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Latest Developments in Ukraine: May 16


View of the damages caused by a missile strike in Zatoka village, Odesa region, Ukraine amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, May 16, 2022.

For full coverage of the crisis in Ukraine, visit Flashpoint Ukraine.

Recap of May 16
FIGHTING
* More than 260 Ukrainian fighters were evacuated from the Azovstal steel plant in the besieged port city of Mariupol, Ukrainian officials said.
* Ukraine said its forces had pushed back Russian troops in the Kharkiv region in a counter-offensive that allowed the Ukrainians to reach the Russian border.
* Russian forces focused their latest attacks in Ukraine on the Donetsk region in the east, targeting civilian and military sites in multiple towns, the Ukrainian military said.
ECONOMY
* Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he had discussed the need for financial support for Ukraine's economy with International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva.
* The European Commission released its Spring 2022 economic forecast, saying Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has created challenges for the overall outlook and is testing EU economic resilience.
* The European Commission is set to propose on Wednesday a new package of financial aid to Ukraine including new loans to provide immediate liquidity to Kyiv and commitments for the long-term financing of the country's reconstruction.
HUMANITARIAN
* Ukraine and Japan have signed an agreement on a $100 million loan intended primarily to help support vulnerable people in Ukraine.
* Russia said it had agreed to evacuate wounded Ukrainian soldiers from the bunkers below the besieged Azovstal steel works in Mariupol to a medical facility in the Russian-controlled town of Novoazovsk.
* The U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said on Twitter that it is supporting online classes for many of Ukraine’s children displaced by war.
DIPLOMACY
* Sweden will join Finland in seeking NATO membership in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The historic shift ends more than 200 years of military nonalignment.
SANCTIONS
* EU foreign ministers failed in their effort to pressure Hungary to lift its veto of a proposed oil embargo on Russia.
* A Ukrainian court has seized assets of Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman worth $420 million, Ukrainian Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova said.
* Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister said the EU will impose a sixth sanctions package on Russia.
MEDIA
* The U.S. and the European Union plan to announce a joint effort aimed at countering Russian disinformation.

The latest developments in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. All times EDT:

8:20 p.m.: Francesco Rocca, president of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, said Europe’s speedy acceptance of millions of Ukrainians fleeing Russia’s aggression demonstrates its “double standard” in dealing with people fleeing violence in Africa, the Middle East and elsewhere who cross the Mediterranean Sea and are not welcomed, The Associated Press reported.

Rocca told a news conference that he doesn’t think there is any difference between someone fleeing eastern Ukraine’s Donbas region and someone escaping from the Boko Haram extremist group in Nigeria, AP reported. “Those who are fleeing violence, those who are seeking protection, should be treated equally,” he said, according to AP.

7:15 p.m.: According to the U.K. Defense Ministry: Russia’s ability to only impose its proxies as leadership in Kherson “highlights the failure of Russia’s invasion.”

6:25 p.m.: More than 260 Ukrainian fighters were were evacuated from the Azovstal steel plant in the besieged port of Mariupol. Deputy Defense Minister Anna Malyar said 53 seriously wounded fighters were taken to a hospital in Novoazovsk, east of Mariupol. An additional 211 fighters were evacuated to Olenivka through a humanitarian corridor. An exchange would be worked out for their return home, she said.

5:40 p.m.: During his nightly video address, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy discussed the evacuation of soldiers from Mariupol, saying, “I want to emphasize: Ukraine needs Ukrainian heroes alive. This is our principle. I think that every adequate person will understand these words. The operation to rescue the defenders of Mariupol was started by our military and intelligence officers. To bring the boys home, the work continues, and this work needs delicacy. And time.”

4:18 p.m.: Taras Topolya is a Ukrainian rock singer. From the first day of the war in Ukraine, he has been working as a paramedic with the country’s Territorial Defense. But when he has a break, he plays with big names in the Western music industry. VOA’s Lesia Bakalets has the story.

