Sweden moves toward NATO membership
A security policy review by parties in Sweden’s parliament says NATO membership would reduce the risk of conflict in northern Europe, opening the way to a government decision on whether to apply in the next few days.
A special committee in similarly non-aligned neighbouring Finland will announce a formal decision of whether to join NATO on Sunday after the country’s president and prime minister said they want their country to join the alliance following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, however, says Turkey does not have a “positive opinion” on Finland and Sweden joining NATO.
G7 ‘strongly united’
France says Group of Seven countries are “strongly united” in backing Ukraine until its “victory” against Russia, as Britain urges more weapons for Kyiv to keep up the pressure against President Vladimir Putin.
“It is very important at this time that we keep up the pressure on Vladimir Putin by supplying more weapons to Ukraine, by increasing the sanctions,” British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss says as she arrives for a second day of talks with her G7 counterparts.
EU pledges extra aid
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell pledges an extra 500 million euros ($520 million) in military aid for Ukraine at the G7 meeting.
The extra cash will raise the EU’s total military aid for Ukraine to two billion euros, he says.
‘Seize Russian assets’: Kyiv
Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba calls on the major industrialised nations to seize and hand over Russian assets to help with rebuilding his war-torn country, as he meets the G7 club in Germany.
And he warns that any omission of an embargo on Russian oil in the EU’s next sanctions package, due to opposition from Hungary, would spell the end of the bloc’s unity, calling it a “critical moment”.
Ukraine’s army says Russian artillery reinforcements have been brought in to shell villages in the northeastern Chernigiv region, near the border with Russia.
Russian troops are trying to establish “full control” over the eastern town of Rubizhne, it says.
Artillery and aviation power are pounding the southern port city of Mariupol, where a number of Ukrainian troops are holding out at a huge steelworks despite a weeks-long siege, it says.
‘Tens of thousands’ of Ukrainians taken: US –
The United States accuses Russia of forcibly taking onto territory under its control tens of thousands of Ukrainians, sending them to “filtration camps” where they are subjected to “brutal interrogations”.
The remarks by Michael Carpenter, the US ambassador to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), support allegations by the Ukrainian government which estimates nearly 1.2 million people have been deported into Russia or Russian-controlled territory.
‘Shot in the back’
Ukrainian prosecutors are investigating a series of war crimes allegedly committed by Russian forces, including the fatal shooting of two unarmed civilians outside Kyiv, CNN reports.
CNN and the BBC release security camera footage showing two Ukrainian civilians shot in the back by Russian soldiers near a car dealership outside of Kyiv on March 16.
One man died on the spot, the other died shortly after. Prosecutors are investigating the attack as a war crime, CNN reports.
More than six million refugees
More than six million refugees have fled Ukraine since Russia’s invasion began on February 24, the UN refugee agency says.
A total of 6,029,705 people had fled Ukraine as of May 11, with Poland hosting the largest number. Women and children represent 90 percent of the refugees.