Belarus threatens to join war if attacked

  • President Alexander Lukashenko warns Belarus will fight alongside Russia in Ukraine if his country is attacked.
  • During a visit to Turkey, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg says the “time is now” for the alliance to ratify Sweden and Finland’s membership bids.

    Where does your country stand on the Russia-Ukraine war?

    Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began nearly a year ago, the world has been broadly categorised into three camps – countries allied with Ukraine, those impartial to the conflict, and the nations that have defended Russia.

    While the United States and European Union states have provided military assistance to Ukraine totalling more than $100bn, other countries have chosen to make their positions known by imposing sanctions on Russia or with their votes at the United Nations.

    Russian lawmakers greenlight Moscow’s exit from Council Of Europe conventions

    Russia’s State Duma has signed off on the termination of 21 international treaties aligned with the Council of Europe.

    The move came after Moscow was expelled from the Strasbourg-based human rights watchdog last March over its invasion of Ukraine.

    Deputy foreign minister Aleksandr Grushko said at the session of the State Duma that Russia will remain party to the Council of Europe conventions on combatting “terrorism” unless attempts are made to discriminate against it, the state-owned TASS news agency reported.

    Greece and Bulgaria to consider reviving oil pipeline project

    Greece and Bulgaria will consider reviving a pipeline project to transport crude oil from the Greek port of Alexandroupolis on the Aegean Sea to Bulgaria’s Black Sea port of Burgas, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has said.

    Bulgaria has been looking to build a 300km (186 miles) trans-Balkan oil pipeline to secure non-Russian crude oil supplies for its only oil refinery on the Black Sea.

    After a meeting with Bulgarian President Rumen Radev in Athens, Mitsotakis said the pipeline would offer Bulgaria alternative supply sources and a “safer, faster and cheaper” way to transfer the fuel, with oil tankers bypassing the now congested Bosphorus Strait.

    With Moscow having cut gas supplies to Bulgaria in the wake of the war in Ukraine, Greece has offered gas through its sole LNG terminal at Revithoussa west of Athens.

    Moldovan parliament set to approve pro-EU prime minister

    Moldova’s parliament is set to approve presidential aide Dorin Recean as prime minister after the country’s former government resigned last week amid political turbulence overshadowed by Russia’s war in Ukraine.

    Recean, a former interior minister, was expected to secure the approval of the 101-seat parliament after outlining his policy plans as Moldova faces economic turmoil and alleged Russian meddling in the country.

    “We want to live in a safe world where international treaties are respected, where problems between countries are resolved through dialogue, where there is respect for small states,” his proposed government said in its draft programme.

    “We want to be full members of the European Union,” it added.

    Norway to donate $7.4bn in aid to Ukraine

    Norway’s parliament has signed off on aid totalling 75 billion kroner ($7.4bn) to Kyiv as part of a five-year support package, making the Nordic nation one of the world’s biggest donors to war-torn Ukraine.

    The money will be split evenly between military and humanitarian assistance over five years, broken down to 15 billion kroner ($1.5bn) annually.

    Switzerland moves to seize $140m linked to former Ukrainian leader

    Switzerland has launched proceedings to confiscate more than 130 million Swiss francs ($140m) linked to the entourage of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich.

    The Swiss government said it had initiated proceedings with the Federal Administrative Court to seize money presumed to be of “illicit origin”.

    The people involved were linked to Yanukovich, who fled to Russia after being deposed in 2014 by mass protests. Yanukovich’s Swiss-based assets were frozen the same year.

    US to provide Czech Republic with $200m of military aid

    The United States will provide $200m to the Czech Republic for military upgrades and replacement of equipment the country is sending to Ukraine, the US Embassy in Prague has said.

    The donation is in addition to $106m pledged by Washington last year, Czech news agency CTK reported.

    A year of Russia’s war in Ukraine: Your simple guide

    Almost a year has passed since Russian tanks rolled into Ukraine for a full-scale invasion that several world leaders had warned of.

    As the conflict approaches a second year, Ukrainian officials believe Russia is beginning a renewed offensive while Kyiv also prepares to launch new attacks aimed at recapturing territory.

    NATO chief urges Turkey to ratify Sweden, Finland membership bids

    NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has urged Turkey to ratify Sweden and Finland’s bids to join the transatlantic military alliance.

    “I continue to believe that the time is now to ratify both Finland and Sweden,” Stoltenberg said after talks with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in Ankara.

    Sweden and Finland applied to join the transatlantic military alliance last year following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but their ascension has been held up by Hungary and Turkey, which is widely seen as the main hold-up to their joining.

    Ankara has accused the government in Stockholm of being too lenient towards groups it deems to be “terrorist” organisations or existential threats, including Kurdish groups.

    Cavusoglu said alongside Stoltenberg that Turkey could evaluate Finland and Sweden’s bids to join NATO separately, echoing previous remarks made by the government in Ankara.

    Lukashenko warns Belarus ‘ready to fight’ alongside Russia if attacked

    President Alexander Lukashenko has warned Belarus is ready to fight alongside its main ally Russia in Ukraine if his country is attacked.

    “I am ready to fight with the Russians from the territory of Belarus in only one case: If even one soldier comes onto the territory of Belarus to kill my people,” the state-run Belta news agency quoted Lukashenko as telling a news conference.

    “If they commit aggression against Belarus, the response will be the most severe, and the war will take on a completely different nature,” he added.

    Russia’s military used Belarusian territory as a launchpad for the invasion of Ukraine last February.

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