Russia attacks eastern Ukraine as Finland joins NATO

Kyiv, Ukraine (AP) — Russian troops launched airstrikes on the last position of the Ukrainian resistance in the besieged city of Mariupol and advanced towards towns in the eastern part of the country, Ukrainethe military said Thursday.

As the already deadlocked war causes more death and instability and its global-shaking repercussions spread, Finland has announced plans to end decades of neutrality and seek to join NATO.

The Nordic countries should apply to join “without delay”, Finland’s president and prime minister said on Thursday Western Union, in part to counter the Soviet Union. The announcement means Finland will almost certainly seek to join the military alliance, although there are still several steps before the application process begins. Neighboring Sweden is expected to decide to join NATO within days.

NATO support Ukraine – especially by providing weapons – to KyivAmazing success in blocking RussiaThe invasion began on February 24.Many observers believe that MoscowIts larger, better-armed army will be hard to stop, but the Ukrainians have already trapped Russian forces and thwarted their goal of taking the capital.

Still, the war wreaked staggering devastation, killing thousands and forcing millions from their homes, while undermining Europe’s sense of stability after the Cold War. It prompted NATO to send troops and weapons to strengthen the alliance’s eastern border, and led Sweden and Finland to reconsider longstanding opposition to joining the transatlantic alliance, whose members are committed to mutual defense.

In Mariupol, which has experienced the worst devastation of the war, Ukraine Offers to release Russian prisoners of war in exchange for the safe evacuation of seriously wounded fighters trapped inside the Azovstad steel plant, the last bastion of the Ukrainian army in the devastated city.

Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said talks were under way to release the wounded. She said there are different options, but “none of them are ideal.”

RussiaTheir forces have taken control of the rest of the city and they have been under siege for weeks as residents lack food, water and medicine. Thousands have fled and the port city is almost left with nothing, but an adviser to the mayor of Mariupol said Russian troops had now blocked all evacuation routes.

Petro Andriushchenko said there were few habitable apartment buildings and some of the remaining residents were cooperating with the occupying Russian army in exchange for food, although he did say Thursday that the army had restored water to two blocks as a test.

“The occupiers have turned Mariupol into a medieval ghetto,” Mayor Vadim Boichenko said in comments published at the city hall, calling for a complete evacuation of the city. About 100,000 residents of Mariupol, which had a population of more than 400,000 before the war, may still be trapped, officials have said in recent weeks.

Russian and Ukrainian authorities have regularly agreed to ceasefires to evacuate residents and have repeatedly blamed each other when those efforts failed. Andriushchenko’s allegations could not be independently verified.

after they failed to act KyivRussian troops retreat and regroup — and turn their attention to UkraineDonbass, Eastern Industrial Zone MoscowSupported separatists have fought Ukrainian troops for years.although RussiaThe advance there has also been slow, the General Staff UkraineThe armed forces pointed out on Thursday Moscow “Partial success”.

It said Ukrainian forces repelled nine attacks by Russian forces and destroyed several drones and military vehicles. This information cannot be independently verified.

People evacuated from the embattled eastern town wiped away tears as they fled on buses and vans with their children and belongings.

“It’s scary in there now. We left under a missile,” said Tatiana Kravstova, who was leaving West West on a bus with her 8-year-old son Artiom. From the town of Wirsk, head to the city of Dnipro in the city center. “I don’t know what their target was, but they were referring to civilians.”

UkraineThe military also said that Russian troops fired artillery at Ukrainian forces north of the city of Kharkiv, a key northeastern city in the Donbas offensive; artillery and Ukrainian troops in the direction of Zaporozhye grenade launchers, an area that has been a haven for civilians fleeing Mariupol; and attacks in the Chernihiv and Sumy districts in the north.

Three people were killed and 12 injured in a nighttime airstrike in the Chernihiv region, according to local media citing emergency services. The strike in the town of Novhorod-Siverskyi damaged boarding schools, dormitories and administrative buildings, the district governor said.

President Vladimir Putin reiterated RussiaDetermination to secure territory in the Donbass Moscow– Supported separatists never return Ukraine Thursday’s congratulatory message to the self-proclaimed head of the Luhansk People’s Republic.

On the eve of its invasion, Russia Recognize separatist independence claims in Luhansk and other Donbas areas in Donetsk. Moscow Attempts to justify their offense by asserting without evidence Ukraine Plans to attack separatist-held areas and intervene to protect people in those areas.

“I am confident that through our joint efforts we will defend the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Luhansk Republic,” Putin said in a statement issued by the Kremlin.

elsewhere, Kyiv Prepare for the first war crimes trial of a captured Russian soldier. UkraineThe top prosecutor said her office charged a Russian sergeant. Four days into the war, Vadin Shyshimarin, 21, was shot while riding a bicycle in February when he killed an unarmed 62-year-old civilian.

Attorney General Iryna Venediktova’s office said it had been investigating more than 10,700 allegations of war crimes committed by the Russian military and had identified more than 600 suspects.

Volodymyr Yavorskyy of the Center for Civil Liberties said Ukrainian human rights groups would closely watch Shyshimarin’s trial to see if it was fair – noting the difficulty of following norms in wartime.

On the economic front, Ukraine Shut down a pipeline carrying Russian natural gas Ukraine home and industry to Western Europe, disrupting one of the westward flows MoscowThe most profitable export.

Direct impact may be limited, in part because Russia Gas could be diverted to another pipeline, as Europe relies on various suppliers. The shutdown, however, underscores the wider risks to gas supplies from the war.

In the southern Kherson region, home to the first major Ukrainian city to fall in the war, a Moscow– Officials there want Putin to annex the region, the appointed leader said.Kirill Stremousov, Deputy Head of Regional Administration appointed by the government MoscowTell RussiaRIA Novosti: “The city of Kherson is Russia. “

At least one resident disputes this. “Everyone in Kherson is waiting for our army to come as soon as possible,” said a teacher who gave only his name for fear of reprisals. “No one wants to live in Russia or join Russia. “

Kherson, a Black Sea port of about 300,000 people, is seen as a gateway to Russia’s wider control of the south Ukraine. This development raises the possibility that the Kremlin will seek to break another piece. Ukraine Because it tries to save a failed invasion.


Yesica Fisch in Bakhmut, David Keyton in KyivYuras Karmanau in Lviv, Mstyslav Chernov in Kharkiv, and Associated Press staff around the world contributed.

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