3:37 p.m.: As battles rage in eastern Ukraine's Donbas region, people living in the strategic Black Sea port city of Odesa are trying to live life as normally as possible. Odesa has been hit by Russian missiles but the city has so far been been spared any full-scale assault. With "danger, mines" signs marking its beaches, sandbags protecting its heritage sites, and air-raid sirens alerting its citizens of incoming missiles, the residents of Odesa are living their lives knowing quiet moments of normalcy may come to an end. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty has this photo essay.

2:30 p.m.: Using Javelins and other anti-tank weapons, Ukrainian forces repelled an advance by Russian troops on the outskirts of city of Horlivka in eastern Ukraine's Donetsk region. Embedded with Ukrainian forces on May 13, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Roman Pahulych reported that at least two Russian armored vehicles were destroyed.

2:12 p.m.: EU foreign ministers failed on Monday in their effort to pressure Hungary to lift its veto of a proposed oil embargo on Russia, Reuters reported. As expected, the ministers failed to reach a deal on Monday, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said after the meeting, with ambassadors now charged to negotiate an agreement. “Unhappily, it has not been possible to reach an agreement today,” Borrell told reporters, saying Hungary set out its argument based on economic, not political, concerns. Borrell said foreign ministers had decided, however, to provide an additional 500 million euros for arms purchases in support of Kyiv, taking the total sum of money the EU has earmarked for that purpose to 2 billion euros.

1:47 p.m.: The U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on Monday said on Twitter that it is supporting online classes for many of Ukraine’s children displaced by war.

1:16 p.m.: Poland’s agriculture minister said Monday that Ukraine’s grain exports could be routed through Poland’s ports on the Baltic Sea as long as Russia’s war prevents them from departing Black Sea ports, The Associated Press reported. Henryk Kowalczyk, the agriculture minister and a deputy prime minister, spoke in Warsaw alongside U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. Vilsack denounced Russia’s theft of Ukraine’s grain and its use of hunger as a tool of war.

1:02 p.m.:

12:52 p.m.: U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Monday visited Poland ahead of a meeting of finance ministers for the Group of Seven leading economies, The Associated Press reported. Yellen applauded Poland for helping refugees fleeing the fighting and working with neighboring countries to find ways to get Ukraine’s wheat and other critical food supplies to the world. The conflict’s interruption to wheat, barley, sunflower oil and other staples that normally flow from Ukraine and Russia has further raised already high food prices worldwide. Countries in Africa, the Middle East and parts of Asia that rely on those affordable supplies face the risks of food insecurity and unrest.

12:40 p.m.: On Monday, NATO released a video clip from a speech by its secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg, in which he states that Ukraine can win the war, and that NATO is stronger than ever.

12:31 p.m.: Vladimir Putin appeared to climb down on Monday from Russia’s objections to Sweden and Finland joining NATO, Reuters reported. Though the Russian leader said Moscow would take action if NATO were to move more troops or hardware onto the territory of its new members - steps Finland and Sweden have both already ruled out - he said NATO’s expansion itself was not a threat. “As far as expansion goes, including new members Finland and Sweden, Russia has no problems with these states - none. And so in this sense there is no immediate threat to Russia from an expansion to include these countries,” Putin said. Just hours before Putin spoke, Russia’s deputy foreign minister, Sergei Ryabkov, said Finland and Sweden were making a mistake that would have far-reaching consequences: “They should have no illusions that we will simply put up with it,” he had said.

12:15 p.m.: A Ukrainian court has seized assets of Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman worth $420 million, Ukrainian Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova said on Monday. She wrote on Facebook that the assets were securities in Cypriot companies that were held in Ukraine. Fridman has been sanctioned by the European Union as part of the EU’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Reuters reported.

12:04 p.m.: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Monday he had discussed the need for financial support for Ukraine's economy with International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva. "The IMF is our important partner. We look forward to further fruitful joint work in maintaining financial stability of Ukraine," Zelenskyy wrote on Twitter.

