From neutral to Nato: Finland announces bid to join alliance
Ukrainian forces have set a Russian navy logistics ship on fire in the Black Sea, it has been claimed.
The reported strike is said to have occurred near Snake Island, which was made famous earlier in the war when a Ukrainian soldier stationed there told a Russian warship to “go f*** yourself”.
The claim about the Vsevolod Bobrov was made by Serhiy Bratchuk, a spokesperson for the Odesa regional military administration. The Independent has been unable to independently verify the report.
The development comes as the Kremlin threatened to take “retaliatory steps” if Finland joins Nato, following Helsinki’s announcement on Thursday that it wants to join the alliance.
“As a member of Nato, Finland would strengthen the entire defence alliance,” president Sauli Niinisto and prime minister Sanna Marin said in a joint statement.
“Finland must apply for Nato membership without delay. We hope that the national steps still needed to make this decision will be taken rapidly within the next few days,” they added.
UN sets up investigation into Russian war crimes
The UN will investigate alleged rights violations by Russian troops in Ukraine, after the body’s Human Rights Council voted in favour of an inquiry.
A total of 33 countries supported the resolution, while 12 others abstained and two (China and Eritrea) voted against it.
Russia was recently suspended from the council. Although it could have watched today’s session, it chose not to.
Rory Sullivan12 May 2022 16:40
Ukraine negotiating for release of wounded soldiers in Mariupol
Ukraine is negotiating with Russia to secure the release of 38 severely wounded soldiers holed up in the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol.
The last remaining Ukrainian stronghold in the city is under Russian bombardment.
Iryna Vereshchuk, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister, said on Thursday: “To be clear: we are currently negotiating only about 38 severely wounded (bedridden) fighters. We work step by step. We will exchange 38, then we will move on.
“There are currently no talks on the exchange of 500 or 600 people, which is being reported by some media outlets.”
Rory Sullivan12 May 2022 16:20
Number of refugees fleeing Ukraine war exceeds 6 million
The number of people who have fled Ukraine to escape Russia’s invasion has passed 6 million in Europe’s worst refugee crisis since the end of World War Two, according to the UN Refugee Agency.
Russia’s invasion, which started on Feb. 24, has triggered a massive displacement of people, including more than 8 million Ukrainians within the country.
UN data showed that 6.03 million had fled Ukraine as of Wednesday.
Most have crossed to the European Union through border points in Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania.
Maryam Zakir-Hussain12 May 2022 16:15
Russia could cut gas supply to Finland ‘on Friday’ following decision to join Nato
Finnish politicians have been warned they could be cut off from Russian gas as early as Friday just hours after the country said it wanted to join Nato, reports have claimed.
The warning came just hours after Russia said it would be forced to take “retaliatory measures” after Helsinki signalled it would seek to become a Nato member.
Russia’s foreign ministry said Finland’s application, announced on Thursday, is a “radical change” in the country’s foreign policy.
My colleague Thomas Kingsley reports:
Maryam Zakir-Hussain12 May 2022 16:05
Russia begins transfer of troops from Syria to Ukraine as Finland signals Nato membership
Russian president Vladimir Putin has begun moving troops from Syria to Ukraine to help in the Battle for Donbas, reports have claimed.
Military forces are being moved from Syria where the Kremlin had thousands of troops based since 2015 when Vladimir Putin ordered his fighters to support president Bashar al-Assad.
The Moscow Times reported that these troops are being stationed at three airports in Ukraine before being transferred to the frontline to increase Russia’s presence as fighting in the southeast increases, writes Thomas Kingsley.
Maryam Zakir-Hussain12 May 2022 15:50
Exclusive – To circumvent Ukraine and bottlenecks, a controversial new trade route emerges: Iran
Despite US sanctions. transportation industry insiders see the Islamic Republic as key land route for moving goods across Eurasia.
With eastern Europe and the Black Sea region in turmoil because of Russia’s invasion and ongoing attack on Ukraine, Iran is also emerging as a tempting bridge between landlocked countries of Central Asia and the rest of the world.
Our international correspondent, Borzou Daragahi, reports:
Maryam Zakir-Hussain12 May 2022 15:40
German regulator does not expect immediate fallout from Russia’s Yamal move
Germany’s energy regulator on Thursday said a stop of Russian gas flows through the Yamal pipeline to Europe via Poland was not expected to endanger German supply security.
“Hardly any gas to Germany has been going through this pipeline for weeks,” a spokesman for the regulatory authority said in a written statement.
“Most volumes went to Poland,” he added.
Maryam Zakir-Hussain12 May 2022 15:25
Russia to respond to Finnish decision on Nato
Russia has warned that it will have to take unspecified “military-technical” steps in response to Finland’s decision to join Nato. The Russian Foreign Ministry said that Finland’s accession to Nato will “inflict serious damage on Russian-Finnish relations, as well as stability and security in Northern Europe.”
It said in a statement that “Russia will be forced to take retaliatory steps of military-technical and other characteristics in order to counter the emerging threats to its national security.”
The statement noted that while it’s up to Finland to decide on ways to ensure its security, “Helsinki must be aware of its responsibility and the consequences of such a move.” The ministry charged that Finland’s move also violated past agreements with Russia. “History will determine why Finland needed to turn its territory into a bulwark of military face-off with Russia while losing independence in making its own decisions,” it added.
Maryam Zakir-Hussain12 May 2022 15:12
North Macedonia: US leads exercise in Nato’s newest member
U.S. troops joined forces from Britain, France, Italy and allied countries in the region Thursday in a military exercise held in Nato’s newest member, North Macedonia, aimed at displaying deployment readiness along the alliance’s eastern borders.
Nearly 10,000 soldiers from 19 nations are taking part in Nato’s planned “Swift Response” exercises as Russia‘s war in Ukraine continues for a 12th week.
The exercises are being held in five separate locations, spanning from Norway to North Macedonia, military officials said.
“I think it’s a fantastic demonstration of what we can do as an alliance and our ability to project combat power if asked to do so and how quickly we can do it,” Maj. Gen. Peter B. Andrysiak, U.S. army deputy commanding general for Europe and Africa, told reporters after an hourlong display in North Macedonia.
Over the past 10 days, about 4,600 soldiers from Albania, France, Greece, Italy, North Macedonia, Montenegro, the U.K., and the U.S. have taken part in the exercises, which have included parachute jumps at several locations around the country.
North Macedonia formally joined Nato in March 2020. The small Balkan country of 1.8 million people has an active military of about 8,000 personnel.
Maryam Zakir-Hussain12 May 2022 15:00
Russia could cut gas supply to Finland on Friday
Key Finnish politicians have been warned that Russia could halt its gas supplies to neighbouring Finland on Friday, local newspaper Iltalehti reported on Thursday, citing unnamed sources.
The paper did not specify where the warning would have come from and Reuters was not able to verify the information.
Finland’s president Sauli Niinisto and prime minister Sanna Marin said Finland would apply to join the Western defence alliance Nato “without delay”, prompting Russia to vow a response.
On May 5, the Finnish government said it was prepared for the possibility of its eastern neighbour cutting off gas delivery in response to Finland’s refusal to abide by Russian demands for gas payments to be made in roubles.
Maryam Zakir-Hussain12 May 2022 14:45