NATO Military Official Notes Change In Momentum For Ukraine; Russian Soldier Pleads ‘fully’ Guilty To War Crimes; Here’s The Latest

NATO Military Official Notes Change In Momentum For Ukraine; Russian Soldier Pleads ‘fully’ Guilty To War Crimes; Here’s The Latest

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1 min agoAnalysis: The most striking aspect of Sweden and Finland’s application to join NATOAnalysis from CNN’s Stephen Collinson

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg poses with application documents presented by Finland and Sweden’s Ambassadors to NATO during a ceremony in Brussels, on May 18. (Johanna Geron/Pool/AFP/Getty Images)The most striking aspect of Sweden and Finland’s application to join NATO is how little debate there is about whether it’s a wise idea.

The entry of the two Nordic nations would be the most significant geopolitical outcome of the Ukraine war, transforming the strategic security picture in northeastern Europe and adding hundreds of miles of direct NATO borders with Russia.

But expanding NATO could also trigger serious reverberations.

Doubling the security alliance’s direct frontier with Russia would be a personal blow for Vladimir Putin, who has focused on undermining the Western alliance since he first became Russia’s President, more than 20 years ago. 

And if Putin felt Russia was already being hemmed in on its western flank, could adding two more NATO members during the worst tension between the West and Moscow in decades exacerbate the Russian leader’s paranoia? 

Read the full analysis:

30 min agoIt’s 7 a.m. in Kyiv. Here’s what you need to knowNATO doesn’t expect significant gains for either side on the battlefield in Ukraine in the coming weeks. “I think we’ll be in a standstill for a while,” a NATO military official with knowledge of the intelligence said.

Here’s the latest on the war in Ukraine:

Turkey could hold up NATO bids: Turkey’s foreign minister said it is “unacceptable” for countries that want to become NATO members to impose defense export restrictions and support organizations that threaten Turkey. Ankara has said it would not support Finland and Sweden’s bids to become NATO members if they sanction Turkey. The Nordic nations’ leaders are set to meet US President Joe Biden on Thursday. Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan called their NATO application a “watershed moment in European security.”

Shift in Ukraine: A NATO military official with knowledge of the intelligence said the military alliance is seeing momentum in the war is shifting significantly in favor of Ukraine. The debate within NATO circles, the official said, is now over whether it is possible for Kyiv to retake Crimea and the Donbas territories. Meanwhile, the Ukrainian armed forces say they have recaptured another settlement in the Kharkiv region, as troops continue their counterattacks in the area.

US confirms ambassador: The US Senate has confirmed career foreign service officer Bridget Brink as US ambassador to Ukraine. The embassy has been without a confirmed ambassador since Marie Yovanovitch was recalled in May 2019 by then-President Donald Trump.Emergency food assistance: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the US would give an additional $215 million in new emergency food assistance for Ukraine and called on other countries to swiftly aid the growing global food crisis due to Russia’s invasion. Blinken also said it is “false” that the sanctions imposed on Russia by the US and its allies have deepened the food crisis.War crimes trial: A 21-year-old captured Russian soldier plead “fully” guilty to war crimes at a trial in Kyiv. Vadim Shishimarin is accused of killing a 62-year-old man in the Sumy region. It is the first war crimes trial held since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24. Mariupol evacuations: Russia’s Defense Ministry said on Wednesday that a total of 959 Ukrainian soldiers, including 80 wounded, had laid down their arms and surrendered at the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol since May 16. The Ukrainian President said on Tuesday the negotiation process on evacuating the last soldiers from the complex continues with Russia.53 min agoFormer Russian colonel contradicts earlier statements criticizing Russia’s military operations in UkraineFrom CNN’s Katya Krebs and Hira Humayun

Retired Russian colonel Mikhail Khodarenok speaks on Russian state TV on Wednesday. (Rossiya One)Retired Russian colonel Mikhail Khodarenok said any talk about Ukraine being able to counterattack is a “big exaggeration,” just a day after he criticized Russia’s military operations in Ukraine saying the situation for Russia could “get worse.”

Speaking to a Russian state TV channel on Wednesday, Khodarenok said, “When people talk about Ukraine acquiring the ability to counterattack, well it’s a big exaggeration. And as concerns the actions of our supreme command, there is every reason to believe that the implementation of these plans will in the very near future give Ukraine an unpleasant surprise.”He also said it would be impossible for the Ukrainian armed forces to gain aerial supremacy in the next few months, and in terms of gaining naval supremacy, he said, “while our Black Sea Fleet is in the Black Sea, Ukraine’s Black Sea Fleet having supremacy is out of the question.”

On Tuesday however, Khodarenok said information being spread about a “moral or psychological breakdown” of Ukrainian armed forces is not even “close to reality.” He also said Ukraine could arm 1 million people, and that Russia needs to consider that in its

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