11:29 a.m.: Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban on Monday raised the spectre of an "era of recession" in Europe as the continent grapples with surging energy costs and rising inflation due to the war in Ukraine, Reuters reported. Orban, taking his oath of office after being elected in April for a fourth consecutive term, took a typically bullish line towards Brussels, telling parliament it was "abusing its power day by day" by pushing back member states' sovereignty. Nonetheless, he said Hungary's place was in the European Union for the next decade. He also said Hungary would not block European Union sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine as long as they posed no risk to Hungary's energy security.

11:14 a.m.: A senior U.S. defense official said Monday that Ukrainian forces continue to regain ground around Kharkiv despite Russian airstrikes, and that Ukrainian forces appear to have pushed Russian forces to within 3-4 kilometers of the Russian border. He also said that Russia has made “no progress” in its attempts to cross the Donetsk River in Ukraine, noting that “they have been stymied” in just about every effort. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin monitored the press briefing and shared more details on Twitter.

11:06 a.m.: Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra returned to their homeland on Monday after an emotional Eurovision Song Contest victory, greeted at the border with Poland by servicemen and women whose cause the band had championed in Turin, Reuters reported. Frontman Oleh Psiuk was presented with a bouquet of yellow and blue flowers - the colours of Ukraine’s flag - and reunited with his girlfriend before he and his band launched into an impromptu version of “Stefania,” their winning song. On Saturday, they had ridden a wave of popular support to win the annual songfest in the northern Italian city, giving their compatriots a much-needed morale boost after almost 12 weeks of war.

10:53 a.m.:

10:44 a.m.: Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell says the U.S. would move quickly to approve Sweden’s application to join the NATO military alliance, The Associated Press reported. “We hope to approve it before August,” McConnell said during a press conference in Stockholm. “We are confident it will be approved.” The minority leader was visiting the region with a delegation of Republican senators in a show of support as the region confronts Russian aggression. Earlier Monday, speaking in Helsinki after meeting with Finland's President Sauli Niinisto, McConnell also said the U.S. Congress will seek to ratify Finland's application to join NATO before going on holiday in August.

10:21 a.m.: According to a report released Monday by the U.N. Development Program office in Ukraine, the war is “inflicting immense human suffering and devastating communities.” The war has caused half of Ukraine’s businesses to shut down, and a prolonged conflict could force a majority of Ukrainians into poverty or near poverty, the UNDP said. “The deep social and economic scars will endure for generations,” the UNDP added.


10:08 a.m.: Russia said on Monday that it had agreed to evacuate wounded Ukrainian soldiers from the bunkers below the besieged Azovstal steel works in Mariupol to a medical facility in the Russian-controlled town of Novoazovsk, Reuters reported. “An agreement has been reached on the removal of the wounded,” the Russian defence ministry said in a statement. “A humanitarian corridor has been opened through which wounded Ukrainian servicemen are being taken to a medical facility in Novoazovsk.” Most civilians were evacuated from the plant this but Ukrainian fighters remain. Videos and pictures posted online show some of the fighters have serious injuries.

9:30 a.m.:

9:23 a.m.: President Vladimir Putin warned the West on Monday that Russia would respond if NATO began to bolster the military infrastructure of Sweden and Finland which have both decided to join the U.S. military alliance after the invasion of Ukraine, Reuters reported. Speaking to the leaders of a Russian-dominated military alliance of former Soviet states, Putin said the enlargement of NATO was being used by the United States in an "aggressive" way to aggravate an already difficult global security situation. Russia, Putin said, had no problem with Finland or Sweden, so there was no direct threat from NATO enlargement which included those countries.


9:17 a.m.:

8:42 a.m.: Proud Ukrainians reveled in their Eurovision Song Contest victory, Reuters reported, renaming a train route in its honor as they hoped for victory in their grinding war with Russia. The head of the railway service announced that the number 43 train from Kyiv to Ivano-Frankivsk will be renamed the Stefania Express to honor the victory. Train stations in Kyiv, Kalush and Ivano-Frankivsk will play the song when the train pulls in, he said. Ukraine's Kalush Orchestra triumphed in Italy on Saturday with their entry "Stefania," a song fusing rap with traditional folk music that was a tribute to band frontman Oleh Psiuk's mother.


