Russia-Ukraine war live updates: Sweden joins Finland in NATO bid; troops defending Kharkiv reach border | GAMEJES

Russia-Ukraine war live updates: Sweden joins Finland in NATO bid; troops defending Kharkiv reach border

Sweden is joining neighboring Finland in formally seeking to join NATO, a move that will deal a serious diplomatic blow to Russian President Vladimir Putin as his war reshapes Europe’s security landscape while disfiguring towns and villages across Ukraine.

Sweden’s prime minister announced Monday the country would drop its long-held nonaligned status and apply to join the Transatlantic military alliance. It was the latest evidence that an invasion launched to counter NATO and control Kyiv is increasingly strengthening the West while Russia scales back its goals in the east after struggles persist.



Here’s what else is going on:

  • McDonald’s is selling its business in Russia after 32 years.
  • Ukraine says troops defending Kharkiv in the northeast have reached the border with Russia after a successful counterattack.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin says Sweden and Finland joining NATO ‘doesn’t pose an immediate threat.’
  • NATO chief Stoltenberg says invasion ‘not going as Moscow had planned’ and that ‘Ukraine can win this war.’

Patrolling recaptured territory

Image:
Ukrainian servicemen squat Sunday during a patrol in a recently retaken village north of Kharkiv. Mstyslav Chernov / AP

Azovstal defender sings Ukraine’s Eurovision winner,’ video claims

May 16, 202200:43

Sweden says it will apply for NATO membership

Sweden will apply for NATO membership as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, its government announced Monday.

“The Government’s assessment is that NATO membership is the best way to protect Sweden’s security in light of the fundamentally changed security environment following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,” an announcement on the government’s website said after a debate on the topic in Parliament.

Finland, which shares a border with Russia and is a neighbor to Sweden, said Sunday that it intends to apply for membership in the security alliance. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Sunday that he was confident the accession process for Finland and Sweden could be expedited. The alliance was created in 1949 as a way for the West to respond to the growing power of the Soviet Union.

Putin says Finland, Sweden joining NATO ‘doesn’t pose an immediate threat’

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday that Sweden and Finland potentially joining NATO “does not pose an immediate threat to us” and that Moscow would consider its response.

“Russia has no problems with Finland and Sweden, and in this sense, expansion at the expense of these countries does not pose an immediate threat to us,” he said Monday at a meeting of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, a military alliance of select post-Soviet states.

“But the expansion of the military infrastructure to this territory will certainly cause our response. And we will look at what it will be,” he added.

The comments are in line with previous statements on the two countries’ potentially joining NATO put out by the Kremlin in past days.

International Criminal Court to send dozens of investigators to Ukraine

The International Criminal Court will send 42 investigators to Ukraine to investigate possible war crimes, its prosecutor’s office confirmed to NBC News.

The deployment of investigators was first reported in the French newspaper Le Monde in an interview with ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan.

“This is the largest deployment ever undertaken by my office,” he told the paper. “Thirty of them have been seconded by the Dutch government, including forensic scientists and analysts.”

The prosecutor’s office said further information would be released Tuesday. The court, based in The Hague, Netherlands, opened a probe into possible war crimes in late February, as has the U.N. and Ukraine’s prosecutor general’s office.

Lives shattered in Kharkiv

Image: TOPSHOT-UKRAINE-RUSSIA-CONFLICT
A resident walks among debris of his destroyed house in the village of Mala Rogan, east of Kharkiv, on Sunday.Sergey Bobok / AFP – Getty Images

Scarred by Russian attacks, some Ukrainians stick to life underground

KHARKIV, Ukraine — Liliya Gritchina lives in a tent underground by column seven of Kharkiv’s Imeni Maselskoho metro station, and says she’s only seen the sun four times since Russia invaded.

The metro station columns aren’t usually numbered, but they’ve become makeshift addresses for scores of people still sheltering from the prospect of shelling and rockets even as Ukrainian forces push Russian troops away from this crucial northeastern city.

“One time I left the shelter I saw rockets in the sky. There were sirens and I was very afraid,” said Gritchina, a 42-year-old seamstress who spoke by her tent on the cluttered metro platform.

A young boy lies on the floor of Imeni Maselskoho metro station in Kharkiv.
A young boy lies on the floor of Imeni Maselskoho metro station in Kharkiv.Mo Abbas / NBC News

“I will never forget this sound at the start of the war, the day I went up to see the sun. This scares me every time and I can’t leave this place until there are no sirens,” she added, wiping away tears.

Read the full story here.

Scars of war in Ukraine’s east

Image: TOPSHOT-UKRAINE-RUSSIA-CONFLICT
A destroyed Russian tank Sunday in the village of Mala Rogan, east of Kharkiv.Sergey Bobok / AFP – Getty Images

Finland, Sweden joining NATO won’t strengthen Europe’s security: Peskov

Russia has no territorial disputes with either Finland or Sweden, and their accession to NATO will not strengthen or improve Europe’s security, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Monday.

