Live Updates | Turkish president discusses NATO candidacies

ANKARA, Turkey – Turkey’s president has said he is engaged in “telephone diplomacy” with his foreign counterparts over Sweden’s and Finland’s bids to join NATO.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reiterated on Friday that his country was determined not to approve the membership of the alliance of countries accused by Turkey of supporting what it calls “terrorist organizations”.

Erdogan has put an obstacle in the way of Sweden and Finland joining the alliance. He accuses Stockholm – and to a lesser extent Helsinki – of supporting the Kurdish Workers’ Party, or PKK, and other groups that Turkey considers terrorists and a threat to its national security.

Turkey, which has the second largest army in NATO, also accuses the two Nordic countries of imposing restrictions on exports of defense industry equipment to Turkey and of not extraditing suspects wanted by Turkey.

Erdogan told reporters he spoke with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte on Friday and would have further talks with British and Finnish leaders on Saturday.

Sweden and Finland formally requested to join the military alliance this week. The 30 members of NATO must approve the entry of new members.

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KEY DEVELOPMENTS IN THE RUSSIAN-UKRAINE WAR:

— Senate ships $40 billion aid bill to Ukraine to Biden for signature

— Refute Turkey, Biden welcomes NATO candidacies from Sweden, from Finland

— In Ukraine, surviving when your the house is destroyed

— Fuels of war price spike in Europe

— The Red Cross records hundreds of Ukrainian prisoners of war emerge of the Mariupol steel plant

captive doctor bodycam shows direct mariupol horror

Explanation: What will happen to the Ukrainian soldiers from Mariupol?

— UN chief ‘hopes’ for grain deal with Ukraine help the food crisis

— The impact of the Russian-Ukrainian war attracts attention G7 financial leaders

American intelligence shows Russians fear Mariupol abuses will backfire

— Follow AP’s coverage of the war in Ukraine at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

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OTHER DEVELOPMENTS:

WARSAW, Poland – Poland and Portugal are trying to find ways to integrate Ukraine into the European Union, even as some countries in the bloc are reluctant to grant it early access.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki announced the effort after talks Friday in Warsaw with visiting Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa.

Morawiecki said that “if some EU countries vehemently protest, together with Portugal we want to work out an appropriate package that would be attractive to Ukraine and show that Ukraine’s place is in the EU.”

Germany, for example, has come out against a fast track to EU membership for Ukraine, which is currently waging a fierce war against Russian invasion. The 27 members of the EU must approve an enlargement to Ukraine.

Costa said EU leaders should not stick to inflexible regulations, but be “pragmatic and react to current events”. He called for a decision at an EU summit scheduled for June.

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KOENIGSWINTER, Germany — Germany’s finance minister says major Group of Seven economies are close to agreeing more than $18 billion in aid for Ukraine’s defense efforts.

Finance Minister Christian Lindner said in an interview with Bloomberg Television on Friday that Ukrainians resisting the Russian invasion “are not just defending themselves, they are defending our values.”

A U.S. Treasury Department official declined to confirm the amount to be allocated at a meeting of G-7 finance ministers in Germany, and a German finance ministry spokesperson declined to comment to The Associated. Press.

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and other leaders spoke this week about the need for allies to muster enough additional aid to help Ukraine “get through” the Russian invasion.

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KYIV, Ukraine — Russian forces attacked the towns of Lysychansk and Severodonetsk in the eastern Lugansk region, the region’s governor announced on Friday.

Serhiy Haidai said in a post on the Telegram messaging app on Friday that 12 people were killed in Severodonetsk as a result of the assault and more than 60 homes were destroyed in the area.

He added that the attack on Severodonetsk “failed – the Russians suffered personnel losses and withdrew.” His statements could not be independently verified.

Ukraine’s General Staff, in its Friday morning update, also said the Russians tried to attack Severodonetsk but suffered casualties and retreated.

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KYIV, Ukraine — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked the United States for the $40 billion aid package, which won final congressional approval on Thursday.

“This is a demonstration of strong leadership and a necessary contribution to our common defense of freedom,” Zelenskyy said in his nightly video address to the nation.

He also thanked the European Union for its support.

“And for our partners, it’s not just an expense or a gift. This is their contribution to security,” Zelenskyy said. “Because defending Ukraine also means defending it against new wars and crises that Russia could provoke if it succeeds in the war against Ukraine. Therefore, we must together ensure that Russia’s aggression against our state has no success, whether military, economic or otherwise.

Zelenskyy said Ukraine’s monthly budget deficit is $5 billion “and therefore to survive in the war for freedom, we need quick and sufficient financial support.”

The United States has announced a delivery of $100 million in military equipment to Ukraine, regardless of what will come from the $40 billion approved by Congress. The latest package includes 18 additional howitzers as well as anti-artillery radar systems, which the United States has already supplied to Ukraine since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24.

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KYIV, Ukraine – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Russian troops are stepping up their attacks in Donbass.

“It’s hell out there and that’s no exaggeration,” he said in his nightly video address to the nation. “The brutal and completely senseless bombardment of Severodonetsk. Twelve dead and dozens injured there in a single day.

Zelenskyy said the Russian strikes on the northeast Chernihiv region included a terrible strike on the village of Desna, where he said many had been killed and rescuers were still scouring the rubble.

“The shelling and shelling of our other cities, the air and missile strikes of the Russian army are not just wartime military operations… This is a conscious and criminal attempt to kill so many Ukrainians as possible,” Zelenskyy said. mentioned. “To destroy more homes, public sites, businesses. This is what will be called the genocide of the Ukrainian people and for which the occupiers will certainly be brought to justice.

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A veteran Russian rock musician is accused of discrediting the military over remarks he made at a concert on Wednesday.

The charges against Yuri Shevchuk, singer of the group DDT, were referred to an administrative court on Thursday. He could face a fine of up to 50,000 rubles ($800).

After the war began, Russia passed a tougher law making spreading “fake news” about the conflict punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

During the concert in Ufa, Shevchuk questioned the aims of the war and why young Russians and Ukrainians are fighting and dying in a war that is also costing civilian lives.

“Old people, women and children are dying,” he said. “For some kind of Napoleonic plans of our last Caesar, yes?”

“Homeland, my friends, is not a president’s ass that you have to lick and fuck all the time. The fatherland is a poor grandmother selling potatoes at the station. This is the homeland,” he added.

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WASHINGTON — The United States announced a $100 million shipment of military equipment to Ukraine, regardless of what will come from the $40 billion approved by Congress on Thursday.

The latest package includes 18 more howitzers as well as anti-artillery radar systems, which the United States has already supplied to Ukraine since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24. Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said the equipment will be in the hands of the Ukraine Force “very, very soon.”

With this latest delivery, the United States has provided nearly $4 billion in military aid since February 24 and $6.6 billion since 2014, when Russia seized and annexed the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine. .

Kirby said the United States would consult with Ukraine, as it has often done since the invasion, on what it needs in terms of equipment.

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WARSAW, Poland – Polish President Andrzej Duda, the country’s Defense Minister and the US Ambassador to Poland on Thursday attended a joint military exercise dubbed DEFENDER-Europe 22 by Polish, US, French and Swedish troops in the north -eastern Poland.

The troops’ task was to cross the Narew River near the town of Nowogrod, in an area about two hours’ drive from the borders of the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad and Russia’s ally Belarus.

Duda said that as Ukraine battles Russia’s invasion, everyone is “aware of the potential threat” in the region.

Duda said the exercise – which had been planned earlier – would help “show NATO’s cooperation and effectiveness in collective defence”.

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