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International Briefs

SKorea summons Russian ambassador as tensions rise with NKorea

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea has summoned the Russian ambassador to protest a defense pact with North Korea, two days after Russian President Vladimir Putin signed an agreement vowing mutual defense with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on a state visit to Pyongyang. South Korea’s government has denounced the agreement as a threat to the South’s security and said it will consider providing arms to Ukraine to help it fight Russia’s invasion. Earlier on Friday, the powerful sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un issued a vague threat of retaliation after South Korean activists flew balloons carrying anti-Pyongyang propaganda leaflets across the border, underscoring rising tensions on the peninsula.

Ukraine claims three oil refinery strikes inside Russia

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — A Ukrainian security official says that Ukraine’s military struck three oil refineries and a drone launch site inside Russia overnight. Despite improvements in Russia’s air defenses, Ukraine has continued its campaign to strike oil infrastructure across the border, hitting multiple sites in 2024, as part of a wider effort to disrupt Russia’s military supplies. Russia’s Defense Ministry, meanwhile, says its warplanes destroyed six Ukrainian naval drones in the Black Sea, responding to an incident that appeared to be one of the largest drone attacks of its type in recent months.

Russia-North Korea pact could dent China’s influence

BEIJING (AP) — China appears to be keeping its distance as Russia and North Korea move closer to each other with a new defense pact that could tilt the balance of power among the three authoritarian states. Experts say Chinese leaders are likely fretting over a potential loss of influence over North Korea and how that could increase instability on the Korean Peninsula. Beijing so far has not commented on the deal and only reiterated boilerplate statements that it seeks to uphold peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and advance a political settlement of the North-South divide.

Israeli strikes on tent camps near Rafah kill at least 25 and wound 50, Gaza health officials say

DEIR AL-BALAH, Gaza Strip (AP) — Gaza’s Heath Ministry says Israeli strikes on a tent camp near Rafah have killed at least 25 people and wounded another 50. Friday’s strikes were the last deadly attack on displaced people in the tiny Palestinian territory where hundreds of thousands have fled fighting between Israel and Hamas. A spokesperson for the Civil Defense first responders in Rafah says witnesses told rescue workers about the shelling at two locations in a coastal area that has become filled with tents. The Health Ministry reported the number of people killed and wounded in the attacks. The Israeli military said they were looking into the strikes at the reported coordinates.

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