Speaking to reporters during his daily phone briefing, Peskov said Moscow was monitoring Finland and Sweden’s NATO membership bids “very carefully,” calling it “an issue that causes our concern.”

Peskov’s comments come after Sweden and Finland confirmed they will apply for NATO membership over the weekend. Debates in the Swedish and Finnish parliaments to discuss their respective applications were underway Monday.

Last week, the Kremlin reacted negatively to Finland’s announcement of its intention to join NATO in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, vowing retaliatory steps.

E.U. ministers urge Hungary to sign up to planned Russian oil embargo

E.U. foreign ministers sought to publicly pressure Hungary on Monday to lift its veto on a proposed oil embargo on Russia, with Lithuania saying the bloc was being “held hostage by one member state.”

The embargo proposed by the European Commission in early May would be the harshest sanction yet after Moscow’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine and includes carve-outs for E.U. states most dependent on Russian oil.

Germany, the European Union’s biggest economy and a major buyer of Russian energy, said it wanted a deal to authorize the oil embargo which it suggested could last for years.

McDonald’s to sell its business in Russia

McDonald’s said Monday that it will sell its business in Russia after more than 30 years in the country.

The company cited the war in Ukraine and the unpredictable operating environment in Russia as its reasons for leaving, saying in a news release that its “continued ownership of the business in Russia is no longer tenable, nor is it consistent with McDonald’s values.”

McDonald’s announced on March 8 that it had temporarily closed restaurants in Russia and paused operations there.

McConnell meets Finnish President in Helsinki

Image: FINLAND-US-DEFENCE-DIPLOMACY
President of Finland Sauli Niinist, second from right, meets Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell at the President’s official residence in Helsinki, Finland, on May 16, 2022. Roni Rekomaa / AFP – Getty Images

Renault sells its Russia business, stake in Russian automaker

French carmaker Renault agreed to sell its shares in Renault Russia as well as its stake in Russian automaker Avtovaz on Monday.

“Today, we have taken a difficult but necessary decision; and we are making a responsible choice towards our 45,000 employees in Russia, while preserving the Group’s performance and our ability to return to the country in the future, in a different context,” said Luca de Meo, CEO Renault Group, in a statement posted on the company website.

The company’s shares in Renault Russia will go to Moscow, while its nearly 68 percent interest in Avtovaz will go to Russia’s Central Research and Development Automobile and Engine Institute. The company suspended its activities at its Moscow plant in March. 

The agreement provides for an option for Renault Group to buy back its shares in Avtovaz during the next six years. In March, Avtovaz partially halted production at certain plants because of a shortage of certain parts.

Wheat prices rise sharply after Indian export ban

Wheat prices spiked over the weekend after India imposed a ban on the export of the crop, adding pressure to already-tight supply chains disrupted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

India, the world’s second-largest producer and eighth-largest exporter of wheat, announced the ban on Friday in a bid to control its record-high domestic prices. The local wheat harvest has been adversely affected by record-breaking heatwaves that started in March. New Delhi said the ban is not permanent and could be revised.

Experts worry that the ban will exacerbate a growing food shortage resulting from the war in Ukraine, as wheat prices have soared 60 percent this year. Russia and Ukraine account for almost a third of global wheat exports.

Ukrainian pushback in Kharkiv

Image:
Ukrainian servicemen rest in a recently retaken village north of Kharkiv on Sunday. Mstyslav Chernov / AP

Russia scales back plans for eastern offensive, think tank says

Russian forces have likely abandoned plans to seize territory in parts of Ukraine’s east and will likely concentrate on taking over the Luhansk region of the Donbas, according to the Institute for the Study of War.

The think tank, which provides daily updates on the military situation, said that Russian forces have probably given up plans to complete “a large-scale encirclement of Ukrainian units from Donetsk City to Izyum. Moscow has also likely scaled down plans to push 30 miles north from the city of Slovyansk to Izyum.”

The apparent reduction to the military’s ambitions in its eastern offensive comes as Russian forces have likely run short of trained reservists, the institute said. Russia said last month that its goal was to achieve the “full liberation of the Donetsk and Luhansk republics,” which together make up the Donbas region.

Ukrainian forces appear to reach Russian border in Kharkiv region

Ukrainian forces reached the border with Russia north of Kharkiv, the country’s second-largest city, the head of the regional administration said early Monday.

“We are proud of the soldiers of the 227th Battalion of the 127th Brigade of the Territorial Defense Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, who restored the border sign on the state border!” Oleh Synegubov wrote in a post on Telegram.

In a video included with the post, Ukrainian fighters proudly posed with a blue and yellow outpost. They launched a counterattack to push Russian troops back from the area in recent weeks.

