News from Ukraine – live: Finland to apply for NATO membership despite Putin’s warning

Republican Senate delegation meets with Zelensky in Ukraine

Finland’s president and government have announced that the Nordic country intends to apply for NATO membership, despite Russian President Vladimir Putin warning the nation against the move.

President Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin made the announcement at a joint news conference at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki on Sunday.

“This is a historic day. A new era begins,” said Niinisto.

Finland, which shares an 800-mile border with Russia, has previously been a neutral country. The Finnish parliament is expected to approve the decision in the coming days, but it is seen as a formality.

A formal application for membership will then be sent to NATO headquarters in Brussels, most likely sometime next week.

It comes as the British Defense Ministry said on Sunday that Russia has likely lost a third of its ground troops since the war in Ukraine, adding that the Kremlin’s offensive in Ukraine’s Donbas region “has lost momentum.”

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Finland in NATO would still need a relationship with Moscow: President

Finnish President Sauli Niinisto yesterday had a talk with Vladimir Putin, during which the Russian leader said it would be a mistake for Finland to join NATO.

Speaking in Helsinki today, Mr Niinisto says it is important to remember that NATO membership would not change geography and that Finland would still have a large land and sea border with Russia.

But he says he hopes and has no doubt that Russia is willing to continue with “everyday obligations” that are in the interest of both countries – citing the example of Norway – a NATO member that borders Russia – being able to maintain a working relationship with Moscow.

(via REUTERS)

Thomas KingsleyMay 15, 2022 12:20

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NATO Deputy Chief ‘Confident’ of Finding Consensus on Finland, Sweden Membership

NATO is confident it can overcome Turkey’s objections and quickly admit Finland and Sweden, its deputy chief said on Sunday, as the alliance prepares for a historic enlargement in the Nordic region fueled by Russia’s war against Ukraine.

Foreign ministers from the 30 NATO member states are holding two days of talks this weekend in Berlin that focus on the membership bids of the two Nordic countries. Finland formally announced that it will join NATO on Sunday.

However, on Saturday, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu raised unexpected objections, saying it was “unacceptable and outrageous” that potential new NATO members would support the outlawed Kurdish militant group PKK.

It was not immediately clear whether discussions between Cavusoglu and various NATO foreign ministers, as well as their Finnish and Swedish counterparts later in the evening, had produced any progress in resolving the dispute.

When the talks resumed on Sunday, NATO Deputy Secretary-General Mircea Geoana said he was confident Ankara’s concerns could be addressed.

“Turkey is an important ally and raised concerns that are being addressed between friends and allies,” Geoana told reporters.

“I am sure that if these countries decide to seek NATO membership, we will be able to welcome them and find all the conditions for the consensus to be fulfilled,” he added.

Thomas KingsleyMay 15, 2022 11:59

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See: Finland announces ‘historic’ decision to join NATO

220515 – Finland confirms decision to join NATO

Thomas KingsleyMay 15, 2022 11:40

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Watch: The images appear to show phosphorous bombs falling on the Azovstal steel plant

The images appear to show phosphorus bombs falling on the Azovstal steel plant

Thomas KingsleyMay 15, 2022 11:20

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BREAKING: Finland’s government says it has decided to apply for NATO membership

Finland’s president and government announced Sunday that the Nordic country intends to apply for NATO membership, paving the way for the 30-member Western military alliance to expand amid Russia’s war in Ukraine.

President Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin made the announcement at a joint news conference at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki.

The Finnish parliament is expected to approve the decision in the coming days, but it is seen as a formality.

A formal application for membership will then be sent to NATO headquarters in Brussels, most likely sometime next week.

Thomas KingsleyMay 15, 2022 11:14

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ICYMI: ‘Don’t let them die’: wives of last Azovstal fighters beg Pope Francis for help

The wives of two of the last remaining Ukrainian fighters hiding in the Mariupol steelworks asked Pope Francis on Wednesday to help evacuate soldiers from the plant.

Kateryna Prokopenko, 27, and Yuliya Fedosiuk, 29, spoke to the pontiff for about five minutes at the end of their general audience in St. Peter’s Square, asking him to speak directly to President Vladimir Putin to let them go because “Russian captivity is not an opinion.”

Mariupol, a port on the Sea of ​​Azov, has suffered the most destructive fighting of the war in Ukraine. kyiv says tens of thousands of people are likely to have died there since Russia’s invasion began and that the Azovstal steel plant is the last part of the city still in the hands of Ukrainian fighters.

Read the full story below:

Thomas KingsleyMay 15, 2022 11:00

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The images appear to show the ongoing assault on the Mariupol steelworks

Images released by an adviser to the mayor of Mariupol appear to show phosphorous bombs falling on the Azovstal steel plant.

Thomas KingsleyMay 15, 2022 10:39

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NATO must maintain ‘open door’ policy, Liz Truss said

NATO must maintain its “open door” policy to admit new members, said UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss.

PA Media reports that following a meeting of alliance foreign ministers in Berlin, Truss said security in Europe will be strengthened if, as expected, Finland and Sweden apply to join.

NATO’s open door policy is essential and if Finland and Sweden decide to apply to join, it is clear that they would strengthen the alliance and European security as a whole.

Truss said it was agreed at the meeting that they should continue to support Ukraine to help it “push Russia out.”

Putin must face sustained defeat in Ukraine, Russia must be contained, and such aggression must never happen again. Ukraine’s security must come from its ability to defend itself. Allies should support Ukraine’s move to standard NATO equipment by immediately providing the necessary artillery, training and experience.

Thomas KingsleyMay 15, 2022 10:17

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Ukraine’s top diplomat meets with US secretary of state, touts more arms supplies

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Sunday that he had met with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Berlin and that “more weapons and other aid are on the way to Ukraine.”

“We agree to work closely together to ensure Ukraine’s food exports reach consumers in Africa and Asia. Grateful to Secretary Blinken and the United States for their unwavering leadership and support,” Kuleba tweeted.

Kuleba was due to attend a short meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Berlin on Sunday about the situation on the ground in Ukraine and how the alliance can further help the country as it battles invading Russian forces for a twelfth week.

Thomas KingsleyMay 15, 2022 09:46

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Ukraine’s Eurovision host reacts to winning from a bomb shelter

This is Ukraine’s Eurovision presenter and commentator Timur Miroshnychenko’s ecstatic reaction to the news that his country had won.

He was broadcasting his Eurovision commentary from a bomb shelter.

Thomas KingsleyMay 15, 2022 09:30

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