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Ukraine news – live: Finland will apply for Nato membership despite Putin warning



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Finland‘s president and government have announced the Nordic country intends to apply for membership of Nato, 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,” Mr Niinisto said.

Finland, which shares an 800-mile long border with Russia, has previously been a neutral country. The Finnish Parliament is expected to endorse the decision in the coming days, but it is considered a formality.

A formal membership application will then be submitted to Nato headquarters in Brussels, most likely at some point next week.

It comes as the British ministry of defence said Sunday 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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Finnish parliament to debate Nato decision

Finland’s President Sauli Niinisto told reporters in the presidential palace in Helsinki:

“Today, we, the president and the government’s foreign policy committee, have together decided that Finland … will apply for Nato membership.”

Thomas Kingsley15 May 2022 12:40

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Finland in Nato would still need relationship with Moscow – president

Finland’s President Sauli Niinisto had a conversation with Vladimir Putin yesterday, during which the Russian leader said it would be a mistake for Finland to join Nato.

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

But he says he hopes and doesn’t doubt that Russia is willing to continue with “daily obligations” that are in the interests of both countries – citing the example of Norway – a Nato member with a border with Russia – being able to maintain a working relationship with Moscow.

(via REUTERS)

Thomas Kingsley15 May 2022 12:20

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Nato deputy chief ‘confident’ of finding consensus on Finland, Sweden membership

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

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

However on Saturday, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu unexpectedly raised objections, saying it was “unacceptable and outrageous” that the prospective new Nato members gave support to the outlawed Kurdish militant group PKK.

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

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

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

“I am confident if these countries decide to seek membership in NATO we will be able to welcome them, to find all conditions for consensus to be met,” he added.

Thomas Kingsley15 May 2022 11:59

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Watch: Finland announces ‘historic’ decision to join Nato

220515 – Finland Confirms Decision To Join Nato

Thomas Kingsley15 May 2022 11:40

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Watch: Footage appears to show phosphorous bombs dropping on the Azovstal steel plant

Footage appears to show phosphorous bombs dropping on the Azovstal steel plant

Thomas Kingsley15 May 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 apply for membership in Nato, 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 endorse the decision in coming days, but it is considered a formality.

A formal membership application will then be submitted to NATO headquarters in Brussels, most likely at the some point next week.

Thomas Kingsley15 May 2022 11:14

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ICYMI: ‘Don’t let them die’: Wives of last remaining Azovstal fighters plead with Pope Francis for help

The wives of two of the last remaining Ukrainian fighters holed up in Mariupol’s steelworks asked Pope Francis on Wednesday to help get soldiers evacuated from the plant.

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

Mariupol, a port on the Sea of Azov, has endured the most destructive fighting of the war in Ukraine. Kyiv says it is likely that tens of thousands of people have been killed there since Russia’s invasion began and the Azovstal steel plant is the last part of the city still held by Ukrainian fighters.

Read the full story below:

Thomas Kingsley15 May 2022 11:00

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Footage appears to show ongoing assault on Mariupol steelworks

Footage released by an advisor to Mariupol’s mayor appears to show phosphorous bombs dropping on the Azovstal steel plant.

Thomas Kingsley15 May 2022 10:39

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

Nato must maintain its “open door” policy towards admitting new members, UK foreign secretary Liz Truss has said.

PA Media reports that following a meeting of alliance foreign ministers in Berline, 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.

Ms Truss said the meeting had agreed that they must continue to support Ukraine to help it to “push Russia out”.

Putin must face a sustained defeat in Ukraine, Russia must be contained and such aggression must never happen again. Ukraine’s security must come from it being able to defend itself. Allies must support Ukraine’s move to Nato-standard equipment, immediately providing artillery, training and the required expertise.

Thomas Kingsley15 May 2022 10:17

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Ukraine’s top diplomat meets US Secretary of State, touts more weapon supplies

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

“We agreed to work closely together to ensure that Ukrainian food exports reach consumers in Africa and Asia. Grateful to Secretary Blinken and the U.S. for their leadership and unwavering support,” Mr Kuleba tweeted.

Mr Kuleba was due to brief Nato foreign ministers meeting in Berlin on Sunday on the situation on the ground in Ukraine and on how the alliance can further help the country as it battles invading Russian forces for a 12th week.

Thomas Kingsley15 May 2022 09:46



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