Finland joins NATO…..Somerthing Russian President Putin has NOT wanted to see…
President Biden to send $2.6 Billion in military aid to the Ukraine including more air defense hardware….
The fight for Bakhmut contiunes which includes drone warfare….
And the Ukraine forces have gotten better at shooting the Iran made drone lauched at them….
Russia is looking for another private military group to replace the Wagner Group which is at odds with the Russian military leadership…..
The military alliance expanded to 31 members on Tuesday, a strategic setback for President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia. Here’s what we are covering:
NATO welcomes Finland as a member, raising its flag in a symbol of the power shift spurred by the war.
Days into Russia’s U.N. Security Council presidency, Britain draws a line.
In the long, bitter battle for Bakhmut, drones are playing a bloody role.
A new $2.6 billion package of U.S. military aid to Ukraine includes $500 million for immediate supplies.
Russian investigators charge a suspect with terrorism offenses in the killing of a pro-war blogger.
The State Department summoned Russia’s ambassador over the detention of an American reporter.
The U.N. rights council chooses a veteran activist to investigate abuses in Russia.
Russia is laying mines and building trenches in the south to defend against a possible counteroffensive, a Ukrainian official says….
Earlier Tuesday, Finland became a member of NATO, ending its long-standing military nonalignment in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The move reshapes European security, extending the transatlantic military alliance’s reach to the continent’s Arctic frontier and doubling its land border with Russia.
Here’s the latest on the war and its ripple effects across the globe.
- President Biden said Tuesday that he expected Sweden would soon become a NATO member. Sweden, which applied to join on the same day as Finland, is awaiting the approval of alliance members Turkey and Hungary. “When Putin launched his brutal war of aggression against the people of Ukraine, he thought he could divide Europe and NATO. He was wrong,” Biden said in a statement. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) issued a separate but similar statement, welcoming Finland and describing NATO as “the most successful alliance in the history of the human race.”
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky congratulated Finland on joining NATO. Amid “Russian aggression, the Alliance became the only effective guarantee of security in the region,” he said in a statement posted to Telegram. He said he hoped an upcoming NATO summit in Lithuania would “bring Ukraine closer to our Euro-Atlantic goal.”
- Finland’s accession to NATO “forces us to take countermeasures to ensure our security,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in a call with journalists that took place before Finland formally became a member. “NATO expansion is an encroachment on our security and the national interests of the Russian Federation,” he said. Any response from Moscow will depend on how NATO chooses to deploy weaponry on the territory of its newest member, he added.
- In a Moscow court appearance Tuesday, Russian authorities charged a 26-year-old antiwar activist with carrying out a terrorist attack and illegally carrying explosives. Russia’s Investigative Committee accused Daria Trepova of handing pro-Kremlin blogger Vladlen Tatarsky, whose real name was Maxim Fomin, an explosive figurine, which detonated Sunday in a cafe where Tatarsky was slated to speak. Without providing evidence, officials also accused Trepova of following orders from Ukraine. Trepova’s husband said she was framed. Forty people were injured in the explosion in St. Petersburg, Russian state media reported Tuesday.
- The new U.S. weapons package for Ukraine that is to be pulled from U.S. stocks will include artillery and mortar rounds, 120mm and 105mm tank ammunition, grenade launchers and munitions for the Patriot air defense missile system, the Pentagon said. The Pentagon also said it will use a fund known as the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative to provide the country with a variety of additional air defenses, including systems that can counter drones.
- Russia’s military equipped Belarusian aircraft with nuclear weapon capabilities, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Tuesday. “An Iskander-M short-range missile system has been delivered to the Belarusian armed forces. It can fire conventional and nuclear missiles,” Shoigu said. Belarusian crews were being trained to operate the systems to ensure “the security of the Union State,” Shoigu said, referring to the name for the alliance between Belarus and Russia.
- The case of Evan Gershkovich, the American reporter for the Wall Street Journal detained in Russia last week, is “a priority for this president,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Tuesday. “These charges are ridiculous. Evan is not a spy.” Gershkovich appealed his detention in an appearance before a Moscow court Tuesday, a court press service told local news outlets. A date has not yet been set to consider the appeal.
- “Evan’s lawyers were able to meet with him in prison today. They said Evan’s health is good, and he is grateful for the outpouring of support from around the world,” Wall Street Journal publisher Almar Latour and editor in chief Emma Tucker said in a statement Tuesday. “His imprisonment is wholly unjustified and an attack on a free press. We are doing everything in our power to bring Evan home safely and will not rest until he is reunited with his family.”
- European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen held a phone call with Zelensky ahead of her visit this week to China. Ukraine will be “an important topic” of her meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Chinese Premier Li Qiang, she said in a tweet. French President Emmanuel Macron also will begin a trip to China on Wednesday.
- Zelensky delivered a virtual address to U.S. governors on Tuesday. “All of you know very well what is to rebuild your life after a devastating tornado,” Zelensky told the National Governors Association. “But we are doing it because of the human element, human evil, and not a natural cataclysm.” He thanked them for various types of support — from producing antitank systems to helping train Ukrainian military — and invited them to visit Ukraine.
- The International Atomic Energy Agency’s director general is set to visit the Russian city of Kaliningrad on Wednesday, Russian state news agency Tass reported. Last week, Rafael Mariano Grossi toured the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in Ukraine, where he described safety proposals at the plant, Europe’s largest, as “a work in progress.” The plant was seized by Russian forces last year, and Grossi and other officials have warned of the risk of a nuclear accident amid increasing clashes between Russian and Ukrainian forces in the area.
- Moscow is probably seeking to develop private military alternatives to the Wagner Group for combat in Ukraine, Britain’s Defense Ministry said. “Russia’s military leadership likely wants a replacement PMC that it has more control over,” defense intelligence officials said, referring to private military companies. There has been a “high-profile feud” between Kremlin defense officials and Wagner, the officials suggested.
- Russia has built dozens of trenches in Crimea, the peninsula it illegally annexed in 2014, along with deep ditches designed to trap tanks and heavy vehicles. The fortifications can be seen on satellite images provided to The Washington Post by Maxar, a commercial space technology company. They have sprung up fast, ahead of an anticipated spring offensive by Ukraine.
- Russian forces deployed 17 Iranian-made Shahed drones against Ukrainian targets overnight, Ukraine’s southern military command said Tuesday. Ukrainian forces claimed to have destroyed 14 of the drones but said one caused a fire to break out at an industrial site in the Black Sea port city of Odessa. No casualties were reported….
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