Ukraine, Briefly

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  • Finland said Sunday that it will apply to join NATO, abandoning decades of neutrality and defying Russian threats of retaliation as the Nordic nation seeks to improve its security following the outbreak of the Ukrainian war, CNN noted. Russia had previously warned that such a move would be a “mistake.” On Saturday, Moscow cut its electricity supply to the Nordic country following problems receiving payments. At the same time, Sweden’s governing party said that it will vote in favor of joining NATO, thereby ensuring that the Nordic country would abandon its 200-year neutrality and seek membership in the Western military alliance, the New York Times wrote.
  • Even so, Turkey said it does not have a “favorable opinion” about Sweden and Finland joining NATO, Fox News added. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan noted that Sweden and other Scandinavian countries “are guesthouses for terrorist organizations,” referring to their alleged support of Kurds.
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy welcomed a delegation of US Republican senators to Ukraine over the weekend, calling it a powerful signal of bipartisan support for Ukraine from Congress and the American people, Politico wrote. Meanwhile, Zelenskyy signed a new law banning pro-Russian political parties that engage in anti-Ukrainian activities, Radio Free Europe reported.
  • The Group of Seven’s foreign ministers agreed on Saturday to further isolate Russia economically and politically, to continue sending weaponry to Ukraine and to combat what Germany’s foreign minister called Moscow’s “wheat war,” according to Voice of America. Even so, India halted wheat exports Saturday, just days after declaring it was targeting record shipments this year, as a blistering heatwave reduced output and local prices reached a record high, Reuters added. Shortages of wheat are dire, especially in the Middle East and North Africa, which import most of their supplies from Ukraine and Russia.
  • Britain imposed further sanctions against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s family members and childhood acquaintances on Friday, including his ex-wife, first cousins and a woman commonly recognized as his girlfriend, former gymnast Alina Kabaeva, the Washington Post wrote.
  • Ukraine launched a counteroffensive in the eastern city of Izyum, with the goal of cutting Russian supply routes to the Donbas area, as Ukrainian soldiers cleared settlements north of Kharkiv, the Wall Street Journal reported. Meanwhile, the head of Georgia’s separatist province of South Ossetia has scheduled a vote on joining Russia on July 17, according to Al Jazeera,
  • Ukraine won Europe’s song competition Eurovision, Politico added. The Ukrainian band Kalush Orchestra picked up a record popular vote after playing a folk-rap melody and offering a plea for the besieged city of Mariupol in eastern Ukraine.

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