War in the neighborhood: IPN updates

Chisinau gave up easily. What will Stockholm and Helsinki do?

Nato leaders agreed on Wednesday to formally invite Finland and Sweden to join the alliance after Turkey struck a deal with the Nordic duo to drop its objections.

Turkish Minister of Justice Bekir Bozdan said that the signed agreement does not mean that the NATO accession process of Sweden and Finland has been completed.

The day before, Sweden, Finland and Turkey signed a security memorandum that unblocks the start of negotiations on the accession of Sweden and Finland to the North Atlantic Alliance. The countries agreed to strengthen their cooperation in the fight against terrorism, including measures to be taken against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), information exchange and an extradition agreement. Turkey had previously delayed the start of the membership process by expressing its concerns about Stockholm and Helsinki’s support for the PKK, which is defined as a terrorist organization in Turkey.

According to Bozdağ, his country will seek the extradition of 33 alleged Kurdish fighters and coup plot suspects from Sweden and Finland under the deal that secured Turkish support for the two Nordic countries’ NATO membership bid.

(The teachers of the “Orizont” Lyceum that were expelled by the regime of Plahotniuc from the Republic of Moldova are believed to be members of terrorist organization FETO – e.n).

Madrid NATO Summitry devoted to Ukraine

Ukraine already meets NATO standards and maintains its course of Euro-Atlantic integration, Ihor Zhovkva, a deputy head of the President’s Office and the head of Ukraine's delegation at NATO's summit in Madrid, said on June 29. He added that NATO membership remains the best security guarantee for Ukraine.

Ukraine’s top priority is not to join NATO, but to win the war, after which the Alliance is ready to return to the relevant negotiations, the official representative of the Alliance said.

“Now the focus of the Ukrainian government is to win the war. And that's something we fully support. And when Ukraine wants to talk again about the next steps, we will return to this issue. Now the focus of all of us is to make the greatest contribution that would help Ukraine on the battlefield against the Russian invaders. And when Ukraine is ready to return to the issue of time intervals... And, again, it is up to Ukraine to decide. However, the focus now is to win the war,” he said during a briefing during the summit of the organization.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in his speech at the summit via a video link, urged more defense and financial assistance for Ukraine. He said that Ukraine needs modern missile and air defense systems to protect its cities, and artillery to stand against Russia on the battlefields. The Ukrainian leader also called on the NATO member states to continue sanctions against Russia and provide Ukraine with security guarantees.

“We need security guarantees, and you have to find a place for Ukraine in the common security space,” Zelensky stressed.

He also noted that Russia wants to enslave countries that once belonged to its sphere of influence. This applies, for example, to Lithuania and all neighboring countries with Russia. “The question is: who will be next? Moldova, or the Baltic States, or Poland? The answer is: all of them,” Zelensky stated at the Madrid summit.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the Alliance’s focus now is to support Ukraine. “This war will, as most other wars at some stage, end at the negotiating table. But it is important that Ukraine is able to get an agreement on their terms, which is acceptable for Ukraine. And therefore we know that there is a very close link between what they can achieve around the negotiating table and their strength on the battlefield.”

Stoltenberg said the leaders agreed to strengthen their support by agreeing a ‘Comprehensive Assistance Package’ for Ukraine. This includes secure communications, fuel, medical supplies and body armor, equipment to counter mines and chemical and biological threats, and hundreds of portable anti-drone systems.

In the previous Strategic Concept, adopted in 2010, the allies called Russia a “strategic partner,” and they did not reference China at all. In the new edition, they described China as a challenge to allies’ “interests, security and values.” And they did not mince words about the peril they see in Putin’s military aggression. Russia, they wrote, “seeks to establish spheres of influence and direct control through coercion, subversion, aggression and annexation.”

British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said in Madrid that peace talks with Russia should be held only after its defeat in Ukraine. “We need to ensure the defeat of Russia in Ukraine. This is necessary for European security, freedom and democracy. This is the only way to achieve lasting peace in Europe,” Liz Truss said.

“There are people who say that there are opportunities for negotiations now, while Russia is still in Ukraine. But I think that this will bring a fake peace. This will lead to further aggression in the future. We must learn the lessons of the past - the mistakes of the Minsk Protocol, for example, which could not ensure lasting peace in the region,” the head of the British Foreign Office said.

Sides swap prisoners

Ukraine’s Defense Ministry has announced a prisoner exchange involving 144 Ukrainian soldiers, including scores of defenders of the Azovstal steelworks in the southern port city of Mariupol.

“This is the largest exchange since the start of the full-scale Russian invasion. Of the 144 freed, 95 are Azovstal defenders. Among them, 43 servicemen of the Azov Regiment,” the main intelligence directorate of the Defense Ministry said on June 29 on Telegram.

ECHR will ensure basic rights of Ukrainians

The lawsuit filed by Ukraine on June 23 against Russia to the European Court of Human Rights, in which the Russian authorities are accused of violating the European Convention on Human Rights in the conduct of its illegal invasion of the sovereign territory of Ukraine, was accepted by the ECHR. This suit was preceded by another four applications on behalf of Ukraine and by about 8,500 individual complaints.

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