Connect with us

Published

on

As silence falls over the beaches of Normandy, the leaders gathered to mark this important anniversary will recognise the grim irony that hangs in the air.

An occasion that recalls the horrors of war will take place as conflict rages in Europe and beyond.

Its why words will be chosen carefully in public and why, along with the D-Day events, this will be an important diplomatic event. Leaders will meet in Caen this afternoon to hold talks, the sight of veterans, beaches and long lines of war graves fresh in their memory.

And it’s also why Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the Ukrainian president, will be attending the commemoration.

D-Day latest: 100-year-old veteran puts smile on King’s face

He will remind those present that, just as the number of D-Day veterans is dwindling, so his own country’s pain is growing all the time.

The D-Day events have always been about remembering the dead, honouring those who took part and ensuring that history is not forgotten. Zelenskyy will surely invoke all these themes as being his country’s present, not its past.

More on D-day

His main message will be a familiar one – that Ukraine needs more weapons and more support. That his country’s war, and the pain it is suffering, will have repercussions for Europe, and for the wider world.

There are crucial figures here for him to talk to. Foremost, of course, will be the American president Joe Biden, whose money is so crucial to Ukraine’s ability to fight its war and whose nation probably holds the key to whether, and when, Ukraine eventually joins NATO.

Zelenskyy, an adept politician, will also want his diplomats to be working on developing a network of contacts who might still remain in place if Donald Trump were to win the American election – a result that would surely imperil at least some of his nation’s funding.

But Zelenskyy will not seek Biden alone. He will want to see the German chancellor, Olaf Scholz, who has provided a huge amount of support to his nation.

German leaders have long been invited to these commemorations as a sign of reconciliation and unity – another theme that the Ukrainian leader will wish to project.

Then there is the French president, Emmanuel Macron, who is hosting the commemoration and has long sought to project himself as Europe’s diplomat-in-chief, and Charles Michel, the president of the European Council who has spoken regularly of his desire to tighten relations with Ukraine.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Sunak reads message given to D-Day troops

Zelenskyy will want to see Rishi Sunak, too, and Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau – G7 leaders and, crucially, significant voices within NATO.

And he will certainly want to shake hands with prime ministers from the Netherlands, Greece and Luxembourg – all of them EU member states.

But one of his most sensitive meetings could be with the Polish president Andrzej Duda.

Duda sits at the heart of a national political system that is almost dysfunctional, thanks to his own opposition to the prime minister, Donald Tusk.

But Zelenskyy still needs the support of a giant neighbouring country that has taken in so many of his own citizens as refugees.

He won’t want to be seen as getting too close to Duda – Tusk is a more natural ally – but nor will he want to upset him. Diplomacy is never easy.

Click to subscribe to the Sky News Daily wherever you get your podcasts

Biden’s role here is primarily to represent the families of those who perished on the beaches, for D-Day remains a seminal event in American history.

But he, too, will have an eye on the wider picture – on the need to project himself as a strong statesmanlike figure who commands global respect – a sort of anti-Trump.

As for Macron, the timing is politically handy. Just as French voters head to polling stations for the European elections, there will be images of their president shaking hands with Mr Biden as the president follows the D-Day commemoration with a state visit to France.

Read more on Sky News:
Sunak and Starmer to take part in Sky News special
Reform UK closes gap on Tories in latest poll
Wales’s first minister loses confidence vote

Macron’s team will no doubt present this as proof that, under this president’s stewardship, the country’s diplomatic clout has grown; that he is a cut above his political rivals.

But in truth, Mr Macron’s self-made centrist party, now known as Renaissance, has been bracing itself for electoral defeat to the right-wing Rassemblement National, the party of Marine Le Pen.

So while it’s hard to imagine many of Le Pen’s backers would change their mind simply because they see the two presidents shaking hands at the Elysee, it might be enough to either win over some of the undecided, or to lure out a chunk of the reluctant.

Follow Sky News on WhatsApp
Follow Sky News on WhatsApp

Keep up with all the latest news from the UK and around the world by following Sky News

Tap here

And amid all the diplomacy and the meetings, there is one country very notable by its absence. Russia’s troops played a pivotal role in the Second World War, but there will be no Russian representative at D-Day.

Vladimir Putin was never invited, nor ever going to come, but the Russian ambassador to France had been asked to attend.

That invitation was later rescinded – a reminder that, 80 years after D-Day, Europe is fractured once more.

