Latest news about Russia and the war in Ukraine

Turkey says it won’t approve Finland and Sweden’s NATO bids

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan holds a press conference during the NATO summit at Alliance Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, June 14, 2021.

Yves Hermann | Reuters

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reiterated Ankara’s objections to Sweden and Finland’s NATO membership, saying Turkey will not approve the offers.

He says the countries have harbored people linked to groups that Turkey considers terrorist organizations.

Finland and Sweden said they would send delegations to Ankara to try to convince Turkey to accept their proposals; Erdogan, however, said they “shouldn’t bother”.

“None of these countries has a clear and open attitude towards terrorist organizations,” Erdogan told a news conference on Monday. “How can we trust them?”

NATO enlargement requires the unanimous agreement of the 30 current members.

Turkey accuses Finland and Sweden of harboring members of the PKK, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party. The PKK has clashed with Turkish security forces for years, but says its goals are greater cultural and political rights for Kurds and the eventual establishment of an independent Kurdish state.

CNBC reached out to the Swedish and Finnish foreign ministries for comment.

Erdogan also said Turkey cannot accept Finnish and Swedish offers because of an arms embargo the countries imposed on Turkey after its incursion into Syria in 2019.

“Firstly, we cannot say ‘yes’ to those imposing sanctions on Turkey by joining NATO, which is a security organization,” Erdogan said.

— Holly Ellyatt

War in Ukraine could cause ‘catastrophic’ levels of malnutrition in children, UNICEF warns

Some 13.6 million children under the age of five suffer from severe wasting – a condition in which children are too thin for their height, leading to a weak immune system, UNICEF said.

Guido Dingemans, From Eindredactie | Moment | Getty Images

The war in Ukraine, along with other global food security shocks, is creating the conditions for a significant increase in life-threatening malnutrition for children, according to UNICEF.

The United Nations agency said in a statement that rising food prices caused by the war are likely to increase the cost of “lifesaving” therapeutic food treatment. He added that severe malnutrition in children could reach “catastrophic levels”.

Some 13.6 million children under the age of five suffer from severe wasting – a condition in which children are too thin for their height, leading to a weak immune system, the UN agency said in a press release.

The most effective treatment is a ready-to-use therapeutic food, but the price of this is expected to increase by up to 16% over the next six months due to the sharp rise in the cost of ingredients.

“For millions of children every year, these therapeutic paste sachets are the difference between life and death,” said UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell.

Some 10 million severely impaired children do not have access to treatment and another 600,000 children could lose access at current levels of spending, UNICEF added.

Before the start of the war in Ukraine, conflict, climate change and Covid were already making it difficult for families to feed their children, Russell said.

“The world is rapidly becoming a virtual powder keg of preventable child deaths and child suffering,” she said.

“There is very little time to reignite a global effort to prevent, detect and treat malnutrition before a bad situation gets much, much worse,” he added.

— Abigail Ng

Russia likely to use artillery strikes heavily in its advance into eastern Donbas, says UK Defense Ministry

A car drives past a large missile crater in front of a residential building damaged by a Russian missile attack on May 6, 2022 in a city in the Donbas region of Ukraine.

Chris McGrath | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Russia will likely continue to rely heavily on mass artillery strikes as it tries to regain momentum in its advance into the eastern Donbas region, the UK Ministry of Defense said in its daily intelligence update.

The update added that Russia proved it was willing to use strikes against inhabited areas.

An estimated 3,500 buildings were destroyed or damaged in the Chernihiv region north of Kiev during Russia’s abandoned advance towards the Ukrainian capital, the ministry said in its update, posted on Twitter. About 80% of the damage was done to residential buildings.

“The scale of this damage indicates Russia’s preparedness to use artillery against inhabited areas, with minimal discrimination or proportionality,” the ministry said in its update, posted on Twitter.

Russia possibly relied more heavily on such “indiscriminate” bombings because of its “reluctance to risk flying combat aircraft routinely beyond its own front lines,” the ministry said.

— Weizhen Tan

More than 260 fighters evacuated from Mariupol steelworks

More than 260 Ukrainian fighters, including some seriously wounded, were evacuated on Monday from a steel plant in the crumbling city of Mariupol and taken to areas under Russian control, the Ukrainian military said.

Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said 53 seriously wounded fighters had been taken to a hospital in Novoazovsk, east of Mariupol. Another 211 fighters were evacuated to Olenivka through a humanitarian corridor. An exchange would be worked out for their return home, she said.

Malyar said missions were underway to rescue the remaining fighters inside the plant, the last stronghold of resistance in the devastated southern port city.

“Thanks to Mariupol’s supporters, Ukraine has gained extremely important time to form reserves and regroup forces and receive help from partners,” she said. “And they fulfilled all their tasks. But it is impossible to unlock Azovstal by military means.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the evacuation of fighters from Azovstal to separatist-held territory was to save their lives. He said the “heavily injured” were receiving medical help.

“Ukraine needs Ukrainian heroes alive. It is our principle,” he said. “Work keeps bringing guys home, and it takes finesse and time.”

Associated press

President Putin says NATO expansion ‘is a problem’

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks as he meets with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto on August 21, 2019 in Helsinki, Finland. Russian President Putin is on a one-day visit to Finland.

Mikhail Svetlov | Getty Images

Moscow wasted no time in publicizing its sentiments about the likely expansion of the Western NATO military alliance, with President Putin saying on Monday that this “is a problem”.

Putin said the move was in the US interest, in comments reported by Reuters, and said Russia would react to expanding military infrastructure to Sweden and Finland, although he insisted Moscow “has no problem” with the countries.

Putin’s comments come after other senior Kremlin officials deplored NATO’s future expansion, with one describing it as a “grave mistake” with global consequences.

Holly Ellyatt

McDonald’s says it will sell its business in Russia

A McDonald’s restaurant logo is seen in the window with a reflection of the Kremlin tower in central Moscow, Russia, March 9, 2022.

Maxim Shemetov | Reuters

McDonald’s said on Monday it would sell its Russian business, just over two months after halting operations in the country due to the invasion of Ukraine.

“The humanitarian crisis caused by the war in Ukraine and the precipitous unpredictable operating environment led McDonald’s to conclude that continued ownership of the business in Russia is no longer sustainable, nor is it consistent with McDonald’s values,” the company said in a statement. Press release.

Russian forces, led by President Vladimir Putin, were accused of a series of war crimes during the attack on Ukraine.

McDonald’s departure from Russia is a bitter end to an era that once promised hope. The company, one of the most recognizable symbols of American capitalism, opened its first restaurant in Russia more than 32 years ago, as the Soviet communist regime was crumbling.

Mike Calia

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