A day after Finland, Sweden announces it too will apply for NATO membership in light of Russia's invasion of Ukraine


A day after Finland, Sweden announces it too will apply for NATO membership in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – Copyright AFP Dimitar DILKOFF

Here are the latest developments in the war in Ukraine:

– Sweden announces NATO bid –

A day after Finland, Sweden announces it too will apply for NATO membership in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The move marks a dramatic break with the two countries’ decades-long policy of military non-alignment.

On Monday, the parliaments in Stockholm and Helsinki begin debating their respective NATO bids.

Russian President Vladimir Putin says their decision to seek NATO protection poses “no direct threat” to Russia.

But he warns any move to expand NATO’s military infrastructure to the Nordic states will “certainly provoke our response”.

And Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan confirms Turkey’s opposition to NATO membership for Finland and Sweden, again accusing them of failing to take a clear stance against terrorism.

– Injured Mariupol troops to be evacuated –

Russia says it has agreed to allow injured soldiers holed up at the besieged Azovstal steel plant in the port city of Mariupol to be evacuated.

“An agreement was reached with representatives of the Ukrainian military blocked at Azovstal in Mariupol to evacuate the wounded,” its defence ministry said, adding it will observe a ceasefire while they are taken to safety.

Ukraine, which has for weeks been trying to negotiate safe passage out of the steel mill for injured troops, had yet to confirm the evacuation plan.

The Azovstal plant has become a symbol of resistance, with hundreds of troops continuing to fight on there even after the rest of the city had fallen to Russian forces.

– McDonald’s quits Russia –

Two months after closing its restaurants in Russia over the war in Ukraine, American fast-food giant McDonald’s announces it is pulling out of the country altogether.

McDonald’s cites the “humanitarian crisis caused by the war” and an “unpredictable operating environment” for its decision and says it is looking to sell its Russian business.

McDonald’s closed all its 850 restaurants in Russia in March but said at the time it would keep its 62,000 employees there on its payroll.

Other multinationals to have pulled out of Russia since February include H&M, Starbucks and Ikea.

– Ten killed in eastern city –

At least ten people are killed in the latest shelling in Severodonetsk in the east of Ukraine, as the city is almost surrounded by Russian troops, the Lugansk region governor Sergiy Gaiday says.

Russian troops “are shelling Severodonetsk without stopping”, Gaiday says in a statement on Telegram.

– Belarus could ‘slow’ Ukraine troops – 

Britain’s military intelligence warns that gains by Ukrainian forces in the east of the country, where they have driven Russian forces back from the city of Kharkiv, could be slowed by Russia’s ally Belarus, which is mobilising special forces along Ukraine’s northern border.

“The presence of Belarusian forces near the border will likely fix Ukrainian troops, so they cannot deploy in support of operations in the Donbas,” Britain’s defence ministry writes in a note.


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