While the Kremlin insists the war in Ukraine is going “according to plan”, Russian President Vladimir Putin wastes no time to focus on other issues: in the midst of the conflict, the Russian president demanded on Monday that Israel own the Alexander Church Nevsky in the Old City of Jerusalem for Russia.
In a letter addressed to Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Benet, Putin argues that it is a pending promise from his predecessor, Benjamin Netanyahu. The letter also comes at a time when Russia has expressed its discomfort with Israel’s position in the war in Ukraine, which went from the ambiguity of the first weeks to condemning the massacre of civilians in Bucha and supporting its suspension. of the UN Human Rights Council.
Russia controls the de facto ownership of that church since 1890, since under the Ottoman Empire it was recognized that it belonged to the “glorious Russian kingdom”, and in 2017 Moscow claimed ownership of the place for the first time before the Israeli Justice based on that statement. , although the Russian kingdom no longer exists.
In 2020, Netanyahu decided that the property dispute could not be resolved in court as it was a “sacred place”and ordered the Russian government to be registered as the owner of the Alexander Nevsky Church with the Israeli Land Registry Commissioner.
At first, Israel maintained a position of lax condemnation regarding the Russian invasion of Ukraine, so as not to harm the geostrategic alliance it maintains with Russia in Syria, where it allows it to attack pro-Iranian targets, although in recent weeks it has raised its tone, in partly due to pressure from the United States.
However, the new coalition government led by Naftali Benet returned the ruling to the Supreme Court, which suspended the final recognition of the Russian property, and established a committee that should determine the ownership of the place.
British prisoners of war
On the other hand, this Monday two British fighters captured in Ukraine by Russian forces have appeared on Russian state television and asked to be exchanged for a pro-Russian politician who is being held by the Ukrainian authorities. It was unclear how freely the two men, Shaun Pinner and Aiden Aslin, were able to speak. Both spoke after being egged on by an unidentified man.
Both asked British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to help them return home in exchange for Ukraine releasing pro-Russian politician Viktor Medvedchuk, a personal friend of Putin.
The Islamic State gets in the way
The Islamic State jihadist group called on its members and followers this Sunday to carry out attacks in Europe taking advantage of the war in Ukraine, as part of a new campaign to avenge the death in February of its leader, Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Quraishi.
The group’s spokesman, Abu Umar al-Muhajir, issued a speech on the occasion of the Ramadan holiday in which he announced the start of the campaign, called ‘Invasion in Revenge by the Two Sheikhs’, referring to Abu Ibrahim al-Quraishi and his predecessor as spokesman, Abu Hamza.
Thus, he stressed that the conflict in Ukraine is “an opportunity on a silver platter” for the followers of the jihadist group to carry out attacks in Europe. “There are embers of war there and the Crusaders are there,” the Islamic State said.
They propose that the Spanish Police investigate war crimes
The Spanish Police Central (CEP) has proposed that specialists from the Scientific Police travel to Ukraine to investigate possible crimes of war crimes or genocide by Russia. The measure is justified by the experience in this type of investigation in other previous conflicts such as those in Rwanda or Kosovo in the 1990s.