WORLD NEWS

Live updates | Report: Sweden, Finland to apply to NATO

Apr 25, 2022, 8:33 AM | Updated: Jun 13, 2022, 3:33 pm
NATO flag flying at NATO Headquarters Brussels. For the first time ever, the NATO Response Force ha...
NATO flag flying at NATO Headquarters Brussels. For the first time ever, the NATO Response Force has been activated as a defensive measure in response to Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine. (NATO)
(NATO)

STOCKHOLM (AP) — Two newspapers – one Swedish, the other one Finnish – are reporting that the governments of Sweden and Finland have agreed to submit NATO applications at the same time and that it will happen in the middle of next month.

The Finnish newspaper Iltalehti said that the Swedish government has expressed a wish to Finland that they apply together in the week starting May 22 and Swedish government sources confirmed the information to Sweden’s Expressen tabloid.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has led to growing support in Sweden and Finland, a Russian neighbor, for joining NATO.

Though not members, both Nordic countries closely cooperate with NATO, allowing, among other things, the alliance’s troops to exercise on their soil. Helsinki and Stockholm have also substantially intensified their bilateral defense cooperation in the past years.

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KEY DEVELOPMENTS IN THE RUSSIA-UKRAINE WAR:

— US promises new aid to Ukraine in fight against Russia

— To Europe’s relief, France’s Macron wins but far-right gains

— Russian officer: Missile to carry several hypersonic weapons

— Follow all AP stories on Russia’s war on Ukraine at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

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OTHER DEVELOPMENTS:

WASHINGTON — The U.S. State Department says it has approved the sale of $165 million in legacy Warsaw Pact ammunition and other non-standard ammunition to Ukraine to help in its defense against Russia.

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency approved the potential sale and has provided the legally required notification to Congress. Lawmakers can block weapons sales but are unlikely to do so because of strong support for Ukraine following the Feb. 24 invasion.

“This proposed sale will support the foreign policy goals and national security objectives of the United States by improving the security of a partner country that is a force for political stability and economic progress in Europe,” the State Department said in announcing the potential sale Monday.

The sale came at the request of Ukraine’s government and includes rounds for mortars, automatic grenade launchers and howitzers.

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ANKARA, Turkey — U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres is meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara before he visits Moscow and Kyiv.

Guterres arrived in Turkey on Monday. The NATO-member country has retained its close ties to both Moscow and Ukraine. It has positioned itself as a negotiator between the two and has hosted a meeting between the Russian and Ukrainian foreign ministers as well as talks between the two countries’ negotiating teams.

The U.N. chief is scheduled to travel to Moscow on Tuesday to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin. He is also expected to meet with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba later in the week.

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Russia is expelling 40 German diplomats in response to Germany expelling the same number of Russian diplomats earlier this month.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said Monday that it had summoned German ambassador Géza Andreas von Geyr for a “strong protest at the clearly unfriendly decision” to expel the Russian diplomatic staff.

The ministry said von Geyr was told that 40 members of staff at German diplomatic missions in Russia would be officially declared unwelcome in Russia.

Germany announced the expulsion of 40 Russian diplomats on Apr. 4 following mounting evidence of civilian killings and mass graves in Bucha, near the Ukrainian capital Kyiv.

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Live updates | Report: Sweden, Finland to apply to NATO