ISTANBUL – Turkey’s president has asserted his opposition to Sweden and Finland joining NATO, saying Ankara would say “no” to their bid.
Speaking to a group of Turkish youth, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused both countries – and Sweden in particular – of being “the epicenter of terror, the home of terror”. The video of their conversation was released on Thursday.
Erdogan’s objection to Sweden and Finland stemmed from Turkey’s complaints with Stockholm – and to a lesser extent with Helsinki – the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, and an armed group in Syria that Turkey sees as an extension of the PKK. . Turkey also accused him of harboring followers of US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara says is behind a failed military coup attempt in 2016.
Turkey’s approval is important because the military coalition makes its decisions unanimously. Each of its 30 member states can veto who can join.
Major Developments in the Russo-Ukraine War:
— Battle for Mariupol draws to a close after surrender
UN chief ‘hoping’ of Ukraine grain deal to help with food crisis
– Senate confirms Brink as new US ambassador to Ukraine
– US intel shows Russians fear Mariupol abuse will backfire
Court considers whether the US can seize a Russian yacht in Physique
– Follow Associated Press’s coverage of the war in Ukraine https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine
BERLIN – German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has defended his country’s decision to supply arms to Ukraine to fight Russia, saying it “does not constitute an escalation.”
In a speech to lawmakers on Thursday, Scholz dismissed concerns raised by some in Germany that arming Ukraine could lead to a wider conflict. Weapons to Ukraine were “a contribution to preventing the attack and thus ending the violence as quickly as possible,” he said.
Scholz said Russian President Vladimir Putin was “wrong” in thinking Ukraine could be forced to impose peace.
“There will be no peace order, because the Ukrainians will not accept it and neither will we,” he said. “Only when Putin understands this, only when he understands that he cannot sabotage Ukraine’s defense, will he be ready to negotiate peacefully.”
GENEVA – The International Red Cross says it has registered “hundreds” of Ukrainian prisoners of war who left the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol.
The International Committee for the Red Cross said Thursday that the registration of Ukrainian prisoners of war, including wounded fighters, under an agreement between Russia and Ukraine began Tuesday.
It said a team from the Geneva-based humanitarian agency, which has experience dealing with prisoners of war and prisoner exchanges, “did not transport them to the places where they are kept” – which was not specified.
The registration process, which got underway on Thursday, involves noting down personal details such as name, date of birth and nearest relative – partly as a way to help the Red Cross keep in touch with relatives of prisoners of war .
The Red Cross cited rules under the Geneva Conventions that should allow the organization to interview prisoners of war “without witnesses” and that travel with them should not be “unreasonably restricted”.
KYIV, Ukraine — An adviser to Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky says the country will not accept any ceasefire until all Russian troops withdraw.
Thursday’s statement by Mykhailo Podolik, who has been involved in several rounds of talks with Russia, reflects a confident stance taken by Ukraine as it has fought the Russian offensive to an effective standoff.
“Don’t offer us a ceasefire – it’s impossible without a total withdrawal of Russian troops,” Podolik wrote on Twitter. In reference to the 2015 peace deal for eastern Ukraine, which was brokered by France and Germany and signed in the Belarusian capital Minsk, Podolik wrote: “Ukraine to the new ‘Minsk’ and in a few years the renewal of the war.” Not interested.”
Several Ukrainian officials have recently issued similar statements. Podolik did not specify what the “total” clearance would be.
He added that “unless Russia is ready to completely liberate the occupied territories, our negotiating team is arms, sanctions and money.”
LONDON – British military officials say tensions in Russia’s centralized command and control structure are likely to rise as senior officials try to avoid responsibility for failures during the invasion of Ukraine.
Britain’s Defense Ministry said in a briefing posted on Thursday morning that several senior Russian commanders had already been fired for poor performance during the war.
The ministry says that Lieutenant General Serhi Kisel, who led the elite 1st Guards Tank Army, was suspended for failing to capture Kharkiv, and Vice Admiral Igor Osipov, who commanded the Black Sea Fleet Thi, was probably suspended after the cruiser sank. Moscow. The ministry also said it was not clear whether Chief of General Staff Valery Gerasimov continues to support President Vladimir Putin.
