Ukraine and Russia: What you need to know right now
Finland is expected to announce on Thursday its intention to join NATO with Sweden likely to follow soon after, diplomats and officials said, as Russia's invasion of Ukraine reshapes European security and the Atlantic military alliance. FIGHTING
* Ukraine reported pushing back Moscow's forces in a counterattack that could signal a shift in the momentum of the war and shut gas flows on a route through Russian-held territory, raising the spectre of an energy crisis in Europe. * Ukraine's armed forces' general staff said it had recaptured Pytomnyk, a village on the main highway north of the second largest city of Kharkiv, about halfway to the Russian border.
* Ukrainian officials issued dire warnings on about the fate of civilians and the last fighters in the southern port of Mariupol, after weeks of Russian bombardment which the city's mayor said had turned it into a "medieval ghetto". * The Russian-occupied region of Kherson in Ukraine plans to ask Russian President Putin to incorporate it into Russia, TASS news agency said, citing a Russian official. The ousted governor says the region's people want to return to being part of Ukraine.
* Moscow has imposed sanctions against the owner of the Polish part of the Yamal pipeline that brings Russian gas to Europe, as well as the former German unit of the Russian gas producer Gazprom, whose subsidiaries service Europe's gas consumption. * Germany is examining the Russian announcement of sanctions on parts of Gazprom Germania, an Economy Ministry spokesperson said.
NATO * NATO allies expect Finland and Sweden to apply to join the alliance in the coming days and will grant membership quickly, five diplomats and officials said, as Russia's invasion of Ukraine forces a radical rethink of European security.
* President Sauli Niinisto is expected to give a greenlight on Thursday for Finland to join the NATO military alliance. * Sweden's ruling Social Democrats called a parliamentary debate for Monday as the country readies for an expected decision to join NATO, abandoning decades of military non-alignment.
"This war will not last forever. There will be a time when peace negotiations will take place. I do not see that in the immediate future. But I can say one thing. We will never give up," U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. (Compiled by Alex Richardson, Grant McCool & Simon Cameron-Moore)
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