Greece is buying 20 f-35 fighter jets, a further sign of heightening international tensions following Russia’s war in Ukraine.
Finland and Sweden have formally been invited to join NATO after Turkey dropped its objection.
Finland officially applied for NATO membership weeks ago. Russia threatened to cut Finland’s electricity supply when they threatened to join NATO.
Sweden plans to apply to NATO by mid-May. Finnish leaders have also confirmed their support for joining NATO. Last month, Russia warned that it will deploy nuclear missiles if Finland and Sweden join NATO. Russia moved heavy weapons systems to the border of Finland just hours after warning it not to join NATO.
Russia has sent in its infamous neo-Nazi mercenaries to the Ukraine, belying its claim to be “denazifying” the country. This, among other things, prompted Japan to join the growing number of countries to condemn Russia’s war crimes in the Ukraine. As Russians retreat from Ukrainian cities, more and more innocent civilians are being found dead. Ukrainian President Zelensky is still fighting for peace, but he has pointed out that Russian atrocities complicate peace talks.
According to the European Union, Russian troops killed 300 civilians in Ukrainian town of Bucha. As a result, the United States is considering further sanctions against Russia.
Biden has condemned Putin in harsh, personal terms, saying, “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power.” He emphasized, however, that he is not condemning the Russian people. The Kremlin lashed back, saying Biden has no authority to decide who is in power in Russia.
The UK says there is strong evidence that Putin is responsible for war crimes in Ukraine. The United States Senate has condemned Vladimir Putin as a war criminal.
NATO has brought together 30,000 troops and 50 warships in Norway amid the rising tensions in the region.
Congress has approve a massive aid package of $13.6 billion for Ukraine. The UK and the United States are both banning imports of Russian oil. Pressure is mounting for Coca-Cola and McDonald’s to pull out of Russia, while gaming companies like Ubisoft, Blizzard, and EA. Visa and Mastercard have ceased all operations in Russia. Earlier this week, Anonymous has hacked into the Russian space agency, the Space Research Institute (IKI), and leaked the files. The hacking group also threatened to continue its operations unless Russia left the Ukraine. Pressure is mounting from all sides. A Russian oligarch has put a $1 million bounty on Putin, signaling a massive shift in sentiments in Russia.
According to a Ukrainian intelligence report, Putin is “furious’ that the Ukraine invasion hasn’t been “easy.” US officials have also reported that Putin is lashing out at his inner circle out of frustration.
The international community is sending Russia thousands of weapons and units of ammunition as Russia steps up its attacks. Yesterday, the president of Ukraine has rejected an offer of evacuation from the United States government. “The fight is here; I need ammunition, not a ride,” Zelensky said.
President Biden used the word “invasion” in describing the recent Russian military moves, signaling an intensification of the conflict. Western leaders quickly announced a series of sanctions against Russia, while the Ukrainian government has begun drafting reservists aged 18-60..
Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered troops into Ukrainian separatists regions, Putin justified the move by citing alleged Ukrainian attacks on Russia––which Kyiv claims is a total fallacy.
US intelligence suggested that Russian commanders had orders to invade Ukraine earlier this week. Last week, Biden said that he is now convinced Putin will invade the Ukraine, but even still he is leaving the door open for diplomacy.
The Russian military is holding drills near Ukraine, saying the talks with the United States are “on the floor.”
International insurance companies will no longer cover flights traveling through Ukrainian airspace, meaning flights that do so will be grounded or canceled.
The United States is evacuating most of its Ukraine embassy staff over fears of an imminent Russian invasion. New intelligence suggests that Russia is prepared to invade the Ukraine before the Olympics end. Allegedly, intelligence services came across a detailed plan for the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 16. The United States has sent 3,000 more troops to Poland.
At the same time, President Biden and other leaders are seeking a diplomatic solutions to the mounting conflict in the Ukraine. Biden called the Russian President Vladimir Putin to warn him that any invasion would result in “swift and severe” cost to Russia, not only in terms of human suffering but also in terms of Russia’s reputation on the international arena.
Earlier sources suggested that Russia would wait until the Olympics were over. The Russian Navy has sent 30 ships to the Black Sea for military exercises, which is of course exacerbating the already high tensions. Countries around the world have begun encouraging their nationals to leave the Ukraine as a result. The British, Norwegian, and German governments all encouraged their citizens to leave the Ukraine. Israel has begun evacuating its embassy staff and has also issued a travel warning. Even Russia is evacuating its embassy staff.