Ukrainians react with joy to Eurovision win

May 15, 202201:21

Sweden is joining neighboring Finland in formally seeking to join NATO, a move that will deal a serious diplomatic blow to Russian President Vladimir Putin as his war reshapes Europe’s security landscape while disfiguring towns and villages across Ukraine.

Sweden’s prime minister announced Monday the country would drop its long-held nonaligned status and apply to join the Transatlantic military alliance. It was the latest evidence that an invasion launched to counter NATO and control Kyiv is increasingly strengthening the West while Russia scales back its goals in the east after struggles persist.



Here’s what else is going on:

  • McDonald’s is selling its business in Russia after 32 years.
  • Ukraine says troops defending Kharkiv in the northeast have reached the border with Russia after a successful counterattack.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin says Sweden and Finland joining NATO ‘doesn’t pose an immediate threat.’
  • NATO chief Stoltenberg says invasion ‘not going as Moscow had planned’ and that ‘Ukraine can win this war.’

Patrolling recaptured territory

Image:
Ukrainian servicemen squat Sunday during a patrol in a recently retaken village north of Kharkiv. Mstyslav Chernov / AP

Azovstal defender sings Ukraine’s Eurovision winner,’ video claims

May 16, 202200:43

Sweden says it will apply for NATO membership

Sweden will apply for NATO membership as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, its government announced Monday.

“The Government’s assessment is that NATO membership is the best way to protect Sweden’s security in light of the fundamentally changed security environment following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,” an announcement on the government’s website said after a debate on the topic in Parliament.

Finland, which shares a border with Russia and is a neighbor to Sweden, said Sunday that it intends to apply for membership in the security alliance. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Sunday that he was confident the accession process for Finland and Sweden could be expedited. The alliance was created in 1949 as a way for the West to respond to the growing power of the Soviet Union.

Putin says Finland, Sweden joining NATO ‘doesn’t pose an immediate threat’

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday that Sweden and Finland potentially joining NATO “does not pose an immediate threat to us” and that Moscow would consider its response.

“Russia has no problems with Finland and Sweden, and in this sense, expansion at the expense of these countries does not pose an immediate threat to us,” he said Monday at a meeting of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, a military alliance of select post-Soviet states.

“But the expansion of the military infrastructure to this territory will certainly cause our response. And we will look at what it will be,” he added.

The comments are in line with previous statements on the two countries’ potentially joining NATO put out by the Kremlin in past days.

International Criminal Court to send dozens of investigators to Ukraine

The International Criminal Court will send 42 investigators to Ukraine to investigate possible war crimes, its prosecutor’s office confirmed to NBC News.

The deployment of investigators was first reported in the French newspaper Le Monde in an interview with ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan.

“This is the largest deployment ever undertaken by my office,” he told the paper. “Thirty of them have been seconded by the Dutch government, including forensic scientists and analysts.”

The prosecutor’s office said further information would be released Tuesday. The court, based in The Hague, Netherlands, opened a probe into possible war crimes in late February, as has the U.N. and Ukraine’s prosecutor general’s office.

Lives shattered in Kharkiv

Image: TOPSHOT-UKRAINE-RUSSIA-CONFLICT
A resident walks among debris of his destroyed house in the village of Mala Rogan, east of Kharkiv, on Sunday.Sergey Bobok / AFP – Getty Images

Scarred by Russian attacks, some Ukrainians stick to life underground

KHARKIV, Ukraine — Liliya Gritchina lives in a tent underground by column seven of Kharkiv’s Imeni Maselskoho metro station, and says she’s only seen the sun four times since Russia invaded.

The metro station columns aren’t usually numbered, but they’ve become makeshift addresses for scores of people still sheltering from the prospect of shelling and rockets even as Ukrainian forces push Russian troops away from this crucial northeastern city.

“One time I left the shelter I saw rockets in the sky. There were sirens and I was very afraid,” said Gritchina, a 42-year-old seamstress who spoke by her tent on the cluttered metro platform.

A young boy lies on the floor of Imeni Maselskoho metro station in Kharkiv.
A young boy lies on the floor of Imeni Maselskoho metro station in Kharkiv.Mo Abbas / NBC News

“I will never forget this sound at the start of the war, the day I went up to see the sun. This scares me every time and I can’t leave this place until there are no sirens,” she added, wiping away tears.

Read the full story here.

Scars of war in Ukraine’s east

Image: TOPSHOT-UKRAINE-RUSSIA-CONFLICT
A destroyed Russian tank Sunday in the village of Mala Rogan, east of Kharkiv.Sergey Bobok / AFP – Getty Images

Finland, Sweden joining NATO won’t strengthen Europe’s security: Peskov

Russia has no territorial disputes with either Finland or Sweden, and their accession to NATO will not strengthen or improve Europe’s security, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Monday.

