Russia’s coronavirus death toll tops 4,000

Officials have predicted a higher death toll for May than April, attributing this to the deaths of hospital patients who were admitted during the peak of the epidemic several weeks ago. (File/AFP)
Short Url
Updated 28 May 2020

Russia’s coronavirus death toll tops 4,000

  • Officials have predicted a higher death toll for May than April
  • President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday hailed a trend toward stabilization in the country’s virus situation

MOSCOW: Russia said Thursday that its death toll from the coronavirus has risen above 4,000 as the daily toll equalled a record set earlier this week.
The authorities said 4,142 people have now died in Russia from the virus, with 174 new deaths over the last 24 hours.
The number of new deaths equalled Russia’s highest daily death toll recorded Tuesday.
Officials have predicted a higher death toll for May than April, attributing this to the deaths of hospital patients who were admitted during the peak of the epidemic several weeks ago.
President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday hailed a trend toward stabilization in the country’s virus situation and Thursday’s number of new cases was below 9,000 for the fifth day running at 8,371.
In Moscow, the worst affected city, there were 2,054 new cases, the lowest number since April 23.
Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin on Wednesday announced new steps toward lifting lockdown from June 1 including reopening non-food shops and allowing people to go on walks with masks on.
Russia has the world’s third largest number of confirmed cases at 379,051, behind the United States and Brazil.


US accuses Hezbollah of storing explosive chemical in Europe

Updated 47 min 24 sec ago

US accuses Hezbollah of storing explosive chemical in Europe

  • Ammonium nitrate is a chemical compound commonly used as a fertilizer, but it can be used to make explosives
  • It can also be dangerous in storage, as demonstrated by the huge explosion last month in Beirut

WASHINGTON: Militant group Hezbollah has stored chemicals that can be used to make explosives in several European countries, a senior State Department official said Thursday as he appealed to countries in Europe and elsewhere to impose bans on the organization.
Hezbollah operatives have moved ammonium nitrate from Belgium to France, Greece, Italy, Spain and Switzerland in recent years and are suspected to still be storing the material throughout Europe, said Nathan Sales, the State Department coordinator for counter-terrorism.
Ammonium nitrate is a chemical compound commonly used as a fertilizer, but it can be used to make explosives. It can also be dangerous in storage, as demonstrated by the huge explosion last month in the Lebanese capital of Beirut.
Sales, without offering evidence, said the U.S. believes that Iran-backed Hezbollah has since 2012 transported ammonium nitrate around Europe in first aid kits with cold packs that contain the compound. The United States believes these supplies are still in place throughout Europe, possibly in Greece, Italy and Spain.
“Why would Hezbollah stockpile ammonium nitrate on European soil?" he said. “The answer is clear: Hezbollah put these weapons in place so it could conduct major terrorist attacks whenever it or its masters in Tehran deemed necessary."
Sales made the remarks in an online forum hosted by the American Jewish Committee, which has called upon more countries to ban Hezbollah and its operations.
The US has designated Hezbollah as a foreign terrorist organization since 1997, but some countries distinguish between the organization's military wing and the political wing.
The EU lists Iran-backed Hezbollah’s military wing as a banned terrorist group, but not its political wing, which has been part of Lebanese governments in recent years. Some individual countries, including Germany and the UK, have outlawed the group in its entirety. Sales called on more countries to do the same.
Hezbollah is a “unitary organization that cannot be subdivided into a military and so-called political wing," he said. Without a full ban, the group can still raise money and recruit operatives. “Hezbollah is one organization," he said. "It is a terrorist organization.”