Ukraine: Moscow Threatens Finland Over NATO, Russia Supposedly Lost Battalion in Failed River Crossing
CCTV caught Russian soldiers killing Ukrainian civilians.
Russian President Vladimir Putin wanted his invasion to stop NATO from expanding to the east.
Putin’s actions did the opposite because Finland and Sweden want to join NATO. Well, Putin threatened Finland if it becomes a member. They share an 800-mile border.
If you remember history I doubt Russia will want to invade Finland.
But what about Ukraine? Also, what would happen to Europe and Russia in the long run if NATO adds the two Nordic countries?
Erdogan Says No to Finland and Sweden
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, you guys (emphasis mine):
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey did not have a “positive opinion” on Finland and Sweden joining Nato and accused Scandinavian countries of harbouring outlawed Kurdish militants.
“We do not have a positive opinion. Scandinavian countries are like a guesthouse for terror organisations,” Erdogan told journalists after Friday prayers in Istanbul.
Erdogan said Turkey’s former rulers “made a mistake” by giving a greenlight for Greece’s NATO membership in 1952.
Grab a mirror, Erdogan.
Did Ukraine Eliminate an Entire Russian Battalion?
Maybe. Ukraine says it did when Russian armored vehicles tried to cross the Siverskyi Donets River:
“Images indicate that during the crossing of the Siverskyi Donets river west of Severodonetsk, Russia lost significant armored maneuver elements of at least one Battalion Tactical Group as well as the deployed pontoon bridging equipment,” the Ministry said in a tweet.
“Conducting river crossings in a contested environment is a highly risky maneuver and speaks to the pressure the Russian commanders are under to make progress in their operations in eastern Ukraine,” the Ministry added.
But “Russian forces have failed to make any significant advances despite concentrating forces in this area after withdrawing and redeploying units from the Kyiv and Chernihiv Oblasts,” it concluded.
But a UK serviceman said Ukraine is likely overestimating the loss:
Security expert and former UK serviceman Justin Crump says the Russian bridging effort “failed spectacularly”. But he says Ukraine’s claim to have wiped out more than 1,000 men is probably overstated.
Speaking to the BBC, the CEO of security consultancy Sibylline Ltd estimates that more like 140-180 Russians were killed.
He explains that 70 or 80 vehicles reportedly destroyed in the Ukrainian attack were unlikely to have been filled with infantrymen – but were instead being used to scope out the area and lay down pontoon bridges.
This particular operation is evidence of Moscow’s tactic of “reconnaissance by fire”, he explains – which means “driving forwards till someone shoots at you”.
The Kremlin’s troops appear to have been attempting to cut off the Ukrainian city of Severodonetsk – but Crump acknowledges there is a lot of uncertainty around the facts.
Video Shows Russian Soldiers Killing Civilians
Russia Regrouping After Kharkiv
Ukraine has pushed Russia away from Kharkiv, but the Russians will likely regroup and move elsewhere:
After taking time to reconstitute its depleted forces, Russia will likely redeploy them to southeastern Ukraine, the ministry said, toward the banks of the Seversky Donets River, to protect its “main force concentration” and “supply routes for operations” around the Russian-controlled city of Izium.
Izium, almost two hours southeast of Kharkiv, was captured by Russian forces in April and has become an important base of operations as Moscow battles to seize more territory in the eastern region known as Donbas, where the fighting is fiercest.
A pro-Russian media outlet, Readkova, reported that a Ukrainian counterattack was attempting to cut off Russian supply lines to Izium earlier this week. The report could not be independently verified. But Ukrainian forces have destroyed several pontoon bridges over the Seversky Donets that the Russian forces were using to transport supplies and military equipment, according to photos posted to Telegram by local Ukrainian officials.
Despite the defeats surrounding Kharkiv, Russian forces have reportedly made gains in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions, which together comprise the Donbas, and where Moscow now controls about 80 percent of the territory. In Luhansk, where Russian shelling rarely relents, “the situation has deteriorated significantly,” in recent days, according to the regional governor, Serhiy Haidai.
