War Day at a Glance
Russian troops withdraw from Kharkiv – Putin warns Finland against joining NATO
May 14, 2022, 9:15 p.m.
During a telephone call, Russian President Putin warns his Finnish counterpart Niinströ against joining NATO. Turkey conditioned the country’s inclusion in the military alliance. kyiv announces the withdrawal of Russian troops from Kharkiv. The 80th day of war at a glance.
Russian troops in Kharkiv repelled
According to the Ukrainian army, it succeeded in driving Russian troops out of the northern city of Kharkiv – which had been a priority for Moscow. In the Kharkiv region, “the enemy’s efforts are mainly focused on the withdrawal of its units from the city of Kharkiv,” said a spokesman for the Ukrainian General Staff. Kharkiv region governor Oleg Synegubov meanwhile said in a video on Telegram that Ukrainian forces were launching a counterattack on the northeastern town of Izyum.
According to the American Institute for the Study of War, a defense think tank, the Ukrainians “appear to have won the battle for Kharkiv”. “Ukrainian forces prevented Russian troops from encircling, let alone taking, Kharkiv and then drove them out from the outskirts of the city.” They would have done the same in the battle for the Ukrainian capital of kyiv.
According to their own statements, Ukrainian troops also slowed down the Russian advance in the east of the country with fierce resistance. Soldiers repelled enemy attempts to cross a river and encircle the city of Severodonetsk, Luhansk region governor Serhiy Gaiday said. “Heavy fighting is currently taking place on the border with the Donetsk region, near the town of Popasna,” Gaiday said. According to the governor, the Russian troops suffered heavy losses of soldiers and equipment. The Ukrainian side learned from intercepted telephone conversations “that an entire Russian battalion refused to attack because they saw what was happening.”
Aerial photos showed dozens of destroyed armored vehicles on the riverbank, as well as destroyed pontoon bridges. Russian troops suffered heavy casualties after Ukrainian forces repelled their attempt to cross the river, the UK Ministry of Defense said. The maneuver speaks of “the pressure under which Russian commanders must advance their operations in eastern Ukraine”. The ministry said the Russian armed forces “have not made significant progress despite concentrating their forces in this area.”
Putin speaks of “mistakes”
In a telephone conversation with Finnish President Sauli Niinistö, Kremlin boss Vladimir Putin called Helsinki’s plan to join NATO a mistake. Russia does not pose a threat to the neighboring country, Putin stressed during the talks, according to the Kremlin. Finland’s abandonment of traditional neutrality will lead to a deterioration of what have been good neighborly relations, he warned. The talks were held on the initiative of the Finnish president to explain the decision to join NATO in view of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, according to sources in Helsinki. “The conversation was open and direct, but without escalation. It was considered important to avoid tension,” Niinistö said, according to the Finnish presidential office website. The Finnish government said on Thursday it wanted to pave the way for NATO membership.
Turkey calls for talks on the PKK
Turkey reiterated its reservations about the admission of Finland and Sweden to NATO, while signaling its willingness to dialogue. His country has always been in favor of an “open door policy”, said Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu. However, Finland and Sweden have supported “terrorist organisations” such as the banned Kurdish Workers’ Party PKK and the Kurdish YPG militia in Syria. Additionally, due to Turkey’s fight against these groups, there were export restrictions on the armaments that Turkey obtained from abroad. The majority of the Turkish population is therefore against the admission of these two states to NATO, “and they call on us to block it”, declared Cavusoglu. We will have to talk about these things – “with our NATO allies as well as with these countries”.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan previously caused turmoil in the alliance with negative statements about Finland and Sweden’s possible NATO membership. “We are currently monitoring developments regarding Sweden and Finland, but we do not have a positive view on them,” he said. Scandinavian countries are almost “guesthouses for terrorist organizations” like the banned Kurdish workers’ party, the PKK.
If necessary, the G7 wants to supply weapons for years
If necessary, Germany and the other G7 countries want to continue supplying the Ukrainian armed forces with weapons and other military equipment for the fight against the Russian attackers for years to come. “We will continue our military and defense assistance to Ukraine for as long as necessary,” said a statement adopted by the foreign ministers of the Group of Major Democratic Industrialized Nations (G7). Following the consultations in Schleswig-Holstein, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock also underlined the political support of the G7 states. “We will never recognize the border changes that Russia wants to impose by military force,” she said.
Referring to blocked Ukrainian ports, Baerbock said alternatives to shipping grain from Ukraine are currently being explored to break the Russian blockade in the region. After problems with rail transport via Romania, they are examining exports via the Baltic ports. However, the prerequisites should first be clarified as to how the ports could be reached. 25 million tons of grain were stored in Ukrainian ports.
Former Russian leader Dmitry Medvedev reacted to the G7 statement with sarcasm and criticism. “It’s an understatement, our country does not care if the G7 does not recognize the new borders,” he commented on Telegram. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova attacked Baerbock on Telegram over the danger of a world hunger crisis. Prices have risen because of Western sanctions, she writes. “If you don’t understand that, it’s either a sign of stupidity or deliberate public deception.”
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