Finland and Sweden to confirm plans to join NATO in June
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Russian President Vladimir Putin launched his illegal invasion of Ukraine nearly 10 weeks ago, leaving the world aghast as death tolls reach the thousands and towns and cities across the country suffer devastation from cluster bombs and Russian forces. Leaders across the globe have stepped up to condemn Russia, including a wide proportion of Europe.
In a bid to deter the ruthless Russian President from pursuing his invasion, which was launched amid fears of Ukraine’s ambitions to join NATO, a number of countries have been issuing severe economic sanctions on Russia, as well as various offerings of support for Ukraine.
Counties have been banning imports of Russian gas and oil, as well as a suspension of services for Russia and its citizens.
These sanctions have sent the Russian Ruble plummeting, spurring many of Russia’s own citizens, including the oligarchs, to come forward to denounce the invasion too.
Yet, Putin remains unwavering in his ambitions to take control of Ukraine and seems to be “prepared for prolonged conflict”, according to US intelligence.
Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines said: “We assess President Putin is preparing for a prolonged conflict in Ukraine, during which he still intends to achieve goals beyond the Donbas.”
Donbas is an eastern region of Ukraine, where Russian-backed separatists have declared “people’s republics.”
Putin has warned countries off intervening with his invasion with threats of nuclear war, but this hasn’t swayed Europe from offering support.
What countries in Europe are against Russia?
Currently, there is an extensive list of European countries standing against Russia.
NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, comprises 30 member states and 27 of these states are European countries.
The treaty forms an intergovernmental military and defence alliance and as a collective, each country condemns the invasion.
An official statement on NATO’s website reads: “NATO condemns in the strongest possible terms Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine – which is an independent, peaceful and democratic country, and a close NATO partner.
“The Alliance calls on President Putin to stop this war immediately, withdraw all his forces from Ukraine without conditions and engage in genuine diplomacy.”
The 27 European countries included in this alliance, as well as the condemnation, include Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Montenegro, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, and of course, the UK.
But, the list of European countries against Russia is not just limited to those of NATO. Six additional states have also stood to denounce the invasion and have acted to support the sanctions imposed on the country.
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These include European Union countries Austria, Cyprus, Ireland, Malta, Finland and Sweden.
Despite being militarily neutral, Austria, Malta, and Ireland all supported sanctions inflicted on Russia, which landed them each a place on Putin’s list of “unfriendly nations”.
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky was heard thanking the citizens of Ireland during a sitting of the Houses of the Oireachtas via a translator for their support.
He said: “Although you are a neutral country, you have not remained neutral to the disaster and to the mishaps that Russia has brought to Ukraine.”
Cyprus, who is also not a member of the NATO alliance, has also acted to denounce the invasion imposing its own sanctions on Russia, which also earned it a place on the “unfriendly nations”.
Finland and Sweden are also two European countries to have actively denounced Russia’s invasion. And, despite remaining militarily neutral since World War 2, the countries are predicted to join NATO in a matter of days.
Only today, Sweden and Finland signed mutual security deals with the UK as cooperation has been deemed even more important” given Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
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