Live updates | Turkish president discusses NATO membership


ANKARA, Turkey – The Turkish president said he was conducting “telephone diplomacy” with his foreign counterparts on Sweden and Finland’s bids to join NATO.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reiterated on Friday that his country is determined not to approve the alliance membership of countries that Turkey accuses of supporting “terrorist organisations”.

Erdogan prevented Sweden and Finland from joining the alliance. He accuses Stockholm – and to a lesser extent Helsinki – of supporting the Kurdish Workers’ Party, or the PKK, and other groups Turkey sees as terrorists and threats to its national security.

Turkey, which has the second largest army in NATO, accuses both Nordic countries of imposing restrictions on exports of defense industry equipment to Turkey and not extraditing suspects wanted by Turkey.

Erdogan told reporters that he met with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte on Friday and will hold further talks with British and Finnish leaders on Saturday.

Sweden and Finland formally applied to join the military alliance this week. All 30 NATO members must approve the accession of new members.



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Warsaw, Poland – Poland and Portugal are trying to find ways to get Ukraine into the European Union, even if some countries in the bloc are giving up on giving it quick access.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki announced the effort after meeting with visiting Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa in Warsaw on Friday.

“If some EU countries protest strongly, we want to develop a suitable package together with Portugal that will be attractive to Ukraine and show that Ukraine’s place is in the EU,” Morawiecki said.

For example, Germany opposed the rapid accession of Ukraine to the EU, which is now waging a relentless war against the Russian invasion. All 27 EU members must approve an enlargement to include Ukraine.

Costa said EU leaders should not stick to inflexible regulations, but “be pragmatic and respond to current events”. He called for a decision at the EU summit scheduled for June.


KOENIGSWINTER, Germany – Seven leading economies are ready to agree on more than $18 billion in aid to Ukraine’s defense efforts, Germany’s finance minister said.

In an interview with Bloomberg Television on Friday, Finance Minister Christian Lindner said that Ukrainians resisting Russia’s occupation “defend not only themselves but also our values.”

A representative from the US Treasury Department declined to confirm the amount to be allocated at the G-7 finance ministers meeting in Germany, and a spokesperson for the German finance ministry declined to comment to the Associated Press.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and other leaders spoke this week about the need for the Allies to pool enough additional aid to help “bypass” the Russian invasion of Ukraine.


KYIV, Ukraine – Russian forces attacked the cities of Lysychansk and Severodonetsk in Ukraine’s eastern region of Luhansk, the regional governor said on Friday.

In a Telegram messaging app post on Friday, Serhiy Haidai said 12 people were killed in the attack in Severodonetsk and more than 60 houses were destroyed across the region.

He added that the attack on Severodonetsk “was unsuccessful – the Russians suffered personnel losses and were withdrawn”. His words could not be independently verified.

The Ukrainian General Staff also said in Friday’s morning update that the Russians tried to attack Severodonetsk, but withdrew after suffering losses.


KYIV, Ukraine – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked the United States for the $40 billion aid package that received final congressional approval on Thursday.

“This is a demonstration of strong leadership and a necessary contribution to our common defense of freedom,” Zelenskyy said in his nightly video speech to the nation.

He also thanked the European Union for its support.

“And for our partners, it’s not just an expense or a gift. It’s their contribution to security,” said Zelenskyy. We must jointly ensure that Russia’s aggression against our state does not succeed militarily, economically or in any other way.”

Zelenskyy said Ukraine’s monthly budget deficit is $5 billion and “that’s why we need quick and adequate financial support to survive in the freedom fight.”

The United States announced that it has shipped $100 million of military equipment to Ukraine, apart from the $40 billion approved by Congress. The latest package includes 18 howitzer and anti-artillery radar systems, both of which the US has supplied to Ukraine since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24.


KYIV, Ukraine – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that Russian troops are intensifying their offensive in Donbas.

“There’s hell out there, and that’s no exaggeration,” he said in his nightly video talk to the nation. “Relentless and completely senseless bombardment of Severodonetsk. There are twelve dead and dozens injured in just one day.”

Zelenskyy said that Russia’s airstrikes on the northeastern Chernihiv area included a horrific attack on the village of Desna, where many died and rescuers were still passing through the rubble.

“The bombing and bombing of our other cities, the air and missile attacks of the Russian army, not just wartime military operations… It is a deliberate and murderous attempt to kill as many Ukrainians as possible,” Zelenskyy said. “To destroy more homes, public sites, businesses. This is what will be characterized as the genocide of the Ukrainian people and the occupiers will surely be brought to justice.”


A veteran Russian rock musician is accused of tarnishing the military’s reputation for remarks he made at a concert Wednesday.

Charges against Yuri Shevchuk, the soloist of the DDT group, were sent to the administrative court on Thursday. Can be fined up to 50,000 rubles ($800).

After the war began, Russia passed a tougher law punishable by up to 15 years in prison for the spread of “fake news” about the conflict.

During the concert in Ufa, Shevchuk questioned the aims of the war and why young Russians and Ukrainians fought and died in a war that claimed civilian lives.

The old, women and children are dying,” he said. “For some kind of Napoleonic plans of our Last Caesar, right?”

“The homeland, my friends, is not the ass of a president that you have to lick and kiss all the time. Homeland is a poor grandmother selling potatoes at the train station. This is the homeland,” he said.


WASHINGTON — The United States announced on Thursday that it has shipped $100 million of military equipment to Ukraine, apart from the $40 billion approved by Congress on Thursday.

The latest package includes 18 more howitzer and artillery radar systems the US has supplied to Ukraine since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24. Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said the equipment would be in the hands of the Ukrainians. “very, very soon” forces.

With this latest shipment, the United States has provided nearly $4 billion in military aid since February 24 and $6.6 billion since 2014, when Russia took and annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine.

Kirby said he would consult with Ukraine on what it needs in terms of equipment, as the United States has often done since the invasion.


WARSAW, Poland – Polish President Andrzej Duda, the country’s defense minister and the US ambassador to Poland watched a joint military exercise called DEFENDER-Europe 22 by Polish, US, French and Swedish troops in northeastern Poland on Thursday.

The soldiers’ task was to cross the Narew River near the town of Nowogrod, in an area about two hours from the borders of Russia’s Kaliningrad outer region and Russia’s ally Belarus.

Duda said everyone is “aware of the potential threat” in the region as Ukraine is fighting against Russia’s invasion.

Duda said the previously planned exercise will help “show NATO’s cooperation and effectiveness in collective defense”.

Copyright © 2022 The Washington Times, LLC.


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