For years, President Vladimir V. Putin has viewed NATO expansion as a life-and-death threat that would keep Russia surrounded by Western missiles on its doorstep. Now, Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine appears to have turned the Russian leader’s nightmare into reality, as NATO is about to embark on its biggest potential expansion in nearly two decades.
After a postwar era of non-alignment and neutrality, Sweden and Finland are now actively exploring an escalation into a Cold War-era military alliance, with officials from both countries meeting their NATO counterparts on Saturday.
Russia immediately lashed out, Stop exporting electricity to Finland And it promised an unspecified “military-technical” response after warning that the move would pose a clear threat to the country’s national security.
Some analysts worry that Russia is preparing for a threat to deploy nuclear weapons near the Finnish border. But officials in Sweden and Finland have both played down the threat, noting that the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad is just 200 miles from the hotel and that Moscow already has nuclear missiles within easy range.
Accepting Sweden and Finland into NATO, a process that could take up to a year to complete, would bring the Western military alliance to Russia’s 810-mile-long border with Finland and would mark another profound shift in Europe’s strategic landscape Because of Russia’s war in Ukraine.Meanwhile, the Pentagon Rotation of new troops into Europe to strengthen the eastern flank of the alliance, suggesting that a temporary troop buildup could become permanent.
As Western powers capitulate to what the Ukrainian defense minister calls a “new, long phase” of the war, developments on the ground confirm the idea that Ukraine is still fighting Russia stubbornly in the east and reporting it is making progress.
In recent days, Ukrainian forces have begun to consolidate control of the main city of Kharkiv after months of Russian attacks and heavy artillery shelling. Ukrainian officials said it appeared to be a repeat of Russia’s retreat from Kyiv, with its battered battalions retreating to protect key supply lines in the east and strengthen troubled forces elsewhere in the country’s eastern Donbass.
The head of the Kharkiv region’s military administration said Saturday that Ukrainian forces have begun a counteroffensive against Russian troops around the northeastern city of Izium, which Russia captured last month and hopes to use as a Head south into the bases of other major cities.
In a series of U.S. diplomatic events, Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky made a surprise visit to Ukraine on Saturday to meet with President Volodymyr Zelensky. The accompanying delegation of U.S. lawmakers is only the latest to travel to the country as the U.S. deepens its commitment to Kyiv’s fight against Russian aggression.
Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken is scheduled to travel to Germany on Saturday to meet with NATO counterparts ahead of discussions with Sweden and Finland.
Finnish President Sauli Niinisto said in a phone call Saturday that he told Russian President Vladimir V. Putin that his country was seeking to join NATO as Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine “fundamentally” changed Safe environment in Finland.
In a statement, the Kremlin said Mr Putin had warned Finland’s leaders that it was a “mistake” to abandon Finland’s long-standing policy of military neutrality.
“By joining NATO, Finland strengthens its own security and assumes its responsibilities,” the Finnish president said in a statement, adding that Finland wanted to “address the practical issues arising from being Russia’s neighbor in a correct and professional manner. .”
Turkey, a longtime NATO member, signaled this week that it may seek to block Nordic countries from joining the alliance, raising initial alarm.But on Saturday, the spokesman Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan Sidestepping any potential challenges, saying Turkey is simply trying to ensure the safety of all coalition members is taken seriously.
The potential growth of NATO presents Putin with increasing setbacks. Russia’s military offensive in eastern Ukraine remains stalled, and the Ukrainians have now won the battle of Kharkiv, the Institute for War Institute, a Washington-based think tank, said in its latest assessment.
The Kremlin, which had failed its initial attempt to seize the Ukrainian capital and overthrow the government, cannot accept another defeat in the east.
The next few months will be decisive, Major General Kerilo Budanov, the country’s military intelligence chief, told Sky News on Saturday.
“The breaking point will be in late August,” he said. “Most active duty operations will be completed by the end of the year.”
But as Moscow’s troops around Kharkiv are driven back to the Russian border, they are expected to struggle to keep key supply lines open through the region. Russia also controls large swathes of southeastern Ukraine and is increasingly consolidating its position. Analysts say the military operation will continue to evolve into a protracted battle with heavy casualties on both sides and destructive long-range bombing.
Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov warned of “extremely difficult weeks” in the coming weeks. “No one can be sure how many there will be,” he said in a statement.
President Volodymyr Zelensky acknowledged that the fight to regain control of the Russian-occupied territories would be long and difficult, but he vowed not to give them up.
“The gradual liberation of the Kharkiv region proves that we leave no one to the enemy,” he said.
The Russian-Ukrainian War: Key Developments
The two countries are getting closer and closer to NATO. foreign ministers Sweden and Finland Prepare to meet with their NATO counterparts to discuss the prospect of joining the alliance.Russia is apparently retaliating Stop exporting electricity to Finland After saying that NATO expansion would pose a threat to its own national security.
The effects of battlefield conflicts continue to ripple across the globe.
war has Wheat production disrupted In Ukraine and Russia, the two main suppliers, fighting in the Black Sea and naval blockades interrupted the movement of grain.and Bad harvest in Chinatogether with a heat wave in india And droughts in other countries, further hampering global supply.
But India, the world’s second-largest wheat producer, said it was banning exports with some exceptions, a move that could exacerbate a global shortage exacerbated by the war in Ukraine and deepen already dire predictions for global hunger.
India holds about 10 percent of the world’s grain reserves, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the large surplus is the result of its massive subsidies to farmers. For months, it was seen as a country that could help make up for global supply shortages.
“Russia’s war of aggression has unleashed one of the worst food and energy crises in recent history,” the G7, leaders of the world’s richest democracies, said in a statement Saturday, adding that the issue “is now Threats to those most vulnerable globally.”
reported by Carlotta Gall from Kharkiv, Ukraine; Mark Santora from Krakow, Poland; Steven Erlanger from Tallinn, Estonia; Matthew Mpock Bigger and Cassandra Winograd from London; Emily Cochran from Washington; and Samir Yasir from New Delhi.