Black Sea tensions
Russia has accused Britain and the United States of trying to incite conflict in the Black Sea amid rising tensions in the region. Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Washington and London are sowing strife by refusing to accept that Crimea is part of Russia. He said Moscow will defend its borders by all means, including with its military. Tensions run high following the presence of a British destroyer off the coast of the Crimean peninsula on Wednesday. Russia said its forces fired warning shots and dropped bombs to deter the vessel, accusing it of entering Russian territorial waters. The UK, however, said the ship was conducting what it called innocent passage through Ukrainian territorial waters. It said the mission was in accordance with international law.
The United Nations says Israel is flagrantly violating international law by expanding settlements in the occupied West Bank and east Jerusalem al-Quds. The UN called for an immediate cessation to the advancement of all settlement activity. The call was made at a session on the implementation of a 2016 Security Council resolution that declared settlements as having no legal validity. During the meeting, UN officials warned that Israeli settlements are a major obstacle to a solution to the decades-long conflict in the occupied territories. The UN called on Israel to end the demolition of Palestinian homes and other property as well as the displacement of Palestinians. On Thursday, Israel advanced plans for 31 new settlement construction projects in the occupied West Bank.
Africa Covid-19 fears
Africa is facing a resurgence of Covid-19. Health officials warn that the third wave of the disease will be far more alarming than previous ones. The World Health Organization says the disease is resurging at an alarming rate in at least a dozen African countries. The organization says cases are expected to hit a record peak in around three weeks. Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also described the third wave as extremely brutal and very devastating. The surge is partly blamed on a slow vaccination drive and the spread of more transmissible virus variants. So far, 14 African countries have confirmed cases of the Delta variant that was first detected in India.