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TOPIC: nato

Russia

How The War In Ukraine Could Overturn Everyone's Plans For The Arctic

Russia owns 60% of Arctic coastline and half of the region's population. In recent history, NATO has not been overly concerned with the defense of the Arctic region because the U.S. military has been focused on the Middle East. This is all changing since Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

-Analysis-

KYIV — As important as the Arctic is for studying climate control and ecology, various states have eyes on it for another reason: resources. Climate change has made the Arctic more accessible for mining, and much of that area is in the Russian Arctic. In order to exploit these potential natural resources, Russia turned to foreign investors and foreign technology, from both the West and China. The war in Ukraine is throwing all of that into question.

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Russia's invasion of Ukraine will have a profoundly devastating impact on the development of Russian Arctic infrastructure, as well as shipping routes through the Arctic. Western companies have left or are about to leave the market, and counter-sanctions threaten those who still cooperate with the Russians.

Given that Russia does not produce the sophisticated equipment to operate in such a complex region and soon will not even be able to repair the equipment it possesses, we can expect Russia's activity in the Arctic to slow down.

Yet, Vladimir Putin has continued to emphasize the Arctic as a priority region, and extended invitations to cooperate to both India and China.

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War In Ukraine, Day 265: NATO Escalation Averted After Poland Confirms Missile Strike Was Accident

Warsaw says that the missile that hit Poland was probably a Ukrainian air defense missile that went astray. The Russian-made missile fell on the Polish village of Przewodów, near the border with Ukraine, killing two people late Tuesday.

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Even though the missile was made in Russia, initial US assessments indicated that it had originated in Ukraine.

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Tensions In Norway Border Town, A Perfect Kremlin Recipe To Divide The West

In a remote region of Norway, a tense standoff is taking place between a tiny town and its giant neighbor to the east, Russia. The Kremlin is accused of using the area as as a staging ground for its policies to divide the West.

Russia's invasion of Ukraine has led to its most tense relations with the West since the Cold War, playing out in the halls of international diplomacy and the global movement of arms and energy supplies. But the showdown is also alive on more local settings, most recently pitting Norway's remote northeastern region of Finnmark against its giant neighbor to the east.

The latest escalation in a series of events occurred last Saturday when Russian Consul General Nikolai Konygin was set to give a speech in the small town of Kirkenes to commemorate the Red Army’s liberation of the town from Nazi Germany and their Norwegian collaborators.

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Konygin, who was accompanied by visitors the Russian border city of Nikel, was met with Norwegian protesters who turned their back on the Consul General during the speech and began waving Ukrainian flags. The scene looked like a miniature battlefield as the Russian entourage remained facing the consul general while waving Russian flags.

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Gotland, The Swedish Island Standing Between Russia And NATO Vulnerability

The Swedish island of Gotland is the last bastion between Russia and the entire Baltic region. Sweden has been busy fortifying the island, with the stakes even higher as Stockholm is set to join NATO, and life for locals makes it clear that something has changed.

VISBY (Gotland) — Dag Svensson is kneeling on the ground in full combat gear. Propped on his shoulder is a 12-kilogram anti-tank guided missile, also known as an NLAW. Under the stern gaze of his captain, Svensson takes aim — a red laser dot in the scope indicates his target — and releases the safety with the fingers of his right hand and presses the ignition button.

There is no recoil from the rocket today, instead a mechanical whirring comes from the housing. Dag's captain is happy, so is Dag.

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"I could fire in the field at any time," he says confidently. It is also clear what he would aim for if the exercise turned into an emergency: "We are training here to meet the Russians."

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In The News
Cameron Manley, Sophia Constantino, Bertrand Hauger, Anne-Sophie Goninet and Jeff Israely

Six Hundred And Counting — Russia Losing Ground, Town By Town

Russia has begun evacuating pro-Moscow residents in the Kherson region after a Russian official in the partially occupied area said residents should leave for their own safety.

Ukraine’s armed forces have retaken more than 600 localities under Russian occupation in the past month, including 75 in the strategic Kherson region, Ukraine's Ministry for Reintegration of the Temporary Occupied Territories said.

The ministry said 502 towns and villages have been liberated in the northeast Kharkiv region, 43 in the Donetsk region and seven in the Luhansk region.

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"The area of liberated Ukrainian territories has increased significantly," the ministry said in a statement on its website.

In perhaps another show of its weakened hold on recently occupied territories, Russia has begun evacuating pro-Moscow residents in the Kherson region after a Russian official in the partially occupied area said residents should leave for their own safety.

Russia’s TASS news agency reported a first group of civilians from Kherson was expected to land in Russia’s Rostov region as soon as Friday, while more will move to Crimea.

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In The News
Cameron Manley, Sophia Constantino, Bertrand Hauger, Anne-Sophie Goninet and Jeff Israely

Putin Meets With Erdogan, Turkish Leader Emerges As Most Likely Peacemaker

“Our goal is to continue the momentum that has been achieved and bring an end to the bloodshed as soon as possible,” Erdogan said just before his meeting with Putin, referring to earlier agreements he helped seal.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin met Thursday in Astana, Kazakhstan, with the world holding out slim hope of a peace deal to halt the war in Ukraine.

