Russo-Ukrainian War 5/18/22

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg receives official letters of application to join NATO from Klaus Korhonen (ambassador of Finland accredited to NATO) and Axel Wernhoff (ambassador of Sweden accredited to NATO) (Image via NATO)

Russia’s ongoing offensives near Luhansk gain momentum, while Ukraine’s attacks near Kharkiv have begun wearing down Russian positions. Ukrainian forces once again announced they had liberated territory near Kharkiv and had Russian forces pressed against the border.

Russian forces seemed to be concentrated near Lyschsyansk, pushing to take Kramatorsk. Heavy clashes were reported south of Izyum, and after constant artillery across the JFO, a blackout was ordered in Kramatorsk to deter bombardment.

With the siege of Azovstal effectively over, the focus has turned instead to Russia’s offensives in the East, though shelling continues near Kherson. Additionally, some shelling has been reported from Northern Ukraine, where Russia had pledged to withdraw. Though Russia is unlikely to make a move for Northern Ukraine again, keeping troops there ties up Ukrainian forces that could better be employed in the South. Moreover, Russia has continued targetting Western Ukraine.

Despite the stalled course of the war, Ukraine has declared the only ‘victory’ it can recognize; liberation of Crimea and the Donbas, reparations, and Europeanization. With the war possibly on course to drag on for a year, Ukraine and the West’s willpower will be tested just as much as Russia’s, especially in the long summer and autumn months.

Finland and Sweden both submit their applications to join NATO to the alliance. It was revealed that Turkey blocked a fast-track membership plan for both, but the alliance still expresses its confidence that the two Scandinavian countries will manage to join. On May 19th, the leaders of Finland and Sweden will visit Washington.

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