Continue Reading

World

Israeli tank shells hit tent camp in Rafah killing at least 25, say Gaza health officials

Published

on

By

Israeli tank shells hit tent camp in Rafah killing at least 25, say Gaza health officials

At least 25 Palestinians have been killed, and 50 injured, after Israeli tanks are said to have fired on tents sheltering displaced families in Rafah, according to health officials and emergency workers in Gaza.

Witnesses said the latest attack in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, took place in Mawasi, western Rafah, a rural area on the Mediterranean coast that has become filled with makeshift tents.

One resident told Reuters: “Two tanks climbed a hilltop overseeing Mawasi and they sent balls of fire that hit the tents of the poor people displaced in the area.”

Palestinians in the aftermath of the attack that left at least 25 dead. Pic: AP
Image:
Palestinians in the aftermath of the attack that left at least 25 dead. Pic: AP

Pic: AP
Image:
Pic: AP

Witnesses whose relatives died in the attack near a Red Cross field hospital told The Associated Press that Israeli forces fired a second volley that killed people when they came out of their tents.

The locations of the attacks, provided by Civil Defence first responders, appear to be just outside an Israeli-designated safe zone on Gaza’s Mediterranean coast.

The International Committee of the Red Cross said the nearby hospital was flooded with casualties after the attack.

Hasan al Najjar, whose two sons were killed in the shelling, said: “We had a strike. My two sons left after they heard the women and children screaming.

More on Gaza

“They went to save the women and that’s when they struck the second missile, and my sons were martyred.

“They struck the place twice.”

A local hospital saw an influx of patients after the attack. Pic: AP
Image:
A local hospital saw an influx of patients after the attack. Pic: AP

Mourners surround one of the dead. Pic: AP
Image:
Mourners surround one of the dead. Pic: AP

Mona Ashour, who lost her husband, said: “We were inside our tent when a sound bomb exploded near the Red Cross tents.

“My husband went outside at the first explosion.

“Then, a second bomb went off, even closer to the Red Cross door, and people began to gather.

“I tried to communicate with my husband but was unable to.

“We fled as we were in our clothes, barefoot. I tried to communicate with him but could not.”

The Israeli military said it was looking into the strikes at the reported coordinates.

It has previously bombed locations in the vicinity of the “humanitarian zone” in Muwasi.

Follow Sky News on WhatsApp
Follow Sky News on WhatsApp

Keep up with all the latest news from the UK and around the world by following Sky News

Tap here

Read more from Sky News:
British tourist stabbed to death outside Spanish nightclub
French economy takes hit after Macron’s snap election call
Italian football legend robbed at gunpoint

The attack comes less than a month after an Israeli bombing caused a deadly fire that tore through a refugee camp in southern Gaza – drawing widespread international outrage.

Israel continues to push ahead with its military operation into Rafah where over a million Palestinians initially sought refuge from fighting elsewhere in Gaza.

However, most have now fled after Israel attacked the city in an effort, they said, to drive out Hamas.

Residents have said that Israel appears to be trying to complete its capture of the city and tanks have been forcing their way into western and northern parts.

Eastern, southern and central areas of Rafah have already been captured.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

‘Exodus’ from Gaza as Israeli assault continues

The United Nations has said no place in Gaza is safe and humanitarian conditions are dire as huge numbers of families shelter in tents and cramped apartments without adequate food, water or medical supplies.

Israeli ground offensives and bombardments have killed more than 37,400 people in Gaza, according to the territory’s health ministry.

Israel launched the war after Hamas’s October 7 attack, in which militants stormed into southern Israel, killed some 1,200 people and abducted about 250.

Continue Reading

World

Jay Slater: ‘Living nightmare’ hunt for missing British teenager on Tenerife continues

Published

on

By

Jay Slater: 'Living nightmare' hunt for missing British teenager on Tenerife continues

Helicopters, rescue dogs and drones have continued to scour the holiday island of Tenerife for a missing British teenager as concerned family and friends endure a “living nightmare”.

The hunt for 19-year-old Jay Slater from Oswaldtwistle, near Blackburn in Lancashire, is now in its fifth day.

Lancashire Constabulary said that while the case “falls outside the jurisdiction of UK policing”, it has offered to support Spanish police “if they need any additional resources”.

The force added: “They have confirmed that at this time they are satisfied that they have the resources they need, but that offer remains open and they will contact us should that position change.”