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The two sides in the war currently appear too far apart to even begin negotiations, but Erdogan has maintained regular contact with both Moscow and Kyiv, establishing himself as an indispensable diplomatic resource for trying to halt the bloodshed in Ukraine and eventual help orchestrate a peace accord.

Speaking just before his encounter with Putin, Erdogan said Turkey’s aim is to orchestrate a ceasefire. “Our goal is to continue the momentum that has been achieved and bring an end to the bloodshed as soon as possible,” the Turkish leader said, referring to earlier agreements he helped seal.

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Geopolitics
Christoph B. Schiltz

Why Fast-Tracking Ukraine's NATO Entry Is Such A Bad Idea

Ukraine's President Zelensky should not be putting pressure for NATO membership now. It raises the risk of a wider war, and the focus should be on continuing arms deliveries from the West. After all, peace will be decided on the battlefield.

-OpEd-

Nine NATO member states from Eastern Europe and the Western Balkans are now putting pressure on the military alliance to welcome Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has been calling for "accelerated accession."

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As understandable as it is that his country wants to join a strong defensive military alliance like NATO, the timing is wrong. Of course, we must acknowledge the Ukrainian people's heroic fight for survival. But Zelensky must be careful not to overstretch the West's willingness to support him.

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In The News
Lisa Berdet, Lila Paulou, Chloé Touchard and Bertrand Hauger

Offline Zaporizhzhia, Planning Abe’s Funeral, Djoko Out Of U.S. Open

👋 Alo!*

Welcome to Friday, where tension is high around Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia power plant, Japan announces expected cost of former PM Shinzo Abe’s funeral, and unvaccinated tennis champion Novak Djokovic won’t be let in for the U.S. Open. Meanwhile, for NGO Climate Tracker, Camila Parodi looks at the disastrous environmental and human cost of lithium production.

[*Haitian Creole]

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War
Volodymyr Horbulin

The Ukraine War Has Reached A Stalemate — So What Happens Now?

It's been more than 150 days of Putin's relentless invasion, and a clear-eyed view of the war now is neither side is winning. This will make bold decisions by Ukraine's allies essential to any hope for victory.

KYIV — The Ukrainian army received high-precision long-range artillery systems on July 18, prompting the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Valerii Zaluzhnyi to declare that after the occupation of the eastern cities of Sieverodonetsk and Lysychansk, the Armed Forces had managed to stabilize the situation.

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In fact, a better way to characterize the situation is that we've been in a stalemate since June. The enemy is no longer able to actively attack, and the defenders cannot yet counter-attack.

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Geopolitics
Johannes Jauhiainen

Why Turkey Could Still Block NATO Membership For Sweden And Finland

The U.S. Senate has ratified NATO membership for the two Nordic countries. But one sticking point remains: Turkey wants the Nordic nations to adopt tougher anti-Kurdish policies.

HELSINKI — Sweden's and Finland's NATO membership took another leap forward this week as the United States voted in favor of the Nordic countries joining the military alliance, with 95 senators for and one against. After the vote Wednesday night, the ratification is still pending in seven countries. But all eyes will now be on just one: Turkey.

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NATO cannot accept new members without the green light of all its member states, so Helsinki and Stockholm have had no other choice than to listen to Ankara’s demands. Many fear that this will make it more difficult to criticize Turkey for human rights violations — something both Nordic countries have done in the past.

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Geopolitics
Johannes Jauhiainen

Finland May Ban Tourist Visas For Russians In New Move By Nordic Neighbor

Finland has recently joined Sweden in seeking NATO membership in response to Russia’s war in Ukraine. Now Finnish politicians say they also support blocking Russian tourists from coming across the 1,340-km-long border the two countries share. It would be a bold move.

HELSINKI — For Russians, particularly the rising middle class in and around the city of Saint Petersburg, Finland has become a favorite travel destination. The capital Helsinki is only a three-and-half hour train ride away, the scenic Finnish lakeside town of Imatra sits across the border from Svetogorsk and Russian skiers flock to Lapland mountain resorts each winter.

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But this tourist traffic may be about to vanish as a growing number of Finnish politicians are calling for restrictions on visas, a move that would broaden the scope of the sanctions against Russia to target ordinary people in addition to state enterprises, public officials and Oligarchs.

Such a clampdown would also come after the historic decision of Finland, which shares a 1,340 kilometer (830 mile) border with Russia, to seek NATO membership (alongside Sweden) in response to the invasion of Moscow’s southern neighbor, Ukraine.

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Geopolitics
Clemens Wergin

Ukraine's Wounded v. Russian Bank Accounts? Why Swiss "Neutrality" Is Pure Hypocrisy

Switzerland has rejected a NATO request to take in injured Ukrainian soldiers, arguing it would compromise its neutrality. This is an old game of masking moral cowardice by a country that has profited off the Putin regime.

-OpEd-

BERLIN — In recent weeks, NATO sent out a request to members and partners asking them to take in wounded Ukrainians for treatment. Its partner country Switzerland declined the request. It said it did not want to treat wounded soldiers because they might return to the war. This, they said, would endanger Switzerland's neutrality, the famous core principle of Swiss foreign policy.

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But they also don't want to take in wounded civilians for treatment. Because it is "almost impossible to distinguish civilians from soldiers," as Swiss diplomat and politician Johannes Matyassy explained.

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