10.9 C
London
Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Russia-Ukraine war: Nato says Moscow is biggest ‘direct threat’ to west; Lysychansk under relentless shelling, governor says – live news | Ukraine

Putin issues warning to Finland and Sweden after joining Nato

Andrew Roth

Andrew Roth

Vladimir Putin has issued fresh warnings that Russia would respond in kind if Nato set up military infrastructure in Finland and Sweden after they joined the US-led alliance.

Putin was quoted by Russian news agencies as saying he could not rule out that tensions would emerge in Moscow’s relations with Helsinki and Stockholm over their joining Nato.

The Russian president told a news conference in the Turkmenistan capital of Ashgabat:

We don’t have problems with Sweden and Finland like we do with Ukraine. We don’t have territorial differences.

If Finland and Sweden wish to, they can join. That’s up to them. They can join whatever they want.”

Russian President, Vladimir Putin, issued fresh warnings that Russia would respond in kind if Nato set up military infrastructure in Finland and Sweden.
Russian President, Vladimir Putin, issued fresh warnings that Russia would respond in kind if Nato set up military infrastructure in Finland and Sweden. Photograph: Contributor/8523328/Getty Images

However, he warned “if military contingents and military infrastructure were deployed there, we would be obliged to respond symmetrically and raise the same threats for those territories where threats have arisen for us”.

Russia has repeatedly warned Finland and Sweden against joining Nato, saying the “serious military and political consequences” of such a move would oblige it to “restore military balance” by strengthening its defences in the Baltic Sea region, including by deploying nuclear weapons.

Summary and welcome

Hello it’s Samantha Lock back with you as we continue to report all the latest news from Ukraine.

Here are all the major developments as of 8am in Kyiv.

  • Nato leaders have announced a new “strategic concept” in response to Russia’s war against Ukraine, describing Moscow as “the most significant and direct threat to allies’ security and stability”. Nato has invited Sweden and Finland to become members of the military alliance, according to a communique published by the Nato summit in Madrid. Leaders also pledged further help to Kyiv and agreed on a package of support aimed at modernising the country’s defence sector.
  • Russian president Vladimir Putin issued fresh warnings that Russia would respond in kind if Nato set up military infrastructure in Finland and Sweden after they joined the US-led alliance. If Sweden and Finland wanted to join Nato then they should “go ahead” Putin said. “But they must understand there was no threat before, while now, if military contingents and infrastructure are deployed there, we will have to respond in kind and create the same threats for the territories from which threats towards us are created.”
  • Putin also pushed back against allegations that Russian forces were responsible for a strike on a crowded shopping centre in the Ukrainian town of Kremenchuk on Monday in which 18 people were killed. “Our army does not attack any civilian infrastructure site. We have every capability of knowing what is situated where,” Putin said. Moscow said its military fired a “high-precision air attack at hangars where armament and munitions were stored” and the explosion of those weapon caches caused a fire in the nearby shopping centre – a claim discredited by first-hand accounts from survivors and expert analysis.
  • Ukraine announced the largest exchange of prisoners of war since Russia invaded, securing the release of 144 of its soldiers, including 95 who defended the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol. Ukrainian military intelligence said that most of the Ukrainians released had serious injuries, including burns and amputations, and are now receiving medical care.
  • The frequency of shelling on the eastern Ukrainian city of Lysychansk is “enormous”, the regional governor of Luhansk said on Wednesday. Lysychansk “is constantly being shelled with large calibres. The fighting is continuing at the outskirts of the city. The Russian army is trying to attack constantly,” Serhiy Haidai said.
  • At least four people were killed and five wounded by a Russian missile strike on a residential building in Ukraine’s southern city of Mykolaiv, local officials said. Photographs from the scene showed smoke billowing from a four-storey building with its upper floor partly destroyed by the attack on Wednesday morning. Moscow admitted to the strike on the city but said its forces had hit what it called a training base for “foreign mercenaries” in the region.
  • US president Joe Biden announced that the US will increase its military forces across Europe with more land, sea and air deployments. During the Nato summit in Madrid, Biden announced the stationing of a brigade of 3,000 combat troops in Romania, two squadrons of F-35 fighters in the UK and two navy destroyers in Spain. Nato members are expected to announce further commitments to a strengthening of forces on the alliance’s eastern flank.
  • Britain will also commit an extra 1,000 troops and one of its two new aircraft carriers to the defence of Nato’s eastern flank. The forces will be earmarked for the defence of Estonia, where Britain already has about 1,700 personnel deployed, but they will be based in the UK, ready to fly out to defend the Baltic country if deemed necessary.
  • Separately, Downing Street said it has pledged another £1bn ($1.2bn) in military aid, almost doubling the UK commitment to military support. Defence secretary, Ben Wallace, said some money would likely be spent on supplying longer-range rocket artillery. This will be a “first step” to allow Ukraine to move towards “mounting offensive operations” to regain territory,” Downing Street said.
  • Zelenskiy announced the end of diplomatic ties between Ukraine and Syria after the Russia-ally recognised the independence of eastern Ukraine’s two separatist republics, Donetsk and Luhansk. “There will no longer be relations between Ukraine and Syria,” Zelenskiy said, adding that the sanctions pressure against Syria “will be even greater.”
  • Ukraine and the European Union have signed an agreement that liberalises road transport. According to the agreement, Ukrainian carriers no longer need to obtain permits to enter the European Union.
  • Turkey says it will seek the extradition of 33 alleged Kurdish militants and coup plot suspects from Sweden and Finland under a deal to secure Ankara’s support for the Nordic countries’ Nato membership bids. Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan dropped weeks of resistance to Sweden and Finland joining Nato after crunch talks ahead this week’s Nato summit.
Rescue teams work to remove debris at the Amstor shopping mall targeted by a Russian missile strike in Kremenchuk, Ukraine.
Rescue teams work to remove debris at the Amstor shopping mall targeted by a Russian missile strike in Kremenchuk, Ukraine. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Latest news

Related news