NATO sees Russia’s war faltering, considers expanding alliance

BERLIN (AP) – A senior NATO official says Russia’s military advance in Ukraine appears to be faltering and expressed hope Kiev can win the war.

Top NATO diplomats will meet in Berlin on Sunday to discuss continued support for Ukraine and steps by Finland, Sweden and others to join the Western alliance in the face of threats from Russia.

“The brutal invasion (by) Russia is losing momentum,” NATO deputy secretary general Mircea Geoana told reporters. “We know that with the courage of the Ukrainian people and army, and with our help, Ukraine can win this war.”

Geoana, who chaired the meeting as NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg recovers from a COVID-19 infection, said Ukraine’s supporters were “united, we are strong, will continue to help Ukraine win this war.”

An important topic discussed in Berlin is the extension of NATO beyond the current 30 member states.

Finland and Sweden have already taken steps to join the alliance, while Georgia’s bid is being renegotiated, despite strong warnings from Moscow about the ramifications if its neighbor joins NATO.

“Finland and Sweden are already NATO’s closest partners,” Geoana said, adding that he expected allies to consider their applications positively.

Georgian officials will also be invited to an upcoming NATO summit in Madrid, he said, adding that the alliance’s open door policy “remains sacred”.

The meeting this week follows a meeting of foreign ministers from the Group of Seven Leading Economies on Germany’s Baltic Sea coast. Officials there expressed strong support for Ukraine and warned that Russia’s blockade of grain exports from Ukrainian ports threatens to spark a global food crisis.

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