Jay Slater. Pic: Lucy Law
Image:
Jay Slater. Pic: Lucy Law

The apprentice bricklayer was holidaying with friends on Tenerife before he disappeared on Monday.

He was last heard from when he called a friend to say he was setting off on an 11-hour walk to get home, after he missed his bus.

Emergency workers near the village of Masca, Tenerife.
Pic: PA
Image:
Pic: PA

Ofelia Medina Hernandez, who was the last person to see Mr Slater, told Sky News: “I saw the boy in the morning, at around 8am.

“He asked twice what time the bus came.

“I told him ‘at 10 o’clock’.

“He came back and asked me again, and I told him again – at 10 o’clock.

“After that, he walked off and I didn’t see him anymore.

“Later, I went in my car, and I saw him – he was walking fast.

“But I didn’t see him again after that.”

Her account came as new photographs showed the property where he was last seen in the northwestern mountain village of Masca after attending the NRG music festival.

Image:
Pic: PA

Pic: PA
Image:
Pic: PA

‘We are drained beyond words’

In a post on the Facebook page Jay Slater Missing, the administrator of the group Rachel Louise Harg said family and friends were “drained beyond words”.

She said: “There isn’t an update for anyone unfortunately.

“Struggling to find words at this time but all I can say is we are looking still and everyone is doing all they can.

“We are drained beyond words – I just can’t say no more, I wish I could.

“I wish this would end now, this living nightmare.

“Searches are ongoing and we remain positive.

“Thanks to you all supporting and helping we can’t thank you any more, much love.”

Read more on Sky News:
British tourist stabbed to death outside nightclub
Italian football legend robbed at gunpoint

Focus on unusual details will only grow


Shingi Mararike

Shingi Mararike

North of England correspondent

@ShingiMararike

In the mountains on the outskirts of northern Tenerife, a narrow road winds upwards, with a dramatic view of the sea below.

Beneath the beauty of the scenery, parts of the area where British teenager Jay Slater was last located are barren and remote.

One of the properties on the route through the national park is Casa Abuela Tina, the villa Jay travelled to with two men in the early hours of Monday, before he disappeared.

Just yards away from the villa’s front door you can see the bus stop that would have taken Jay back to Los Cristianos – the part of the island he was staying in near a bustling strip full of British tourists.

The teenager was agonisingly close to being able to make his way home – and as search teams comb the mountains, that fact will surely be on their minds.

Why did Jay decide to try the 11-hour walk, and why did he go to the villa with two strangers in the first place?

As the search continues, a focus on highly unusual details of this story will only grow.

Searchers check river at bottom of ravine

On Friday, search and rescue personnel joined officers from the island’s Guardia Civil near Masca to comb an area of overgrown terrain.

Teams also paid close attention to a river called Barranco Madre del Agua at the bottom of a ravine, where emergency workers carefully picked their way through fallen dead palm trees.

Follow Sky News on WhatsApp
Follow Sky News on WhatsApp

Keep up with all the latest news from the UK and around the world by following Sky News

Tap here

Mr Slater’s friend Lucy Law, who attended the music festival with him, said he called her at about 8.30am on Monday and told her he was “lost in the mountains, he wasn’t aware of his surroundings, he desperately needed a drink and his phone was on 1%”.

Meanwhile, members of the local community rallied together at a church service in his home town to express their hope of his safe return.

A Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office spokesman said: “We are supporting the family of a British man who has been reported missing in Spain and are in contact with the local authorities.”

Continue Reading

World

British tourist stabbed to death outside Spanish nightclub

Published

on

By

British tourist stabbed to death outside Spanish nightclub

A British tourist has been stabbed to death outside a nightclub near Barcelona.

The incident happened at about 4am this morning in Calella, about 30 miles away from the city.

Police have confirmed that there was a fatality, and another person was injured and taken to hospital.

According to El Caso, there was a fight outside the Oxygen nightclub and the tourist died at the scene.

In a statement, Catalan police said it is “investigating the violent death of a 31-year-old man”.

Another man has been arrested in connection with the incident, and footage from security cameras in the area is being checked.

Sky News has contacted the Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office for comment.

Follow Sky News on WhatsApp
Follow Sky News on WhatsApp

Keep up with all the latest news from the UK and around the world by following Sky News

Tap here

Continue Reading

Trending