile assault on the country last weekend.

The foreign ministers condemned Iran’s recent attacks against Israel, writing that “the G7 supports the security of Israel.”

In a closing communique, the G7 ministers warned that they are prepared to impose new sanctions on Iran, and called for both sides to avoid escalating the conflict.

“The G7 worked and will work for a de-escalation,” Tajani said in a closing press conference. He said that would include a de-escalation of tensions, followed by a ceasefire, liberation of hostages and aid to the Palestinian people.


Ukraine’s Zelenskiy Visits Frontline Donetsk Region 

Ukrainian servicemen with the 28th Separate Mechanized Brigade fire a mortar at Russian forces on the front line near the city of Bakhmut in Ukraine’s Donetsk region, on March 3, 2024. (AP)
Ukrainian servicemen with the 28th Separate Mechanized Brigade fire a mortar at Russian forces on the front line near the city of Bakhmut in Ukraine’s Donetsk region, on March 3, 2024. (AP)
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Ukraine’s Zelenskiy Visits Frontline Donetsk Region 

Ukrainian servicemen with the 28th Separate Mechanized Brigade fire a mortar at Russian forces on the front line near the city of Bakhmut in Ukraine’s Donetsk region, on March 3, 2024. (AP)
Ukrainian servicemen with the 28th Separate Mechanized Brigade fire a mortar at Russian forces on the front line near the city of Bakhmut in Ukraine’s Donetsk region, on March 3, 2024. (AP)

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Friday visited the frontline Donetsk region in Ukraine's east and held a meeting on the defense situation.

He said on X that he also visited a paratroopers' medical platoon and examined the construction of fortifications: "Every effort must be made in this regard."

Twenty-five months into Moscow's full-scale invasion, Ukraine is on the back foot, and Russian troops are inching forward.

Kyiv scaled up its efforts to build effective defense lines as its officials warned about Russian troops preparing a possible offensive later this spring or in summer.

Video from the trip shared by Zelenskiy showed an entrance sign to the town of Sloviansk, about 30 km from the target of a recently intensified Russian advance - Chasiv Yar.

Ukraine's army chief said Moscow troops forces aimed to capture the town by May aiming to set the stage further advance in the region. Kyiv's brigades were holding back the assaults.


Taiwan Says New Chinese Air Routes Threaten Taiwanese Islands’ Flight Safety 

Construction of Xiang'an International Airport in China's Xiamen as seen from Kinmen, Taiwan December 20, 2023. (Reuters)
Construction of Xiang'an International Airport in China's Xiamen as seen from Kinmen, Taiwan December 20, 2023. (Reuters)
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Taiwan Says New Chinese Air Routes Threaten Taiwanese Islands’ Flight Safety 

Construction of Xiang'an International Airport in China's Xiamen as seen from Kinmen, Taiwan December 20, 2023. (Reuters)
Construction of Xiang'an International Airport in China's Xiamen as seen from Kinmen, Taiwan December 20, 2023. (Reuters)

Taiwan said on Friday China's decision to open new air routes that run perilously close to two Taiwanese-controlled islands was a flight safety risk taken without consultation, adding it will demand any aircraft using them be asked to turn around.

Taiwan's government expressed anger in January after China "unilaterally" changed a flight path called M503 close to the sensitive median line in the Taiwan Strait. China claims democratically-governed Taiwan as its own territory.

The new Chinese routes to China's Xiamen and Fuzhou cities, called W123 and W122 respectively, connect to the M503 flight route, and run alongside existing routes to the islands of Kinmen and Matsu, which have regular flights to and from Taiwan.

China had said in January it was opening routes from west to east - in other words, in the direction of Taiwan - on the two flight paths from Xiamen and Fuzhou, but had not until now announced when they would go into operation.

China's civil aviation regulator said in its brief statement on Friday that those routes were now in operation, adding that from May 16 it would "further optimize" airspace around Fuzhou airport.

It did not elaborate, but that is four days before Taiwan President-elect Lai Ching-te is inaugurated, a man Beijing believes is a dangerous separatist. Lai has repeatedly offered talks with China but has been rebuffed.

China's regulator added that the changes to the flight paths will help meet the "development needs" of flights along the Chinese coast, ensure flight safety, enhance the ability to respond to thunderstorms and improve normal flight operations.

