Sweden draws closer to NATO membership; Zelenskyy lobbies for Ukraine approval: Live updates

조용진 | 기사입력 2023/06/05 [10:10]

Sweden draws closer to NATO membership; Zelenskyy lobbies for Ukraine approval: Live updates

조용진 | 입력 : 2023/06/05 [10:10]

 Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy lobbied for financial and military assistance, his nation's peace plan and NATO membership at the European Political Community summit Thursday in neighboring Moldova.

 Also Thursday, Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said NATO wants to bring Sweden into the fold by the time alliance leaders meet in Lithuania next month. Turkey’s government has balked, however, accusing Sweden of being too lenient on terrorist organizations such as Kurdish groups linked to a 2016 coup attempt in Turkey.

“My message is that Sweden has delivered, and the time has come to ratify Sweden,” Stoltenberg said.

 The summit, with Zelenskyy as the headliner, drew leaders from more than 40 European nations. Zelenskyy urged the West to continue supporting his military, saying the effort was saving lives and “literally accelerating peace.” He said all countries that border Russia should be full members of the European Union and NATO because Moscow “tries to swallow only those who are outside of the common security space.”

 “When there are no security guarantees, there are only war guarantees,” he said. NATO approval for Ukraine is unlikely until the war is over.

 Ukraine and Moldova, two of Europe's poorest nations, formally became candidates for EU membership a year ago, just months after Russian troops invaded Ukraine. Moldovan President Maia Sandu lauded Zelenskyy and Ukrainians for not yielding to Russian aggression.

 "We admire Ukrainians for showing incredible strength in defending homeland and international law," Sandu said. "We’re grateful for your heroic defense and we stand in solidarity with you and your efforts to bring back peace."

 The summits are hosted alternately by EU and non-EU countries. The 27-nation EU uses the summit to reach out to many Eastern European countries that spent decades as part of the Soviet Union or under its tight sphere of influence.

 Is it fair game for Ukraine to strike in Russian soil? US and allies disagree: Live updates

 Russian track cyclists Anastasiia Voinova and Mariya Novolodskaya, who won medals at the Tokyo Olympics, were ruled ineligible for International Cycling Union events starting Thursday for breaching rules monitoring their neutrality during the war on Ukraine. The world championships are set for August in Glasgow, Scotland.

 Inflation dropped to 6.1% May in the 20 countries that use the euro currency, a continued encouraging sign after reaching double digits in October partly because of the war in Ukraine. The April figure was 7%.

 A video of a rocket crashing straight down on a busy Kyiv street is a reflection of daily life in the Ukraine capital since Russia's invasion began more than 15 months ago. The rocket narrowly missed a direct hit on a vehicle, and other cars are seen driving around the debris as locals shrug off the assault. Kyiv and many Ukraine cities have been relentlessly hammered by Russian attacks − but life goes on.

 Russian strikes across Ukraine over the past day have killed seven civilians and wounded 31, according to Ukrainian officials. Attacks in Kyiv alone killed at least three civilians, including a 9-year-girl and her mother as they waited to enter a locked air-raid shelter, and injured 16 people, Kyiv Mayor Vitalii Klitschko said. Children's Day events in the city were canceled.

 The ban on entry of trucks from Ukraine and 19 other European countries into Russia will be extended until the end of the year, Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov said.

 Zelenskyy was already promoting his next big request, the Ukrainian Sky Shield, during Thursday’s summit. If recent history is a guide, he's highly likely to get it.

If recent history is a guide, there’s a high likelihood he’ll get it.

 Zelenskyy was initially denied when asking for longer-range weapons like the American HIMARS rocket launcher, was turned down when pleading for advanced tanks like the German Leopard 2 and rebuffed when begging for F-16 fighter jets. The Ukrainian president eventually got them all.

 The respect Zelenskyy commands is noticeable in a video sent from his Twitter account that shows him casually joining four other European leaders – Rishi Sunak of the U.K., the Netherlands’ Mark Rutte, Mette Frederiksen of Denmark and Belgium’s Alexander De Croo – in a conversation at the summit.

 Zelenskyy’s the only one not dressed in business attire, but he’s greeted warmly and gets their attention.

 In the tweet, he says, “We discussed issues related to the start of training of (Ukrainian) pilots on F-16 and other types of aircraft. We agreed to continue working on an official decision to create the Ukrainian Sky Shield coalition of combat aircraft at the next meeting in the Ramstein format after further consultations with the (U.S.) side.’’

 Your country has been invaded and your home has been destroyed. You manage to escape and survive in the basement of a nearby building. Soldiers force you out of your shelter and you are directed to a bus, destination unknown. At every stop, you are photographed, searched and questioned. Eventually, you are left to fend for yourself in the country that destroyed your home and killed your neighbors.

 The Soviet-era-style penalties Russia has imposed for “discrediting’’ the military – code for criticizing the war in Ukraine – have silenced many a voice of dissent.

 Still, some opposition politicians occasionally speak up. The latest is Boris Nadezhdin, who has frequently condemned the conflict and last weekend called for President Vladimir Putin to be voted out in next March’s elections so Russia could restore its relationship with Europe.

 The British Defense Ministry said this is probably the first time anyone has gone on state-approved TV and urged for Putin's replacement since the war began.

 “However, there is a realistic possibility that recent vitriolic rhetoric by nationalist figures such as Wagner Group owner Yevgeny Prigozhin is emboldening opposition figures to challenge taboo topics,’’ the ministry said.

 Russian anti-government armed groups said Thursday they were conducting another combat operation on Russia's Belgorod border region. The fighters of the Russian Volunteer Corps said on Telegram that its fighters hit Russian government offices with multiple-launch rocket systems. The Free Russia Legion said it was preparing to cross the Russian border near Grayvoron, a town of about 6,000 people the legion previously attacked.

 "Very soon, we will advance again on the territory of Russia to bring freedom, peace and tranquility," the group said on Telegram. "Grayvoron is only the beginning."

 Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov dismissed the attacks as "unable to have any effect on the course of the military operation." Russia’s Defense Ministry said groups of Ukrainian fighters attempted to enter Belgorod province but were repulsed. The largest contingent consisted of about 70 men, five tanks and four armored vehicles, the ministry said.

 Biden administration officials have repeatedly said the U.S. does not support strikes on Russian soil.

 The Russian military command has apparently ordered Chechen Republic head Ramzan Kadyrov’s forces to begin offensive operations in Ukraine after the withdrawal of Wagner Group forces from Bakhmut, a Washington-based think tank said in its latest assessment of the war.

 The Institute for the Study of War said Kadyrov claimed Chechen forces received a new order and assumed responsibility over the front line in the region. Chechen forces have been largely operating in the rear in recent months after fighting in high-profile battles, including the seizure of Mariupol. The Kremlin may also be trying to sever Kadyrov’s relationship with Wagner financier Yevgeny Prigozhin and reemphasize federal authority over Chechen forces, the assessment says.

 U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, speaking at a NATO conference in Norway, said Ukraine's allies are focused on helping Ukraine strengthen its medium- and long-term security capacity so that "if and when" the war ends, Ukraine has the full capacity to deter future invasions. Blinken said a path toward NATO membership for Ukraine was discussed and that he anticipates it will draw more attention at the NATO summit next month in Vilnius, Lithuania.

 "There will be a very strong package of support on both the politcal side and the practical side when the leaders get together in Vilnius.," he said.