Kremlin warns of retaliation after Finland turns to NATO

Kyiv, Ukraine (AP) — The Kremlin warned against retaliatory “military-technical” measures after Finland’s leader came out in support of its bid to join NATO, and Sweden could do the same within days, a Russian invasion NATO-induced historic adjustment. Ukraine.

Meanwhile, the first war crimes trial of Russian soldiers since the conflict began is scheduled for Friday in Kyiv. A captured 21-year-old member of the tank unit has been accused of shooting and killing a civilian within a week of the war.

On the ground, Russian troops attacked areas in central, northern and eastern Ukraine, including Mariupol’s last resistance position, as part of their capture of the Donbas industrial area, while Ukraine recaptured some towns in the northeast and villages.

Two and a half months after Russia invaded Ukraine, Moscow’s neighbors felt a wave of fear, Finland’s president and prime minister announced on Thursday, Nordic countries should apply now As a NATO member, the Military Defense Agreement was established in part to counter the Soviet Union.

“You (Russia) did it. Look in the mirror,” Finnish President Sauli Niinistö said this week.

While the country’s parliament still has to weigh in, the announcement means Finland will almost certainly apply and be admitted, although the process could take months to complete. Likewise, Sweden is considering placing itself under the protection of NATO.

This would represent a major change in the European security landscape: Sweden has avoided alliances with military alliances for more than 200 years, while Finland has adopted a neutral stance after being defeated by the Soviet Union in World War II.

After the invasion, public opinion in both countries turned sharply in favor of joining NATO, raising fears that they could be next in countries flanked by Russia.

Such an expansion of the alliance would see Russia besieged by NATO countries in the Baltic Sea and the Arctic, which would be a harrowing setback for Russian President Vladimir Putin, who had hoped to divide and overthrow NATO in Europe, but instead saw the opposite result happen.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said NATO would welcome Finland and Sweden with open arms.

Russia’s foreign ministry warned that Moscow “will be forced to resort to retaliatory measures of military-technical and other characteristics in response to new threats to its national security.”

NATO’s supply of arms and other military support to Ukraine has been critical to Kyiv’s stunning success in thwarting an invasion, and the Kremlin repeated its warning in chilling language on Thursday that the aid could lead to a direct conflict between NATO and Russia.

“There is always the risk of such a conflict turning into a full-scale nuclear war, a situation that would be catastrophic for everyone,” said Dmitry Medvedev, deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council.

In other developments, Ukrainian officials said their forces had destroyed another Russian ship in the Black Sea.

Oleksiy Arestovych, adviser to the Ukrainian president, said the Vsevolod Bobrov logistics ship was hit while trying to deliver air defense systems to Snake Island.

He said the ship was badly damaged but was not believed to have sunk. A spokesman for the Odessa Regional Military Administration said the ship caught fire after the strike.

Russia has made no confirmation and no reports of casualties.

In April, the Ukrainian military sank the flagship Moscow cruiser of the Black Sea Fleet and destroyed the landing ship Saratov in March.

While Russia’s progress in the Donbass has been slow, its forces have made some progress and captured some villages.

The regional governor reported that four civilians were killed Thursday in three communities in the Donetsk region, which is part of the Donbass.

The British Ministry of Defence said Russia’s focus on the Donbass had made its remaining forces around the northeastern city of Kharkiv vulnerable to counterattacks by Ukrainian forces, which had reoccupied several towns and villages around the city.

At least two civilians were killed in a Russian attack on the outskirts of Ukraine’s second-largest city Kharkiv on Thursday, local authorities said.

The mayor of the suburban town of Derhachi, Vyacheslav Zadorenko, wrote in a Telegram post that the attack also damaged a building housing humanitarian aid units, municipal offices and hospital facilities.

None of the sites “has anything to do with military infrastructure,” Zadolenko said.

Ukraine also said that Russian troops fired artillery and grenade launchers at Ukrainian troops near Zaporozhye, a haven for civilians fleeing Mariupol, and in Chernihiv and Soviet Union in the north. An attack was launched in the May area.

At least three people were killed in a nighttime airstrike near Chernihiv in northern Ukraine, the Ukrainian military said. Russian troops fired rockets at a school and student dormitory in Novkhorod-Sivorski, and several other buildings, including private residences, were also damaged, reports said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky condemned the attack in an evening address to the nation.

“Of course, the Russian state is in such a state that any education will only hinder it,” he said, “but what can be achieved by destroying Ukrainian schools? All Russian commanders who give such orders are sick and incurable. “

Twelve Russian missiles hit an oil refinery and other infrastructure in Kremenchuk, the industrial heart of central Ukraine, on Thursday, the region’s acting governor Dmytro Lunin wrote in a telegram. In early April, the refinery, the last fully functioning refinery in Ukraine at the time, was attacked and taken offline, he said.

In the southern port of Mariupol, essentially reduced to smoking rubble with little food, water or medicine, or what the mayor calls a “medieval ghetto,” Ukrainian fighters continue to steel at Azovstadt The factory sticks to it, which is the last stronghold of Ukraine. resistance of the city.

Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said talks were underway with Russia to secure the release of 38 seriously wounded Ukrainian defenders from the nuclear power plant. She said Ukraine wanted them in exchange for 38 “important” Russian prisoners of war.

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Yesica Fisch in Bachmut, David Keyton in Kyiv, Yuras Karmanau in Lviv, Mstyslav Chernov in Kharkov, Jari Tanner in Helsinki, and other AP staffers around the world contributed.

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Follow the AP’s coverage of the war in Ukraine: https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

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