Finland and Sweden will apply for NATO on May 18th, a few days ahead of previously discussed schedules involving May 22nd.
Despite Russian provocations and Turkish concerns, the NATO alliance and its members have expressed confidence that the accession process would be smooth. Already, Finland and Sweden have both received additional security guarantees, this time from Norway, Denmark, and Iceland. The process of joining could take anywhere from a month to a year and is largely dependent on Finland’s willingness to wait for Sweden.
In Ukraine, the Russian advance has stalled, though, in Luhansk, Russia has begun a renewed push t. Russian attacks at night have left Ukrainians starved of night-vision drones to better pinpoint Russian positions. As the battle of Mariupol draws to an end, Russia’s offensive will likely make limited advances in the long summer months, eventually being worn down and eventually repulsed by Ukrainian forces.
Russia’s recent offensives include a push towards Kramatorsk, reducing the previous scope of their encirclement as their control near Kharkiv slips away. With Izyum now exposed to Ukrainian counterattacks, Russian forces will be hard-pressed to maintain a competent offensive while defending their flank. This is due to Russia’s ongoing organizational problems, where it is reported that Putin has begun micromanaging the war, taking decisions typically assigned to commanders. While frowned upon by Western nations, it is somewhat acceptable in Russia, where ‘close involvement’ by higher-ranking officials and generals has led to the death of at least 10, possibly 12 Russian generals in Ukraine.
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