Speaking to reporters during his daily phone briefing, Peskov said Moscow was monitoring Finland and Sweden’s NATO membership bids “very carefully,” calling it “an issue that causes our concern.”

Peskov’s comments come after Sweden and Finland confirmed they will apply for NATO membership over the weekend. Debates in the Swedish and Finnish parliaments to discuss their respective applications were underway Monday.

Last week, the Kremlin reacted negatively to Finland’s announcement of its intention to join NATO in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, vowing retaliatory steps.

E.U. ministers urge Hungary to sign up to planned Russian oil embargo

E.U. foreign ministers sought to publicly pressure Hungary on Monday to lift its veto on a proposed oil embargo on Russia, with Lithuania saying the bloc was being “held hostage by one member state.”

The embargo proposed by the European Commission in early May would be the harshest sanction yet after Moscow’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine and includes carve-outs for E.U. states most dependent on Russian oil.

Germany, the European Union’s biggest economy and a major buyer of Russian energy, said it wanted a deal to authorize the oil embargo which it suggested could last for years.

McDonald’s to sell its business in Russia

McDonald’s said Monday that it will sell its business in Russia after more than 30 years in the country.

The company cited the war in Ukraine and the unpredictable operating environment in Russia as its reasons for leaving, saying in a news release that its “continued ownership of the business in Russia is no longer tenable, nor is it consistent with McDonald’s values.”

McDonald’s announced on March 8 that it had temporarily closed restaurants in Russia and paused operations there.

McConnell meets Finnish President in Helsinki

Image: FINLAND-US-DEFENCE-DIPLOMACY
President of Finland Sauli Niinist, second from right, meets Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell at the President’s official residence in Helsinki, Finland, on May 16, 2022. Roni Rekomaa / AFP – Getty Images

Renault sells its Russia business, stake in Russian automaker

French carmaker Renault agreed to sell its shares in Renault Russia as well as its stake in Russian automaker Avtovaz on Monday.

“Today, we have taken a difficult but necessary decision; and we are making a responsible choice towards our 45,000 employees in Russia, while preserving the Group’s performance and our ability to return to the country in the future, in a different context,” said Luca de Meo, CEO Renault Group, in a statement posted on the company website.

The company’s shares in Renault Russia will go to Moscow, while its nearly 68 percent interest in Avtovaz will go to Russia’s Central Research and Development Automobile and Engine Institute. The company suspended its activities at its Moscow plant in March. 

The agreement provides for an option for Renault Group to buy back its shares in Avtovaz during the next six years. In March, Avtovaz partially halted production at certain plants because of a shortage of certain parts.

Wheat prices rise sharply after Indian export ban

Wheat prices spiked over the weekend after India imposed a ban on the export of the crop, adding pressure to already-tight supply chains disrupted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

India, the world’s second-largest producer and eighth-largest exporter of wheat, announced the ban on Friday in a bid to control its record-high domestic prices. The local wheat harvest has been adversely affected by record-breaking heatwaves that started in March. New Delhi said the ban is not permanent and could be revised.

Experts worry that the ban will exacerbate a growing food shortage resulting from the war in Ukraine, as wheat prices have soared 60 percent this year. Russia and Ukraine account for almost a third of global wheat exports.

Ukrainian pushback in Kharkiv

Image:
Ukrainian servicemen rest in a recently retaken village north of Kharkiv on Sunday. Mstyslav Chernov / AP

Russia scales back plans for eastern offensive, think tank says

Russian forces have likely abandoned plans to seize territory in parts of Ukraine’s east and will likely concentrate on taking over the Luhansk region of the Donbas, according to the Institute for the Study of War.

The think tank, which provides daily updates on the military situation, said that Russian forces have probably given up plans to complete “a large-scale encirclement of Ukrainian units from Donetsk City to Izyum. Moscow has also likely scaled down plans to push 30 miles north from the city of Slovyansk to Izyum.”

The apparent reduction to the military’s ambitions in its eastern offensive comes as Russian forces have likely run short of trained reservists, the institute said. Russia said last month that its goal was to achieve the “full liberation of the Donetsk and Luhansk republics,” which together make up the Donbas region.

Ukrainian forces appear to reach Russian border in Kharkiv region

Ukrainian forces reached the border with Russia north of Kharkiv, the country’s second-largest city, the head of the regional administration said early Monday.

“We are proud of the soldiers of the 227th Battalion of the 127th Brigade of the Territorial Defense Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, who restored the border sign on the state border!” Oleh Synegubov wrote in a post on Telegram.

In a video included with the post, Ukrainian fighters proudly posed with a blue and yellow outpost. They launched a counterattack to push Russian troops back from the area in recent weeks.

Ukrainians react with joy to Eurovision win

May 15, 202201:21
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