8:19 a.m.:

8:11 a.m.: Sweden will start diplomatic discussions with Turkey to try to overcome Ankara's objections to its plan to join NATO, Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist said, with a formal decision to apply for membership of the 30-nation alliance expected on Monday. Sweden's governing Social Democrats dropped their 73-year opposition to joining NATO on Sunday and are hoping for a quick accession, following Russia's February 24 invasion of Ukraine. The decision to abandon the military non-alignment that has been a central part of Swedish national identity for more than 200 years marks a sea change in public perceptions in the Nordic region following Russia's attack on its neighbor, Reuters reported.

8:09 a.m.: As of Monday, 218 attacks on health care in Ukraine have been verified, and 75 people were killed and 58 injured, according to the U.N. World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO representative in Ukraine, Jarno Habicht, has retweeted a video of a recent visit with WHO Director-General and Ukraine’s Minister of Health to a damaged health facility in Makariv, Ukraine.

8:06 a.m.: The European Union and the United States agreed on Monday to cooperate more closely to counter disrupted supply of industrial commodities and food caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and to combat disinformation from Moscow, Reuters reported. Senior EU and U.S. officials convened in Paris for the second Trade and Technology Council, a forum initially seen as a transatlantic counterweight to China, but now with a clear focus also on Russia. In a joint statement, the two allies said they would coordinate further to mitigate the negative impacts of what Russia has described as a “special military operation” in Ukraine and on rebuilding Ukraine’s economy.

7:35 a.m.:

7:33 a.m.: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has replaced the head of its Territorial Defense Forces nearly three months into the war with Russia without giving a reason, Reuters reported. The Defense Ministry said on Monday Zelenskyy had appointed Major General Ihor Tantsyura to take over from Yuriy Halushkin as commander of the forces that are helping the Ukrainian army defend the country following Russia’s invasion on February 24. The ministry described Tantsyura as an experienced officer who was previously chief of staff of Ukraine’s ground forces. It said the Territorial Defense Forces had grown rapidly since being established shortly before the invasion and were playing an important role in the conflict with Russia.

7:30 a.m.:

7:27 a.m.: The European Commission is set to propose on Wednesday a new package of financial aid to Ukraine including new loans to provide immediate liquidity to Kyiv and commitments for the long-term financing of the country's reconstruction, officials said. The size of the short-term financial support is still being defined but two officials familiar with the discussions told Reuters they expected it to roughly cover Ukraine's financial needs for two months, largely through loans. A third official said the money would come from the EU budget and from EU governments.

7:25 a.m.: Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on Monday tweeted a readout of his meeting with EU Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi, saying the two discussed Ukraine’s EU candidate status.

7:24 a.m.: Greenpeace protesters have blocked the entry of a Greek tanker into a southern English port due to its Russian fuel cargo with police making arrests, the green group said on Monday. Britain and the EU have separately banned Russian-flagged vessels from their ports, with exemptions, after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in what the Kremlin describes as a “special military operation,” Reuters reported. The UK has said it will phase out imports of Russian oil by the end of the year, which has meant that foreign flagged vessels carrying Russian cargoes are still able to call at ports for the time being.

7:19 a.m.:

7:08 a.m.: Russia said on Monday that the West should have no illusions that Moscow will simply put up with the Nordic expansion of the U.S.-led NATO military alliance to include Sweden and Finland, casting the move as a mistake that would stoke military tension, Reuters reported. "They should have no illusions that we will simply put up with it - and nor should Brussels, Washington and other NATO capitals," Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov was quoted as saying by the state RIA news agency.

7:00 a.m.:

6:59 a.m.: The U.S. Congress will seek to ratify Finland's application to join the Western military alliance NATO before going on holiday in August, U.S. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said in Helsinki after meeting with Finland's President Sauli Niinisto, Reuters reported. Canada, NATO's other North American ally, also promised a quick ratification. "Certainly we hope to achieve it before the August recess when Congress typically goes out of session," McConnell told reporters on Monday.

