Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday that Finland and Sweden joining NATO would probably make “not much difference” as the two countries had long participated in the alliance’s military drills, Reuters reported.
“Finland and Sweden, as well as other neutral countries, have been participating in NATO military exercises for many years,” Lavrov said.
“NATO takes their territory into account when planning military advances to the East. So in this sense there is probably not much difference. Let’s see how their territory is used in practice in the North Atlantic alliance.”
Russia and China slam NATO after alliance raises alarm
NATO faced rebukes from Moscow and Beijing on Thursday after it declared Russia a “direct threat” and said China posed “serious challenges ” to global stability.
The Western military alliance was wrapping up a summit in Madrid, where it issued a stark warning that the world has been plunged into a dangerous phase of big-power competition and myriad threats, from cyberattacks to climate change, The Associated Press reported.
NATO leaders also formally invited Finland and Sweden to join the alliance, after overcoming opposition from Turkey. If the Nordic nations’ accession is approved by the 30 member nations, it will give NATO a new 1,300 kilometer border with Russia.
Russian President Vladimir Putin warned he would respond if the Nordic pair allowed NATO troops and military infrastructure onto their territory. He said Russia would have to “create the same threats for the territory from which threats against us are created.”
Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said Putin’s threats were “nothing new.”
“Of course, we have to expect some kind of surprises from Putin, but I doubt that he is attacking Sweden or Finland directly,” Kallas said as she arrived at the summit’s conference center venue. “We will see cyberattacks definitely. We will see hybrid attacks, information war is going on. But not the conventional war.”
China accused the alliance of “maliciously attacking and smearing” the country. Its mission to the European Union said NATO “claims that other countries pose challenges, but it is NATO that is creating problems around the world.”
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine had brought “the biggest overhaul of our collective defense since the end of the Cold War.”
The invasion shattered Europe’s peace, and in response NATO has poured troops and weapons into Eastern Europe on a scale unseen in decades. Member nations have given Ukraine billions in military and civilian aid to strengthen its resistance, AP reported.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who addressed the summit by video link, asked for more. He urged NATO to send modern artillery systems and other weapons and warned the leaders they either had to provide Kyiv with the help it needed or “face a delayed war between Russia and yourself.”
“The question is, who’s next? Moldova? Or the Baltics? Or Poland? The answer is: all of them,” he said.
At the summit, NATO leaders agreed to dramatically scale up military force along the alliance’s eastern flank, where countries from Romania to the Baltic states worry about Russia’s future plans.
They announced plans to increase almost eightfold the size of the alliance’s rapid reaction force, from 40,000 to 300,000 troops, by next year. The troops will be based in their home nations but dedicated to specific countries in the east, where the alliance plans to build up stocks of equipment and ammunition.
U.S. President Joe Biden, whose country provides the bulk of NATO’s firepower, announced a hefty boost in America’s military presence in Europe, including a permanent U.S. base in Poland, two more Navy destroyers based in Rota, Spain, and two more F35 squadrons in the U.K.
The expansion will keep 100,000 troops in Europe for the foreseeable future, up from 80,000 before the war in Ukraine began.
Dozens of migrants die in truck in Texas
More than 40 migrants were found dead inside a tractor-trailer in Texas State of the United States on Monday, reports said.
Sixteen other people found inside the trailer were taken to hospital for heat stroke and exhaustion, including four minors, Reuters reported citing the fire department of the San Antonio city where the truck was found.
Officials also said three people were arrested following the incident.
Mexico’s Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard called the suffocation of the migrants in the truck the “tragedy in Texas” on Twitter and said the local consulate was en route to the scene, though the nationalities of the victims had not been confirmed.
There have been a record number of migrant crossings at the U.S.-Mexico border in recent months, which has sparked criticism of the immigration policies of U.S. President Joe Biden, a Democrat.
Temperatures in San Antonio, which is about 250 km from the Mexican border, swelled to a high of 39.4 degrees Celsius on Monday with high humidity.
In July 2017, ten migrants died after being transported in a tractor-trailer that was discovered by San Antonio police in a Wal-Mart parking lot. The driver was sentenced the following year to life in prison for his role in the smuggling operation.
G-7 leaders set to commit to long haul in backing Ukraine
Leaders of the Group of Seven economic powers are set to commit themselves to the long haul in supporting Ukraine as they meet in the German Alps and confer by video link with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
The G-7 leaders will begin Monday’s session of their three-day summit with a focus on Ukraine. Later, they will be joined by the leaders of five democratic emerging economies — India, Indonesia, South Africa, Senegal and Argentina — for a discussion on climate change, energy and other issues, AP reported.
The war in Ukraine was already at the forefront of the G-7 leaders’ minds as they opened their summit at the secluded Schloss Elmau luxury hotel on Sunday — just as Russian missiles hit the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv for the first time in weeks.
U.S. President Joe Biden said Russian President Vladimir Putin “has been counting on, from the beginning, that somehow NATO and the G-7 would splinter, but we haven’t and we’re not going to.” Britain’s Boris Johnson warned the leaders not to give in to “fatigue.”
On Monday, they have the opportunity to demonstrate that unity to Zelenskyy and reaffirm their commitment to supporting Kyiv financially and otherwise, AP reported.
Biden hopes to use his trip to Europe to proclaim the unity of the coalition pressing to punish Russia for its invasion of Ukraine as much as he is urging allies to do even more — seeking to counter doubts about its endurance as the war grinds into its fifth month.
The summit’s host, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, said last week that he wants to discuss the outlines of a “Marshall plan for Ukraine” with his G-7 counterparts, referring to the U.S.-sponsored plan that helped revive European economies after World War II.
With the war still in progress and destruction mounting by the day, it’s unlikely to be a detailed plan at this stage. Scholz has said that “rebuilding Ukraine will be a task for generations.”
The G-7 already is committed to help finance Ukraine’s immediate needs. Finance ministers from the group last month agreed to provide $19.8 billion in economic aid to help Kyiv keep basic services functioning and prevent tight finances from hindering its defense against Russian forces, AP reported.
South Korea says leaflets sent by defectors unlikely to be cause of COVID in North Korea
Bayat Foundation provides aid packages to flood victims in Takhar
Sleeping with light linked to higher risk of diabetes, obesity: study
Issue of girls’ education raised at gathering of religious scholars in Kabul
Russia and China slam NATO after alliance raises alarm
Da Afghanistan Bank receives $900 million in cash aid to date
Nuristan forest fire rages for the 11th day
Heavy storms and drought damage fresh fruits in Kandahar
Exports to Pakistan increase sharply, thanks to coal and cotton
Brazilian soccer icon Pele calls on Putin to stop ‘wicked’ Ukraine invasion
Saar: UK’s support from IEA discussed
Zerbena: Expanding Afghanistan’s economic relations with Uzbekistan discussed
Tahawol: Uzbekistan to host a summit on Afghanistan
Zerbena: Establishment of Afghan Invest company discussed
Saar: Afghanistan’s relations towards its neighbors discussed
Business4 days ago
IEA calls for release of frozen funds following deadly earthquake
Latest News5 days ago
Former commander of Faryab’s uprising forces returns to Afghanistan
Sport4 days ago
Afghanistan-Pakistan ODI series ‘not possible this year’
Latest News4 days ago
Red Crescent allocates 10 Million AFN for earthquake victims
Featured5 days ago
China pledges over $7 million in aid for quake victims
Featured5 days ago
Thousands of earthquake victims in need of water and food, at risk of disease
Featured5 days ago
Polio vaccination campaign rolls out in western Afghanistan
Featured4 days ago
Cholera cases rising in Takhar