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NATO chief says Ukraine can win the war
Journal Staff Report

KYIV, May 15 - Almost three months after Russia shocked the world by invading Ukraine, its military faces a bogged-down war, the prospect of a bigger NATO, and an opponent buoyed Sunday by wins on and off the battlefield.

Top diplomats from NATO met in Berlin with the alliance’s chief, who declared that the war “is not going as Moscow had planned,” The Associated Press reported.

Ukraine can win this war,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said, adding that the alliance must continue to offer military support to Kyiv. He spoke by video link to the meeting as he recovers from a COVID-19 infection.

On the diplomatic front, both Finland and Sweden took steps bringing them closer to NATO membership despite Russian objections. Finland announced Sunday that it was seeking to join NATO, saying the invasion had changed Europe’s security landscape. Several hours later, Sweden’s governing party endorsed the country’s own bid for membership, which could lead to an application in days.

If the two nonaligned Nordic nations become part of the alliance, it would represent an affront to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has called NATO’s post-Cold War expansion in Eastern Europe as a threat to Russia. NATO says it is a purely defensive alliance.

While Moscow lost ground on the diplomatic front, Russian forces also failed to make territorial gains in eastern Ukraine.

Ukraine said it held off Russian offensives in the east, and Western military officials said the campaign Moscow launched there after its forces failed to seize the capital, Kyiv, has slowed to a snail’s pace.

Ukraine, meanwhile, celebrated a morale-boosting victory in the Eurovision Song Contest. The folk-rap ensemble Kalush Orchestra won the glitzy pan-European competition with its song “Stefania,” which has become a anthem among Ukrainians during the war.

Russian and Ukrainian fighters are engaged in a grinding battle for Ukraine’s eastern industrial heartland, the Donbas. Ukraine’s most experienced and best-equipped soldiers have fought Moscow-backed separatists there for eight years.

Even with its setbacks, Russia continues to inflict death and destruction across Ukraine. Over the weekend, its forces hit a chemical plant and 11 high-rise buildings in Siverodonetsk, in the Donbas, the regional governor said.

Russian missiles destroyed “military infrastructure facilities” in the Yavoriv district of western Ukraine, near the border with Poland, the governor of the Lviv region said. Lviv is a major gateway for the Western-supplied weapons Ukraine has acquired during the war.

The Ukrainian military said it held off a renewed Russian offensive in the Donetsk area of the Donbas. Russian troops also tried to advance near the eastern city of Izyum, but Ukrainian forces stopped them, the governor of Ukraine’s Kharkiv region, Oleh Sinegubov, reported.

And Ukraine blew up two railway bridges that had been seized by Russian forces in the eastern region of Luhansk, Ukraine’s Special Operations Command said Sunday. It posted a video of exploding bridges on Facebook. The command also said it destroyed Russian communication lines in the area to prevent Russia from bringing in more troops to attack the towns of Lisichansk and Severodonetsk, it said.

Britain’s Defense Ministry said in its daily intelligence update that the Russian army had lost up to one-third of the combat strength it committed to Ukraine in late February and was failing to gain any substantial territory.

Under the current conditions, Russia is unlikely to dramatically accelerate its rate of advance over the next 30 days,” the ministry said on Twitter. (ap/ez)




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