A British Royal Navy vessel seized a sophisticated shipment of Iranian missiles in the Gulf of Oman earlier this year, officials said Thursday, pointing to the interdiction as proof of Tehran’s support for Yemen’s Houthi rebels in the embattled country.

The British government statement was striking in that it provided some of the strongest findings to date that Tehran is arming the Houthis against the Saudi-led military coalition with advanced weapons smuggled through the Persian Gulf.

Russia has not made any territorial gains in Ukraine for the first time in 133 days, according to its own assessments, hinting at an “operational pause” for its battle-stricken forces to recuperate.

Before this, Moscow’s defence ministry had claimed territorial gains in its daily update every day since its invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

The Institute for the Study of War, a US-based think tank, said this indicated an “operational pause” in order to prepare for a large-scale offensive after capturing much of the eastern Luhansk region.

“Russian forces will likely confine themselves to relatively small-scale offensive actions as they attempt to set conditions for more significant offensive operations and rebuild the combat power needed to attempt those more ambitious undertakings,” ISW added.

Analysts have suggested this is part of Russia’s attempts to steel itself for a protracted war in Ukraine. The Kremlin is also passing a law to give it more control over business and workers to put the Russian economy on a stronger war footing.

The European Union’s plan to tackle market disruption in the fish supply chain caused by the military aggression in Ukraine was addressed on Wednesday 6 July at the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

In 2019, the EU fishing fleet directly employed around 130,000 fishermen and totaled some 74,000 vessels. Aquaculture employed about 75,000 people and the processing industry included about 3,500 companies, providing around 6.4 million tonnes of fish products. But the military aggression of Russia against Ukraine on fishing activities disrupted the supply chain of fishery and aquaculture products due to the rise in the price of energy, raw materials and fish feed. For example, 19% of European herring are exported yearly to the Ukrainian market, while fish feed is widely arriving from this country.

The U.K. Embassy in the United Arab Emirates described the seizure of surface-to-air-missiles and engines for land attack cruise missiles as “the first time a British naval warship has interdicted a vessel carrying such sophisticated weapons from Iran.”

“The U.K. will continue to work in support of an enduring peace in Yemen and is committed to international maritime security so that commercial shipping can transit safely without threat of disruption,” said James Heappey, Minister for the Armed Forces.

The announcement signals an escalation as Western officials have in the past shied away from public statements that definitively blame Iran for arming Yemen’s Houthis with military contraband. The route of the smuggled shipments through the Arabian Sea or Gulf of Aden, however, has strongly suggested their destination.

Despite a United Nations Security Council arms embargo on Yemen, Iran has long been suspected of transferring rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, missiles and other weaponry to the Houthis since the disastrous war began in 2015. Iran denies arming the Houthis, independent experts, Western nations and U.N. experts have traced components back to Iran.

Citing a forensic analysis last month, the British navy linked the batch of rocket engines seized earlier this year to an Iranian-made cruise missile with a 1,000-kilometer range that it said the rebels have used against Saudi Arabia.

The Houthis also used the cruise missile to attack an oil facility in Abu Dhabi in January of this year, the British navy said, an assault that killed three people and threatened the key U.S. ally’s reputation as a haven of stability. The U.S. military launched interceptor missiles during the attack, signaling a widening of Yemen’s war.

The HMS Montrose’s helicopter had been scanning for illicit goods in the Gulf of Oman on January 28 and February 25 when it spotted small vessels speeding away from the Iranian coast with “suspicious cargo on deck.” A team of Royal Marines then halted and searched the boats, confiscating the weapons in international waters south of Iran.

Gotabaya Rajapaksa said in a tweet on Wednesday that he had a “very productive” phone call with the Russian president in which he asked for credit support. Sri Lanka has already made purchases of Russian oil.

Protesters gathered near the parliament building in the capital, Colombo, on Wednesday calling on Rajapaksa to resign. Inflation hit a record 54.6% in June while food prices have nearly doubled.

The president’s request comes after prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said Sri Lanka was “bankrupt” on Tuesday, two days after the energy minister, Kanchana Wijesekera, said it had less than a day’s worth of fuel left.

Authorities on Wednesday started hauling away 177 lions, tigers, jaguars and other exotic big cats that were found at an animal rescue center in the mountains on Mexico City’s south side.

The federal Attorney General’s Office for Environmental Protection said 202 animals in all, including monkeys, dogs, donkeys and coyotes, were being taken to other locations.

Dozens of heavily armed city police raided the “Black Jaguar White Tiger” animal sanctuary Tuesday after images of rail-thin, distressed and injured lions circulated on social media.

Russian officials lined up to celebrate the downfall of Boris Johnson on Thursday, with a leading tycoon casting the British leader as a “stupid clown” who had finally got his just reward for arming Ukraine against Russia.

Johnson was expected to announce his resignation after he was abandoned by ministers and his Conservative Party’s lawmakers who said he was no longer fit to govern. The Kremlin said it too was no fan of the British leader, whose parents named him Boris after a White Russian emigre.

“He doesn’t like us, we don’t like him either,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. He said reports that Johnson would shortly resign as prime minister were of little concern for the Kremlin.

Other Russians were more brutal.

Russian tycoon Oleg Deripaska said on Telegram that it was an “inglorious end” for a “stupid clown” whose conscience would be blighted by “tens of thousands of lives in this senseless conflict in Ukraine”.

Maria Zakharova, the top spokeswoman in Russia’s foreign ministry, said Johnson’s fall was a symptom of the decline of the West, which she said was riven by political, ideological and economic crisis.

“The moral of the story is: do not seek to destroy Russia,” Zakharova said. “Russia cannot be destroyed. You can break your teeth on it – and then choke on them.”

Even before President Vladimir Putin ordered the Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine, Johnson had repeatedly criticised Putin – casting him as a ruthless and possibly irrational Kremlin chief who was imperiling the world with his crazy ambitions.

The first bull run in three years took place Thursday at the San Fermín festival in the Spanish city of Pamplona. No one was gored, but several runners took knocks and hard falls as tens of thousands people reveled in the return of one of Europe’s most famous traditional events.

Six bulls guided by six tame oxen charged through Pamplona’s streets for around two minutes and 35 seconds without provoking too much carnage among the thousands of observers and participants cramming the course.

Several runners were stomped, trampled or shoved to the cobblestone pavement. An animal’s horn smacked at least two men in the head, but neither suffered a skewering.

The Pamplona hospital said six people were brought in for treatment. They included a 30-year-old American man who fractured his left arm and a 16-year-old Spanish girl who lost part of a finger in the bullring, where a pile-up of runners occurred at the entrance. Four Spanish men between the ages of 19 and 45 also were injured.

Ryan Ward, an American tourist from San Diego, said the risk of running with the bulls was well worth the rush.

After the invasion, Johnson made Britain one of the biggest Western supporters of Ukraine, sending weapons, slapping some of the most severe sanctions in modern history on Russia and urging Ukraine to defeat Russia’s vast armed forces.

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