6:57 a.m.: The European Commission on Monday released its Spring 2022 economic forecast, saying Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has created challenges for the overall outlook and is testing EU economic resilience. “Real GDP growth in both the EU and the euro area is now expected at 2.7% in 2022 and 2.3% in 2023, down from 4.0% and 2.8% (2.7% in the euro area), respectively, in the Winter 2022 interim Forecast,” the EC noted in a statement accompanying the report.

6:48 a.m.: Ukrainian border guards repelled an incursion by a Russian sabotage and reconnaissance group in the northeastern region of Sumy on Monday, the governor of the Sumy region said, according to Reuters. Dmytro Zhyvytsky wrote on the Telegram messaging app that the Russian group entered Ukrainian territory under the cover of mortar shells, grenades and machine gun fire but retreated after the border guards fought back. Reuters could not independently verify Zhyvytsky's account. Russian forces crossed into the Sumy region shortly after Moscow invaded Ukraine on February 24. Ukrainian forces retook control of the region on April 8 and have been bracing for further attacks. More than 80 days after the invasion started, Ukraine has scored a series of successes, forcing Russia's commanders to abandon an advance on the capital Kyiv and making rapid gains around the second-largest city Kharkiv.

6:41 a.m.:

6:39 a.m.: Ukraine and Japan have signed an agreement on a $100 million loan intended primarily to help support vulnerable people in Ukraine following Russia's invasion, the Ukrainian finance ministry said on Monday. It said the loan was for 30 years and included a grace period of 10 years, Reuters reported.

6:32 a.m.: The chairperson of Ukraine’s parliament on Monday shared photos on Twitter of victorious Ukrainian athletes who won several medals and took first place at the recent Deaflympics held in Brazil.

6:24 a.m.: The European Union's plans to impose an oil embargo on Russia were being blocked by just one of the bloc's 27 members, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said on Monday. "The whole union is being held hostage by one member state ... we have to agree, we cannot be held hostage," Landsbergis said as he arrived for a meeting with his counterparts. EU diplomats quoted by Reuters said the country Landsbergis was referring to is Hungary. A sixth round of EU sanctions including a ban on Russia oil has been drawn up by experts in the European Commission, but Hungary and other member states, including Slovakia and the Czech Republic, have voiced reservations.

6:16 a.m.: Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, sent a tweet Monday at the start of his visit to Brussels, saying he is there to push for a sixth European Union sanctions package against Russia “which must include an oil embargo.” He said he is also focusing on the issue of arms supplies, and Ukraine’s application to join the EU.

6:07 a.m.: Ukrainian troops counter-attacking against Russian forces in the country’s northeast have pushed them back from the city of Kharkiv and advanced as far as the border with Russia, Ukrainian officials said on Monday. The developments, if confirmed, would signal a further shift in momentum in favour of Ukrainian forces, Reuters reported. Fighting was reported near Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, on Monday in what interior ministry adviser Vadym Denisenko said was “our counter-offensive.” Kharkiv, lying about 30 miles from the border with Russia, had endured weeks of heavy bombardments from Russian artillery. The Russians’ routing from there follows their failure to capture the capital Kyiv in the early stages of the war.

6:03 a.m.:

6:00 a.m.: Ukraine and Japan have signed an agreement on a $100 million loan intended primarily to help support vulnerable people in Ukraine following Russia’s invasion, the Ukrainian finance ministry said on Monday, Reuters reported.

It said the loan was for 30 years and included a grace period of 10 years.

5:30 a.m.: The U.S. and the European Union plan to announce on Monday a joint effort aimed at identifying semiconductor supply disruptions as well as countering Russian disinformation, officials said. U.S. officials said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has broadened the Trade and Technology Council’s scope.

The EU and U.S. will also announce joint measures on fighting disinformation and hacking, especially from Russia, including a guide on cybersecurity best practices for small- and medium-sized companies and a task force on trusted technology suppliers, the official said. Agence France-Presse has the story.

