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Ukraine Wants To Turn Black Sea Into "Sea Of NATO"

Ukraine’s foreign minister has urged the NATO alliance to be more active in the Black Sea region, saying the area is “instrumental for making the whole of Europe peaceful and future-oriented.”

Speaking by video link to a Black Sea security conference in Bucharest on April 13, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said it was time to turn the Black Sea into “a sea of NATO.”

Kuleba called on European countries to “address the common Russia problem together,” including by integrating Ukraine’s air and missile defenses with those of NATO members.

The foreign minister also urged NATO to accept his country and Georgia, also a Black Sea littoral state, as members. He said the upcoming NATO summit in Vilnius should present “a clear plan on when and how Ukraine will enter.”

He also restated Kyiv’s position that peace is only possible in Ukraine if Russia withdraws from all Ukrainian territory, including the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, which Moscow has occupied since 2014.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov at a Moscow briefing rejected Kuleba’s comments about the Black Sea.

“This is a shared sea,” Peskov said. “It must be a sea of cooperation, interaction, and security for all its littoral states.”

On the ground, Moscow claimed on April 13 to have cut off Ukrainian troops in the eastern city of Bakhmut, where for months some of the bloodiest fighting since Russia launched its full-scale invasion in February 2022 has seen both sides take heavy casualties.

Kyiv has not commented on the reports, while the head of the Wagner mercenary group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, said it remains "too early" to say Bakhmut has been surrounded.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, who is currently in Washington, posted on Twitter that he had signed an agreement under which the World Bank would provide $200 million to repair Ukraine’s electrical grid, which has been badly damaged in recent months by Russian air strikes targeting its civilian infrastructure.

In Moscow, Russia’s Prosecutor-General’s Office opened an investigation into videos that appeared online purporting to show the beheading of a Ukrainian prisoner of war by Russian troops. Prigozhin dismissed allegations that the executioners were Wagner fighters.

On April 12, Ukraine launched a probe of the video, while President Volodymyr Zelenskiy condemned the purported execution.

“We are not going to forget anything,” he said in a video posted on Twitter.

By RFE/RL

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  • The Observer on April 14 2023 said:
    Good luck with that should Ukraine still be a unified country in 2024.
    More likely the eastern part of Ukraine will be incorporated into Russia and the western part of Ukraine will be part of a Polish-Ukrainian union. Zelensky and his fellow corrupt Ukrainian oligarchs will just have to make do with their diverted USD billions in Florida.
    My sympathies lie with the abused ordinary Ukrainians. Those who weren't allowed to flee a corrupt government and were forced to fight with limited weapons and no ammo. If justice were to repeat itself, Zelensky and his ilk would be strung up like Mussolini was at the end of the European campaign in WWII.
  • Mike Xu on April 13 2023 said:
    Instead, I will happily see NATO dissolve itself.

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