Swedish, Finnish, Turkish, and NATO leaders hail accord for Sweden and Finland to join NATO, June 28, 2022, Madrid, Spain (Bernat Armangue/AP)
Source: Institute for the Study of War
UPDATE 1515 GMT:
In a video address, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has released footage of Monday’s Russian missile strike on Kremenchuk in central Ukraine, which killed at least 20 people.
It is clear that Russian killers received those exact coordinates for this missile. They wanted to kill as many people as possible in a peaceful city.
UPDATE 1345 GMT:
The UN Office of Human Rights has documented the execution of Ukrainian civilians in more than 30 settlements by Russian troops.
Among the regions were Kyiv, Chernihiv, Kharkiv, and Sumy. In the town of Bucha, near Kyiv, the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission established the executions of at least 50 civilians, including women and children.
UPDATE 1323 GMT:
In their new “strategic concept”, NATO leaders have labelled Russia as “the most significant and direct threat to allies’ security and stability”.
They confirmed the invitation of membership to Finland and Sweden which “will make them safer, NATO stronger, and the Euro-Atlantic area more secure”.
Leaders pledged further assistance to Ukraine, with a package of support to modernize the Ukraine defense sector.
With the raising of troops on alert from about 40,000 to 300,000, the leaders summarized:
Allies have committed to deploy additional robust in-place combat-ready forces on our eastern flank, to be scaled up from the existing battlegroups to brigade-size units, where and when required underpinned by credible available reinforcements, prepositioned equipment, and enhanced command and control.
UPDATE 1318 GMT:
The UK imported about £140 million ($170 million) of Russian oil in April, down from about £410 million ($498 million) in February.
Russia has fallen from the UK’s biggest supplier to sixth, with Britain taking more oil from the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Belgium.
The UK Government has committed to halting all Russian oil imports by the end of 2022.
UPDATE 1312 GMT:
In a virtual address, Ukraine leader Volodymyr Zelenskiy has asked NATO leaders at their Madrid summit for more weapons, financial support, and sanctions against Russia.
This is not a war being waged by Russia against only Ukraine. This is a war for the right to dictate conditions in Europe — for what the future world order will be like…..
It wants to absorb city after city in Europe, which the Russian leadership considers its property and not independent states. This is Russia’s real goal. The question is – who is next for Russia? Moldova? The Baltic states? Poland? The answer is all of them.
UPDATE 1306 GMT:
The UK has sanctioned another 13 Russians individuals and entities.
The oligarch Vladimir Potanin, the “Nickel King”, is on the list. The UK said he is Russia’s second-richest man who continues “to amass wealth as he supports Putin’s regime, acquiring Rosbank and shares in Tinkoff Bank in the period since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine”.
Also sanctioned is Vladimir Putin’s cousin, Anna Tsivileva, who is president of the JSC Kolmar Group coalmining company. Tsivileva’s husband, Sergey Tsivilev, is governor of the coal-rich Kemerovo region.
UPDATE 0930 GMT:
Russian occupation officials have confirmed the detention of Ihor Kolykhayev, the mayor of Kherson in southern Ukraine.
The officials said Kolykhayev was seized by security forces after he refused to follow Moscow’s orders.
UPDATE 0925 GMT:
A Russian attack killed three people and wounded five in a high-rise residential building in Mykolaiv in southern Ukraine on Wednesday.
Mayor Oleksandr Senkevych said eight missiles. He said a Russian X-55 cruise missile was the apparent weapon which struck the building where casualties were confirmed.
Photographs showed smoke billowing from the four-story building, with its upper floor partly destroyed.
On Tuesday, the latest Russian shelling of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, killed five people and wounded 22, including children.
The attacks struck apartment buildings and a primary school.
UPDATE 0910 GMT:
In a virtual address to the UN Security Council, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said Vladimir Putin is “a terrorist” leading a “terrorist state”, urging Russia’s expulsion from the UN.
