The Russian-born pianist Evgeny Kissin, who became a British citizen in 2002, has accused the BBC of “slander and bias” against Israel, broadcasting material he describes as “painfully reminiscent of the old Soviet anti-Zionist propaganda”.
Aamulehti has some background on the gunman who carried out the shootings at the shopping mall in Espoo, Finland, today:
The suspect, Ibrahim Shkupolli (born 1966) is a Kosovo Albanian who according to Aamulehti’s information came to Finland via Norway in 1990. He was placed in the reception center at Mikkeli [Eastern Finland], which he later left to live in Espoo, Finland.
In the early 1990s he already had a Finnish girlfriend who is one of the victims of the Sello tragedy. Aamulehti understands that Shkupolli later separated from this girlfriend and married an Albanian woman. He also had children in common with her. The whole family lives in Finland.
The suspect’s wife and child as well as his parents and brother live in Finland.
So far, unconfirmed reports suggest a triangle as the background to the shootings. Shkupolli may have been driven by jealousy of his former, Finnish girlfriend’s new life.
RFE/RL reports that most of the 200 asylum seekers from Chechnya, Georgia and Ingushetia who attempted to travel to Strasbourg by train but were detained at the Polish-German border yesterday are now returning to Poland, where they are being temporarily held at a refugee centre in Warsaw:
The protesters — who boarded the train without tickets — told RFE/RL they wanted to go to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg to highlight their poor living conditions in Polish refugee centers and police abuse they said they have experienced.
The refugees have reportedly been refused political asylum in Poland.
Meanwhile, the pro-Moscow Chechen President Ramazan Kadyrov told journalists in Grozny today that the refugee protest in Poland is an “act of desperation.”
He said, “If these people return home, their rights will be protected better.”
Polish journalist Krystyna Kurczab-Redlich, who writes about human rights in Chechnya, told RFE/RL that it is hard to obtain political asylum in Poland in general but the European Union law known as the Dublin Regulation does not allow refugees to leave Poland for another EU country if an asylum request is refused in Poland. She said that creates difficulties for Polish officials, who do not know what to do with the refugees, and leaves the asylum-seekers with few options.
The office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has issued a statement condemning the arrest warrant issued against Israel’s former foreign minister Tzipi Livni, Ynet News reports. The statement reprimands British Ambassador Tom Phillips and tells him that Israel expects the UK to act against this “unethical” phenomenon, which is aimed at “violating Israel’s right to defend itself.”
Ambassador Phillips was summoned to the Foreign Ministry Tuesday, where Naor Gilon, deputy director for the Foreign Ministry’s Western Europe desk, told him that Israeli officials will not be able to visit the UK until the threat of lawsuits and arrest warrants is removed.
Update: Britain’s foreign secretary David Milliband has denounced the arrest warrant as “insufferable”.
Yuri Felshtinsky: I’m simply not going to discuss the moral qualities of Chechnya’s political leader, Kadyrov, right now. Because from the standpoint of Russia’s interests Kadyrov is the worst option. I think that in a situation where after two Chechen wars the Federation had failed to resolve its internal problems, Dudayev and Maskhadov would have made far more acceptable presidents for Russia. The Chechens really became extremists almost by chance. It could have worked out differently, Russia could have chosen some other territory on which to resolve its electoral issues. Unfortunately for the Chechens, the territory chosen was Chechnya.
Mikhail Sokolov: Chechnya was unlucky.
Yuri Felshtinsky: Unlucky is not the right word, if you consider that Chechnya is scorched earth. The fact that Russians will never be able to live there again is one aspect of it. And another, more important, is that neither will the Chechens ever be able to live a normal peaceful life there, a life that merits the name. Because what is happening there now has no relation to life at all.