5:10 a.m.: VOA’s Senior Diplomatic Correspondent Cindy Saine reported that Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Abu Dhabi from Paris Monday, where he had a working dinner meeting with his French counterpart, Jean Yves Le Drian. The State Department said the two top diplomats discussed “issues of importance in the bilateral relationship, especially the urgent need to confront global food insecurity exacerbated” by Russia’s war in Ukraine and other topics.

Blinken’s first stop in this tour was in Berlin, where he met with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba Sunday. They also discussed plans to work together to ensure that Ukrainian food exports reach consumers in Africa and Asia. Berlin hosted a meeting of NATO foreign ministers, called to discuss the situation in the ground on Ukraine and to coordinate efforts to provide Ukraine with the humanitarian assistance and the weapons it needs to defend itself against Russia.

4:20 a.m.: Ukraine said Monday its forces had pushed back Russian troops in the Kharkiv region in a counter-offensive that allowed the Ukrainians to reach the Russian border.

The Ukrainian defense ministry posted a video showing what it said were its troops at the border, with one soldier telling Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, “We are here.”

There was no immediate confirmation of the development.

3:45 a.m.: Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn said the European Union will impose a sixth sanctions package on Russia as he arrived in Brussels for a meeting Monday, Reuters reported.

“There really is no excuse not to get the package done,” Asselborn said, speaking to reporters.

3:30 a.m.: Russian forces focused their latest attacks in Ukraine on the Donetsk region in the east, targeting civilian and military sites in multiple towns, the Ukrainian military said Monday, The Associated Press reported.

3:00 a.m.: The European Union’s foreign ministers cannot be sure of reaching an agreement on an oil embargo on Russia on Monday, in response to its invasion of Ukraine, the EU’s top diplomat said according to Reuters. There were some “strong positions from some member states,” he said.

2:00 a.m.: The U.K. ministry of defense said Monday “Belarusian territory was used as a staging post for Russia’s initial advance on Kyiv and Chernihiv” in its daily battleground intelligence update.

“Russia has also launched air sorties and missile strikes from Belarus,” the ministry said.

1:42 a.m.: Reuters reported that Sweden and Finland joining NATO would increase the security of the Baltic region, Estonian Foreign Minister Eva-Maria Liimets said.

“When we see that in our neighborhood also other democratic countries belong to NATO, it would mean that we could have broader joint exercises and also ... more defense cooperation,” Liimets told Reuters in Berlin where she joined a meeting with other NATO counterparts on Saturday.

Liimets said she hoped Sweden, Finland and Turkey would overcome differences on the Nordic states joining the alliance, adding that the Berlin meeting atmosphere was very supportive. “We have seen some differences, but we have also seen a willingness of those countries to overcome the differences,” she said.

Estonia appreciates NATO enforcing its presence in the Baltic region but would like the allies to move from enhancing their presence to enhancing their defense. “It would mean that we would have more robust presence of land forces, but also air and maritime defense,” she added.

1:00 a.m.: The Institute for the Study of War, a Washington-based think tank, issued a map showing Russian advances around Izium, Konstiantynivka and Donbas regions.

Russian troops have “likely abandoned the objective of completing a large-scale encirclement of Ukrainian units from Donetsk City to Izyum in favor of completing the seizure of Luhansk Oblast,” the institute said in a Twitter post Sunday.

12:45 a.m.: CNN reports that, in areas of Ukraine that Russia has occupied, educators are being intimidated and threatened into changing their curriculum “to align with pro-Russian rhetoric.”

12:01 a.m.: U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken says the United States supports Finland and Sweden applying for NATO membership. This follows statements from those countries’ leaders in the wake of Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine. Leaders say the war has them rethinking their own security. VOA’s Arash Arabasadi has more.

(A warning: some viewers may find images in this report disturbing.)

Blinken Meets European Counterparts as Finland Seeks NATO Membership
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Some information in this report came from The Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse. ​

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