Thousands of Bodies Found Near Kyiv
I bet this will happen for years:
The bodies of more than 1,000 civilians have been recovered in areas north of Kyiv, Ukraine, that were occupied by Russian forces, the United Nations human rights chief, Michelle Bachelet, said on Thursday, including several hundred who were summarily executed and others who were shot by snipers.
“The figures will continue to increase,” Ms. Bachelet told a special session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, the second in two weeks, focusing on abuses uncovered by investigators in Bucha, Irpin and other suburbs of Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, that were seized by Russia’s forces in the early stages of its invasion before its focus shifted east.
Russia did not attend the meeting. It withdrew from the council shortly after the United Nations General Assembly voted last month to suspend its membership and snubbed the opportunity to address a special session.
Gennady Gatilov, Russia’s ambassador in Geneva, instead released a statement dismissing the council’s debate as a “stunt” organized by the West to defame Russia.
Moscow described Finland’s intention as “hostile” and made threats toward its neighbor:
Finland and Sweden joining NATO would make them “part of the enemy,” Dmitry Polyanskiy, a deputy Russian ambassador to the U.N. said in an interview posted online Thursday. “If there are NATO detachments in these territories, these territories will become a target or possible target for a strike — in the same way that Russian territory becomes possible target for a strike the moment NATO detachments are introduced” nearby, he told the website UnHerd.
In the short run, NATO wants to make sure Russia won’t do anything to Sweden and Finland before they become official members.
Anne-Marie Slaughter, the CEO of the left-of-center New America think-tank, wrote about the need to slow down in The Financial Times:
All parties concerned should take a deep breath and slow down. The threat of Russia invading either Finland or Sweden is remote. But admitting them to the military alliance will redraw and deepen Europe’s 20th-century divisions in ways that will probably preclude far bolder and braver thinking about how to achieve peace and prosperity in the 21st.
Nato’s immediate aim should be to help Ukrainian forces push Putin far enough back to his starting positions in the east of the country that he is willing to engage in serious peace negotiations. But what does a positive peace look like? Putin will never come to the negotiating table just to ratify a defeat. Turning Russia into North Korea through sanctions will simply push it closer to China. Moreover, a weak and humiliated Russia just means a permanent spoiler in European and global politics.
But Russia not invading Finland and Sweden could be another reason why NATO will make them team members.
Which leads us to…
Why Not Ukraine?
Because NATO knows it will have to get involved and Putin will not stop trying to reclaim Ukraine:
Ukraine, battling a fierce Russian invasion, would benefit immensely from NATO’s defining credo, which says that “an armed attack” against any NATO ally is considered an attack against them all. But President Vladimir V. Putin has tried to justify his invasion by saying that Ukraine’s potential NATO membership threatens Russia, and Washington and its European allies do not want to further antagonize Russia and risk transforming the conflict into an expanded war.
Ukraine might not meet other requirements due to corruption since its independence from the Soviet Union:
To meet one of the three main criteria for entry into NATO, a European nation must demonstrate a commitment to democracy, individual liberty and support for the rule of law. While Ukrainian leaders say they have met that threshold, some American and European officials argue otherwise.
In a 2020 analysis, Transparency International, an anticorruption watchdog, ranked Ukraine 117th out of 180 countries on its corruption index, lower than any NATO nation at the time.
Some Western officials also question whether Ukraine could meet another criterion to contribute to the collective defense of NATO nations, even though Ukraine sent troops to the U.S.-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and has also shown its military prowess during the Russian invasion.
Putin’s full-scale invasion has caused the largest movement of people since WWII:
About 14 million Ukrainians have been forced from their homes—including more than six million who have fled the country—and at least 3,496 civilians have been killed since Russia began its invasion, United Nations officials said.
The number of people uprooted by the fighting amounts to nearly one-third of Ukraine’s prewar population of 44 million. Most of those seeking refuge outside of Ukraine are women, children or the elderly because wartime legislation prevents most men of fighting age from leaving.
Millions more are effectively trapped in Ukraine, the U.N. said, estimating that 13 million people can’t leave because of heightened security risks, destroyed roads and infrastructure, and lack of resources or ability to find refuge elsewhere.
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