The ministry says senior officials are likely to be distracted as they try to avoid personal blame amid this culture of “cover ups and scapegoats”.
“This is likely to put further pressure on Russia’s centralized model of command and control as officials try to defer important decisions to their superiors,” the ministry said. “It will be difficult for Russia to gain initiative under these circumstances.”
MOSCOW — The head of a Russian-backed separatist region in eastern Ukraine says more than half of Ukrainian soldiers hiding in a steel plant in the main port of Mariupol have come out.
Denis Pushilin, the head of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, said on Thursday that more than half of Ukrainian troops hiding at the giant Azovstal steel plant had surrendered.
Pushulin did not give specific numbers, but Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov said on Wednesday that 959 Ukrainian soldiers had left the citadel since they began coming out on Monday. The Russian military had previously estimated the number of Ukrainian troops at Azovstal at over 2,000.
Pushulin said Ukrainian soldiers who needed medical help were hospitalized, while others were held in custody. He alleged that a claim that representatives of the International Red Cross Committee were allowed to inspect the facility could not be immediately verified.
He said more than 60% of residential buildings in Mariupol were damaged beyond repair and would need to be demolished after more than two months of fighting at the strategic port on the Azov Sea.
Tokyo: Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Thursday that his country would double its financial aid to Ukraine to $600 million in support of a country badly damaged by Russian aggression.
Kishida said Japan would provide an additional $300 million through the World Bank to help Ukraine’s financial difficulties caused by the Russian invasion.
The announcement comes just ahead of Japan holding US President Joe Biden and two other leaders for a quad summit and bilateral meetings next week for a regional strategic framework, when Kishida is expected to emphasize Japanese support for Ukraine. Is.
Japan has quickly joined the United States and other Group of Seven countries in sanctions against Moscow over its war in Ukraine and in Europe, fearing that Russia’s move could stoke China’s enthusiasm in the region.
The new pledge, along with $300 million promised by Japan last month, brings Tokyo’s total contribution to $600 million.
MOSCOW: A provincial governor in western Russia says a civilian has been killed in cross-border shelling from Ukraine.
Kursk Governor Roman Starovoit said early Thursday Ukrainian shelling hit a driver who drove his truck to a distillery in the village of Tetkino.
Starovit said several others were wounded in Thursday’s shelling.
Russian authorities have repeatedly reported damage and casualties from Ukrainian shelling of areas along the border.
KYIV, Ukraine — A regional governor in Ukraine says four civilians have been killed in the latest Russian shelling.
Luhansk government Serhi Haidai said they were killed when Russian troops bombed the city of Svyarodonetsk on Wednesday. He said three other residents were injured.
Haidai said Russian shelling continued early Thursday. Svyarodonetsk is at the center of fighting in the east where Russian forces are trying to quell their offensive amid fierce Ukrainian resistance.
Separatist officials in the Donetsk region, bordering Luhansk in eastern Ukraine, said two civilians were killed and five others wounded in Ukrainian shelling in the past 24 hours.
WASHINGTON – The Senate confirmed Bridget Brink as US ambassador to Ukraine late Wednesday, filling the position as officials plan to return American diplomats to Kyiv during the country’s relentless fight against Russian aggression.
The veteran Foreign Service officer, who spent most of her career in the shadow of the former Soviet Union, was nominated to the position by President Joe Biden last month.
Brink was confirmed by the Senate unanimously without a formal roll call vote.
US diplomats evacuated Kyiv when the war broke out three months ago, but Brink told senators during her confirmation hearing earlier this month that she would work to reopen the embassy.
KYIV, Ukraine — Military administrations in the region, including Melitopol, on Wednesday reported more actions of resistance against Russian troops who have occupied the southern city since the start of the war.
It said a grenade exploded near a Russian command post, followed by an exchange of fire. There was no report of any casualties.
On Tuesday, the regional administration said Ukrainian resistance fighters killed several high-ranking Russian officials in the occupied city. The report could not be independently verified.
Also on Wednesday, a Russian armored train carrying troops and ammunition overturned in Melitopol, causing the ammunition to explode, the regional administration said on Telegram.
It said that the Russian army does not maintain the tracks when overloading the trains, and as a result of negligence and the “help” of resistance fighters, the armored train derailed.
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