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Finland to decide to seek NATO membership ‘in the next few days’

(CNN Spanish) — Russia’s war in Ukraine does not let up. Ukrainian forces continue to press with a counteroffensive in the northeastern region of Kharkiv. The withdrawal of Russian forces from areas around Ukraine’s second largest city has revealed new evidence of atrocities.

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky says the country has retaken six settlements from Russian forces since Friday and 1,015 in total since the conflict began in February.

Here we tell you the most recent developments of the war that keeps the world in suspense.

Where the fights take place

In eastern Ukraine, satellite images and first-hand accounts have provided a more complete picture of the multiple disastrous efforts by Russian forces to cross the Siverskyi Donets River over the past week. The Russians may have suffered heavy casualties and lost as many as 70 armored vehicles and other equipment trying to cross the river earlier this week. His goal was to try to bypass the Ukrainian defenses in the Luhansk region, but he failed spectacularly.

A photo shows destroyed houses in the village of Vilkhivka, near the eastern city of Já on May 13, 2022, on the 79th day of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. -The Pentagon chief called for an ‘immediate’ ceasefire in Ukraine in a call with his Russian counterpart on May 13, 2022. (Photo by DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP via Getty Images)

In the Luhansk region, more than 50 houses have been destroyed by Russian shelling, as fighting continues around a belt of industrial towns in the area, according to Ukrainian officials. The Russians appear to have made little progress on the ground after consolidating their hold on Rubizhne earlier this week.

In northern Ukraine, a Ukrainian counterattack has recaptured several villages in the area east of Kharkiv. The Ukrainian advances threaten the symbolic embarrassment of driving Kremlin forces back to their own border while at the same time posing the strategic threat of cutting Russia’s supply lines to Ukraine and its forces further south in the region. from Donba. It has also revealed more evidence of apparent atrocities.

Difficult negotiations continue in Mariupol over the fate of Ukrainian soldiers still trapped at the Azovstal steel plant, said Pavlo Kyrylenko, head of the military administration of the Donetsk region. Meanwhile, he said, the Russians continued to attack Avozstal from the air. “These are heavy, high-explosive vacuum bombs,” the official said.

A Ukrainian serviceman inspects abandoned ammunition next to a destroyed Russian military vehicle near the village of Mala Rogan east of Kharkiv, on May 13, 2022, amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. (Photo by SERGEY BOBOK/AFP via Getty Images)

Russia cuts off electricity supply to Finland

Russia has suspended energy exports to Finland, Finnish operator Fingrid confirmed to CNN on Saturday.

Fingrid’s senior vice president of power system operations, Reima Päivinen, said the supply was effectively cut off at 12 am CET on Saturday (7 pm ET on Friday).

He added that the suspension had no impact on the market and that Finland “can cope” with the cut, since Russian electricity represents a small fraction of the country’s total consumption.

“We are also heading into summer and less electricity will be needed,” Päivinien said, adding that he was “confident there will be no major issues” next winter.

On Friday, Fingrid said Russia would suspend energy exports due to problems receiving payments.

A bit of context: The Finnish government will propose this Sunday that the country join NATO, Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto told reporters on Thursday. The proposal would then go to a parliamentary vote with a plenary session scheduled for Monday morning.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said Finland’s possible NATO membership marked a “sea change in the country’s foreign policy” and warned of retaliatory countermeasures.

Finland shares a 1,330 km border with Russia and its accession would mean that Russia would share a border with a country that is formally aligned with the US.

“Russia will be forced to take retaliatory measures, both military-technical and otherwise, to stop threats to its national security arising in this regard,” he said.

In late April, Gazprom said it completely stopped supplies to the Polish gas company PGNiG and Bulgaria’s Bulgargaz after they refused to comply with Moscow’s demand to pay in rubles instead of euros or dollars.

Finland to decide to seek NATO membership ‘in the next few days’

Finnish President Sauli Niinistö speaks at a news conference in Helsinki, Finland, on May 11. (Antti Aimo-Koivisto/Lehtikuva/AFP/Getty Images)
Finland’s President Sauli Niinistö speaks at a press conference in Helsinki, Finland, on May 11. (Antti Aimo-Koivisto/Lehtikuva/AFP/Getty Images)

Finnish President Sauli Niinistö told his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Saturday that the Nordic nation will decide “to seek NATO membership in the coming days,” Niinistö’s office said in a statement.

During the phone call initiated by Finland, “President Niinistö told President Putin how fundamentally Russian demands at the end of 2021 with the aim of preventing countries from joining NATO and Russia’s massive invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 have altered Finland’s security environment,” the statement read.

“The conversation was direct and was carried out without aggravation. It was considered important to avoid tensions,” Niinistö was quoted as saying in the statement.

Niinistö noted that he had already told Putin at their first meeting in 2012 “that every independent nation maximizes its security” and that “this is what is happening now as well,” the statement said.

By joining NATO, Finland “strengthens its own security and assumes its responsibility” as it “is not far from anyone else”, the statement said. In the future, Finland “wants to deal with the practical issues of being Russia’s neighbor correctly and professionally,” she adds.

Niinistö “reiterated his deep concern for the human suffering caused by Russia’s war in Ukraine” and “stressed the imperative for peace.” He also “conveyed the messages on ensuring the evacuation of civilians delivered earlier in the same week by (Ukrainian) President Volodymyr Zelenskyy,” according to the statement.

This article was written with information from Tim Lister, Martin Goillandeau, Chris LiakosRadina Gigova

and the CNN team.

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