Zelenskiy said that if action is not taken, Russia’s “terrorist activity” will spread to other countries such as Poland and the Baltic States of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia.
Zelenskiy called on the UN to establish an international tribunal to investigate “the actions of Russian occupiers on Ukrainian soil”. Saying it is necessary to “make Russia stop the killing spree”, he asked the UN to visit the destroyed shopping mall in central Ukraine where at least 18 people were killed by a Russian missile on Monday:
I suggest the United Nations send either a special representative, or the Secretary-General of the United Nations…so the UN could independently find out information and see that this indeed was a Russian missile strike.
At least 20 people were killed and 59 injured as a result of attack.
"They wanted to kill as many people as possible in a peaceful city, in a regular shopping mall," Zelensky said.
Video: Volodymyr Zelensky/YouTube
— The Kyiv Independent (@KyivIndependent) June 28, 2022
All 15 Security Council members, including Russia, stood for a moment of silence after Zelenskiy asked them to “commemorate all the Ukrainians who have been killed in this war”.
However, Russia’s Deputy UN Ambassador Dmitry Polyanskiy complained, “The UN security council should not be turned into a platform for a remote PR campaign for President Zelenskiy in order to get more weapons from participants of the Nato Summit.”
Zelenskiy noted in his nightly video address to the nation, “As of this evening, a total number of Russian missiles that have hit our cities is already 2,811. And how many more air bombs, how many artillery shells?”
ORIGINAL ENTRY: Sweden and Finland are on course for NATO membership after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan dropped his objections.
An agreement was reached on Tuesday, on the eve of NATO’s summit in Madrid. Finland’s President Sauli Niinistö and Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson will now be official invitees at the gathering.
Spurred by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Swedish and Finnish Governments and Parliaments confirmed applications for NATO membership, in a move away from historic positions of neutrality.
Seeking political leverage amid serious economic problems in Turkey, Erdoğan said he would not permit the accession unless Sweden and Finland took a tougher line on Kurdish groups inside their countries. The President accused Stockholm and Helsinki of support for the Turkish Kurdish insurgency PKK, which has fought Ankara’s security forces for almost 40 years.
Erdoğan also demanded an easing of limits on arms sales to Turkey.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said a deal was reached at a meeting between Erdoğan, Niinistö, and Andersson in Madrid.
I am pleased to announce that we now have an agreement that paves the way for Finland and Sweden to join NATO.
Turkey, Finland and Sweden have signed a memorandum that addresses Turkey’s concerns, including around arms exports and the fight against terrorism.
In a joint memorandum, Finland and Sweden will “extend their full support” to Turkey in matters of national security. They did not commit to significant changes in their approach to Kurdish communities, but reaffirmed that the PKK was a proscribed organisation and said they would work with Turkey on extradition requests.
The two countries said there are no national arms embargoes on Turkey.
In the most substantial move, they pledged that they would “not provide support” to the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its YPG militia, who control most of northeast Syria.
The US supports the Kurdish administration and helped create the Syrian Democratic Forces, led by the YPG, which defeated the Islamic State in the north and east of Syria between 2015 and 2019.
Turkey says the PYD and YPG are part of Turkey’s PKK insurgency.
“A Very Important Step”
Andersson said the “very good agreement” had been reached without substantial concessions to Erdoğan, while showing the Turkish leader changes in Sweden’s terrorism legislation.
Taking the next step toward a full Nato membership is of course important for Sweden and Finland. But it’s also a very important step for NATO, because our countries will be security providers within NATO….
And of course, we will continue our fight against terrorism and as Nato members also do so with closer cooperation with Turkey.
Erdoğan’s office maintained, “Turkey has made significant gains in the fight against terrorist organisations. Turkey got what it wanted.”
US President Joe Biden hailed “a crucial step towards a NATO invite to Finland and Sweden, which will strengthen our alliance and bolster our collective security”.