Taiwan's Civil Aviation Administration said the measure seriously impacted aviation safety in Taiwanese airspace, calling it a unilateral move taken without consultation.

At its nearest point, close to Kinmen, there is only a 1.1 nautical mile distance between the Chinese and Taiwanese flight paths, it said.

"The airspace between the two sides is very small, and there are certain risks," it added.

CONTROLLED AIR SPACE

Taiwanese air traffic controllers will "strongly request" their Chinese counterparts guide any aircraft away when an aircraft approaches Taiwan's air space, it said.

Chinese aircraft are not permitted by Taiwan to fly in the airspace Taipei controls around Kinmen and Matsu.

The strait's median line had for years served as an unofficial demarcation between Taiwan and China and was not crossed by combat aircraft from either side.

But China says it does not recognize the line's existence and Chinese warplanes now regularly fly over it as Beijing seeks to pressure Taipei to accept its sovereignty claims.

Flights to and from Taiwan and China's Xiamen and Fuzhou take a circuitous route skirting the median line rather than flying directly across the strait. Domestic Taiwanese flights to Kinmen and Matsu fly directly across the strait.

Taiwan has complained about the M503 route before, in 2018, when it said China opened the northbound part of it without first informing Taipei in contravention of a 2015 deal to first discuss such flight paths.

The democratically elected government of Taiwan rejects China's sovereignty claims and says only the island's people can decide their future.


China Says It Opposes Any Action Escalating Tensions in Middle East 

Military personnel stand guard at a nuclear facility in the Zardanjan area of Isfahan, Iran, April 19, 2024, in this screengrab taken from video. WANA (West Asia News Agency) via Reuters
Military personnel stand guard at a nuclear facility in the Zardanjan area of Isfahan, Iran, April 19, 2024, in this screengrab taken from video. WANA (West Asia News Agency) via Reuters
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China Says It Opposes Any Action Escalating Tensions in Middle East 

Military personnel stand guard at a nuclear facility in the Zardanjan area of Isfahan, Iran, April 19, 2024, in this screengrab taken from video. WANA (West Asia News Agency) via Reuters
Military personnel stand guard at a nuclear facility in the Zardanjan area of Isfahan, Iran, April 19, 2024, in this screengrab taken from video. WANA (West Asia News Agency) via Reuters

China opposes any action escalating tensions in the Middle East after the Israeli attack on Iran, a spokesperson for the Chinese foreign ministry said on Friday.

Several countries had already warned that a retaliatory attack by Israel against recent Iranian strikes could risk dragging the entire region into a wider regional war.

Explosions echoed over an Iranian city on Friday in what sources described as an Israeli attack, but Tehran played down the incident and indicated it had no plans for retaliation - a response that appeared gauged towards averting region-wide war.

The limited scale of the attack and Iran's muted response both appeared to signal a successful effort by diplomats who have been working round the clock to avert all-out war since an Iranian drone and missile attack on Israel last Saturday.

Iranian media and officials described a small number of explosions, which they said resulted from Iran's air defenses hitting three drones over the city of Isfahan. Notably, they referred to the incident as an attack by "infiltrators", rather than by Israel, obviating the need for retaliation.

An Iranian official told Reuters there were no plans to respond against Israel for the incident.


Ambrey: Ships Transiting the Gulf, Western Indian Ocean Should Stay Alert 

An Iranian drone is seen during the National Army Day parade ceremony in Tehran, Iran, April 17, 2024. Majid Asgaripour/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via (Reuters
An Iranian drone is seen during the National Army Day parade ceremony in Tehran, Iran, April 17, 2024. Majid Asgaripour/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via (Reuters
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Ambrey: Ships Transiting the Gulf, Western Indian Ocean Should Stay Alert 

An Iranian drone is seen during the National Army Day parade ceremony in Tehran, Iran, April 17, 2024. Majid Asgaripour/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via (Reuters
An Iranian drone is seen during the National Army Day parade ceremony in Tehran, Iran, April 17, 2024. Majid Asgaripour/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via (Reuters

British security firm Ambrey said on Friday merchant vessels transiting the Gulf and Western Indian Ocean were advised to stay alert in case of increased uncrewed aerial vehicle (UAV) activity in the region.

Ambrey said it had received information that indicated an "Israeli military strike" was conducted on Isfahan, Iran.

Earlier, the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) agency said it had seen similar reports but that there were no indications commercial maritime vessels were the intended target of the strike.

