Afghanistan: Update. Taliban officials announced that their Khaibar military offensive began with rocket attacks against the Kabul airport and Bagram airfield. The rockets injured no one and did little damage.
A mix of attacks has been reported in five provinces, including Nangarhar, Logar, Ghazni, Parwan and Kabul. News services reported 21 people killed.
Comment: With the drawdown of Western forces, incident and attack reporting is slower and less accurate. In the past two months, attacks and incidents have slowly increased, but ranged between 20 and 30 a day, with few killed or wounded. Most occurred in the Pashtun provinces of the south, supplemented by a handful of attacks in three or four Pashtun enclaves in northern Afghanistan. That information provides a baseline for following and gauging the severity of the new Taliban offensive.
Ukraine: Update. Official denunciations dominated reporting about Ukraine on the day after the referenda in Donetsk and Luhansk. Kyiv regime interim President Oleksandr Turchynov said that the referenda in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions are not legally valid and promised that their organizers will be prosecuted.
A few pro-Russia leaders in the east called for Russia to absorb them. Russia called for more talks. The German Foreign Minister is trying to arrange them.
Comment: Leaders in Luhansk answered an important question today: they announced that Luhansk would not participate in the 25 May presidential election in Ukraine. Donetsk has not made that announcement, but presumably it also will decline to participate.
The refusals make 25 May a flashpoint. The Kyiv regime must try to hold elections in the eastern oblasts to avoid acknowledging de facto that the two are beyond its control. However, eastern Ukrainians must resist to show they are independent. Efforts by the Kyiv regime to hold elections in eastern Ukraine almost certainly will lead to armed clashes.
France-Russia: The French government announced that it will go ahead with its $1.6 billion contract to supply Russia with two Mistral-class helicopter carrier/amphibious assault ships because cancelling the deal would harm Paris more than Moscow.
News analyst reported that the United States has been pressing France to cancel the contract, as part of tougher sanctions against Russia. France refused.
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