NATO sees Russia’s war faltering, considers alliance expansion

A senior NATO official says Russia’s military advance in Ukraine appears to be faltering and has expressed hope Kiev can win the war

Top NATO diplomats will meet in Berlin on Sunday to discuss continued support for Ukraine and steps by Finland, Sweden and others to join the Western alliance in the face of threats from Russia.

“The brutal invasion (by) Russia is losing momentum,” NATO deputy secretary general Mircea Geoana told reporters. “We know that with the courage of the Ukrainian people and army, and with our help, Ukraine can win this war.”

Geoana, who chaired the meeting as NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg recovers from a COVID-19 infection, said Ukraine’s supporters were “united, we are strong, will continue to help Ukraine win this war.”

An important topic discussed in Berlin is the extension of NATO beyond the current 30 member states.

Finland and Sweden have already taken steps to join the alliance, while Georgia’s bid is being renegotiated, despite strong warnings from Moscow about the ramifications if its neighbor joins NATO.

“Finland and Sweden are already NATO’s closest partners,” Geoana said, adding that he expected allies to positively evaluate their applications.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said her country and others made it clear at a dinner late Saturday that they would be ready to accelerate the national ratification process for Finland and Sweden.

“If these two countries decide to join, they could join very soon,” she said.

Denmark’s foreign minister rejected suggestions that objections from Russian President Vladimir Putin could hinder the alliance from admitting new members.

“Every European country has a fundamental right to choose its own security regime,” Jeppe Kofod told reporters.

“We are now seeing a world where the enemy of democracy number one is Putin and the thinking he represents,” he said, adding that NATO would also stand alongside other countries, such as Georgia, which he said Russia had created. were “instrumented”. †

Britain’s top diplomat said NATO members would also discuss security issues outside of Europe during their meeting on Sunday – a reference to growing unease among democratic nations over China’s rise.

“In addition to protecting Euro-Atlantic security, we also need to watch out for the security of the Indo-Pacific,” said Secretary of State Liz Truss.

The meeting this week follows a meeting of foreign ministers from the Group of Seven Leading Economies on Germany’s Baltic Sea coast. Officials there expressed strong support for Ukraine and warned that Russia’s blockade of grain exports from Ukrainian ports threatens to spark a global food crisis.

Follow the AP’s coverage of the war at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

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