Oil prices jumped as high as $3 a barrel on Friday in reaction to reports of the strike, sparking concerns that Middle East oil supply could be disrupted. Brent crude gave up some of those gains, trading up 1.85% at $88.74 at 0551 GMT after reaching a high of $90.75.

Israel has attacked Iran, three people familiar with the matter said. Iranian state media reported early on Friday that its forces had destroyed drones, days after Iran launched a retaliatory drone strike on Israel.

Iran's Fars news agency reported three explosions were heard near an army base in the central city of Isfahan. An Iranian official told Reuters there was no missile attack and the explosions were the result of the activation of Iran's air defense systems.


Ukraine Says Russian Strikes on Dnipropetrovsk Region Kill at Least 8 

A handout photo made available by the State Emergency Service shows Ukrainian rescuers working at the site of a rocket attack on a residential building in the city of Dnipro, Dnipropetrovsk region, southeastern Ukraine, 19 April 2024, amid the Russian invasion. (EPA/State Emergency Service Handout Handout)
A handout photo made available by the State Emergency Service shows Ukrainian rescuers working at the site of a rocket attack on a residential building in the city of Dnipro, Dnipropetrovsk region, southeastern Ukraine, 19 April 2024, amid the Russian invasion. (EPA/State Emergency Service Handout Handout)
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Ukraine Says Russian Strikes on Dnipropetrovsk Region Kill at Least 8 

A handout photo made available by the State Emergency Service shows Ukrainian rescuers working at the site of a rocket attack on a residential building in the city of Dnipro, Dnipropetrovsk region, southeastern Ukraine, 19 April 2024, amid the Russian invasion. (EPA/State Emergency Service Handout Handout)
A handout photo made available by the State Emergency Service shows Ukrainian rescuers working at the site of a rocket attack on a residential building in the city of Dnipro, Dnipropetrovsk region, southeastern Ukraine, 19 April 2024, amid the Russian invasion. (EPA/State Emergency Service Handout Handout)

A major Russian missile attack on the central Dnipropetrovsk region killed at least eight people, injured 21 and damaged infrastructure facilities, local officials reported on Friday morning.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said the attack damaged multiple storeys of a residential building and a train station in the regional capital, Dnipro, as he called for additional air defenses.

"Russia must be held accountable for its terror, and every missile, every Shahed must be shot down," Zelenskiy said. "The world can guarantee this, and our partners have the necessary capabilities."

State-run Ukrainian railways company Ukrzaliznytsia said Russia's attack deliberately targeted its infrastructure in the region, injuring its workers. The company closed its station in Dnipro and rerouted trains set to pass through the city.

Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko said at least eight people died in the attack, two in Dnipro and six in Synelnykivskyi district of the region, where more than a dozen homes were damaged.


France, EU Call for De-Escalation After Reports of Israeli Attack on Iran 

Israel's military displays what they say is an Iranian ballistic missile which they retrieved from the Dead Sea after Iran launched drones and missiles towards Israel, at Julis military base, in southern Israel April 16, 2024. (Reuters)
Israel's military displays what they say is an Iranian ballistic missile which they retrieved from the Dead Sea after Iran launched drones and missiles towards Israel, at Julis military base, in southern Israel April 16, 2024. (Reuters)
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France, EU Call for De-Escalation After Reports of Israeli Attack on Iran 

Israel's military displays what they say is an Iranian ballistic missile which they retrieved from the Dead Sea after Iran launched drones and missiles towards Israel, at Julis military base, in southern Israel April 16, 2024. (Reuters)
Israel's military displays what they say is an Iranian ballistic missile which they retrieved from the Dead Sea after Iran launched drones and missiles towards Israel, at Julis military base, in southern Israel April 16, 2024. (Reuters)

France is calling for de-escalation in the Middle East crisis, Deputy French Foreign Minister Jean-Noel Barrot said on Friday, responding to reports that Israel launched an air attack on Iranian soil earlier that day.  

"All I can say is that France's position is to call on all actors for de-escalation and restraint," Barrot told Sud Radio. 

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen also called on Iran, Israel and their allies to refrain from escalation in the Middle East. 

"It is absolutely necessary that the region remains stable and that all sides restrain from further action," von der Leyen said alongside Finnish Prime Minister Petteri Orpo in Lappeenranta, Finland, about 25 km (15 miles) from the Russian border.